Although Hong Kong has quite a lot of beaches, I think it’s fair to say they usually don’t feature on the majority of visitors’ itineraries. A visit to The Peak? Yes! Shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui? Yes! A day at the beach? No!
However, when the temperature reaches thirty and above (as it did this week-end), where best to cool off but at one of Hong Kong’s beaches?
The busiest bathing beaches are on Hong Kong island: Shek O, Repulse Bay, and Deepwater Bay. But more than a million people live on that island – producing a lot of waste – and I refuse to swim at any of those beaches.
In my view, the best beaches are those furthest away from the conurbations, such as those at Sai Kung, on Lantau, and on the other outlying islands. Getting to them is more difficult, but it’s worth the effort: they are less crowded – and if you or your child accidentally swallows some seawater, you don’t need to worry.
One of my favourites is the beach at Pui O, on Lantau. It’s long and, unusually, made up of different-coloured sands, from white to dark grey, giving it a ‘marble cake’ appearance in places. But don’t let this put you off – it’s completely natural.
It’s also well equipped with lifeguards and shark nets, and it’s busy (not crowded) at weekends with bathers screaming playfully in the surf, groups of young children digging for clams, and teams of older youths playing football on pitches scratched out in the sand; this is a family-friendly beach.
When the heat becomes too much, take a respite in Ooh La La, a popular bar-cum-restaurant overlooking the beach, where you can recover with a good Mediterranean-style lunch and a couple of cold beers.
But if you’re not that hungry, further along the beach you’ll find a fast food kiosk. You’ll also find public facilities including showers, changing rooms and toilets.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Take the MTR to Tung Chung.
- From the Tung Chung bus station, take the 3M or A35 bus. Get off at Pui O Village.
- Cross the road. Walk down Chi Ma Wan Road. Take a right turn at the small shops.
- Follow the concrete path across the fields all the way to the beach.