Island hopping


Been to Lamma? Done Cheung Chau? Fear not – there are plenty of outlying islands to explore in Hong Kong, as Davis Cheung finds out

Tap Mun Island (Grass Island)
For all those who are trying to get away from city life, Tap Mun Island is the place to go. Located in the northeastern coastal area of Sai Kung, Tap Mun is known for its great hilltop outdoor camping sites. If you’re lucky, you might even see live cattle roaming around – just beware of stepping on the occasional cow patty. If you choose not to stay over, there’s still plenty to do: visit geological attractions such as Tap Mun Cave and the nearby Layered Rock, and then roam around to stumble across King Lam School, built in 1957 but abandoned since 2003. The old classrooms and photos that still decorate the walls will make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time.
Regular ferries to Tap Mun from Wong Shek Pier;

Po Toi Island
If a thrilling adventure is what you seek, then look no further than Po Toi Island. What differentiates this island from the rest is a fairly innocent nature trail that leads to Old Mo’s House, a historic mansion built in the 1930s by a former merchant which is now considered haunted. The old and crumbling building is a frightful-enough sight itself. If you’re the type that’s easily spooked, head for Po Toi’s other outdoor attractions like some funky rock formations such as the Buddha Hand Rock/Palm Cliff, Coffin Rock and Supine Monk – it’s like cloud-watching for the new age.
Irregular ferries to Po Toi depart from Stanley and Aberdeen;

Tung Lung Chau (Nam Tong Island)
Many moons ago, this island was part of an important defence strategy for the city – to fend off incoming pirates. Even celebrity pirate Cheung Po Tsai was rumoured to have attacked the island, which was once protected by a complex of 15 guardhouses armed with eight cannons. Nowadays, the only remnant of Tung Lung’s glory days is the rubbly remnants of Tung Lung Fort, built in the 18th century. History aside, rock climbing enthusiasts might already know the island as a place for quality sport climbs that range between many different styles and grades. Ferries go once daily (twice daily on weekends) to Tung Lung Chau from Sai Wan Ho and Lei Yue Mun;

Yim Tin Tsai
There’s a diverse range of things to admire on this little isle near Sai Kung. There’s nature, with a variety of species of mangrove trees that cover the mudflats and a wide world of insectoids inhabiting the island. There’s also an abandoned salt field – one of the five that used to exist in Hong Kong. And there’s also plenty of architecture: be sure to visit St Joseph’s Chapel. Built in the 1890s, it was the recipient of a heritage award in 2005 and is often used as backdrop for illustrious wedding photos. Other attractions include Ching Po School, which is now a cultural exhibition, and abandoned houses built around the 1950s.
Ferries go five times daily to Yim Tin Tsai from Sai Kung on weekends only; Outside of weekends, hire a private boat.

Ninepin Group (Kwo Chau Islands)
The Ninepin Group is a collection of 26 islands, with Pak Kwo Chau, Dung Kwo Chau and Nam Kwo Chau being the three main attractions. If you sail from South Ninepin to North Ninepin you can see the unique formations of volcanic rock arranged in giant hexagonal columns, a natural wonder resulting from a volcanic eruption 140 million years ago. There’s also diving (!) here, offering great water visibility and exotic marine life around the area. The islands are largely uninhabited, with no camping facilities, so best make it a day trip.
No public transport available. For cruise bookings visit

Tung Ping Chau
Not to be mistaken with the closely-named Peng Chau, the crescent-shaped Tung Ping Chau is the farthest-flung island from the city and another one of the city’s geological wonders. Situated on the city’s northeastern coast, Tung Ping Chau’s waters are largely unaffected by Pearl River Delta pollution, allowing the island’s coral reefs to flourish. You may even see the tops of coral reefs peeking out from the water when walking along the island’s coast during low tide. At the southeast tip of Tung Ping Chau, check out the many rock pools where you just might spot some sea urchins, crabs and sea slugs swimming about.
Rare ferries to Tung Ping Chau from Ma Liu Shui (near University MTR) on weekends only; Outside of weekends, hire a private boat.



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