Hong Kong is not just about its bustling city life and iconic skyline. Venture beyond the city center, and you’ll find a treasure trove of lesser-known outlying islands waiting to be explored. Each island has its unique charm, offering visitors an opportunity to experience nature, history, and traditional culture. Here are five of Hong Kong’s lesser-known outlying islands that you should consider visiting on your next island-hopping adventure.
Peng Chau is a small, tranquil island located in the northeastern waters of Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Covering an area of just 0.99 square kilometers, Peng Chau offers visitors a peaceful respite from the bustling city life of Hong Kong. The island is accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride from Central Pier 6 in Hong Kong Island.
The island has a modest population and features narrow lanes, traditional shops, and local seafood restaurants, offering a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. Cars are not allowed on Peng Chau, which further enhances its serene ambiance.
Key attractions on Peng Chau include:
- Finger Hill: The highest point on Peng Chau, Finger Hill (also known as Tai Pak Tun) offers panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the Hong Kong skyline. A hike to the top takes about 30 minutes, and the trail is relatively easy to navigate.
- Tin Hau Temple: A historical temple built in the 18th century, the Tin Hau Temple is dedicated to the goddess of the sea. It is a great example of traditional Chinese architecture and an essential site for local religious events.
- Peng Chau Heritage Trail: This trail takes you on a journey through Peng Chau’s history and culture, with stops at historical sites, temples, and traditional shops. Along the way, you’ll learn about the island’s past as a significant industrial center for match and lime production.
- Beaches: Peng Chau has several small beaches where you can enjoy a leisurely swim or relax on the sands. Tung Wan Beach and Tung Wan Tsai Beach are the two most popular options for beachgoers.
- Local Cuisine: Make sure to sample some delicious local seafood at the island’s numerous small restaurants and cafés.
Peng Chau is a lovely destination for a day trip, offering visitors the chance to experience a slower-paced, more traditional side of Hong Kong.
Cheung Chau is a picturesque, car-free island located about 10 kilometers southwest of Hong Kong Island. Known for its unique blend of traditional culture and natural beauty, Cheung Chau offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The island is easily accessible via a 30 to 60-minute ferry ride from Central Pier 5, depending on whether you take the fast or ordinary ferry.
Key attractions and activities on Cheung Chau include:
- Cheung Chau Bun Festival: Held annually, usually in May, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a vibrant event that combines religious rituals, colorful parades, and the iconic Bun Scrambling Competition. The festival draws large crowds and offers a fascinating insight into local traditions and customs.
- Cheung Po Tsai Cave: Named after a famous 19th-century pirate who once used the island as his base, this small cave is one of Cheung Chau’s main attractions. Visitors can explore the cave and imagine the stories of hidden treasure that have been passed down through generations.
- Mini Great Wall: This scenic coastal trail was named for its resemblance to the famous Great Wall of China. The path offers stunning views of the island’s unique rock formations and beautiful coastline, making it a popular spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
- Beaches: Cheung Chau boasts two main beaches, Tung Wan Beach and Kwun Yam Wan Beach. Both offer golden sands and clear waters, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
- Temples: The island is home to several traditional temples, including the Pak Tai Temple and the Tin Hau Temple. Visiting these temples provides a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural heritage and spiritual history.
- Seafood: As a fishing village, Cheung Chau offers an abundance of fresh seafood. Make sure to visit the waterfront promenade to enjoy a delicious seafood meal at one of the local restaurants.
- Bike or Tricycle Rentals: With no cars on the island, biking or renting a tricycle is an excellent way to explore Cheung Chau’s charming streets and beautiful scenery.
Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a relaxing day by the beach, Cheung Chau offers something for everyone.
Lamma Island, located southwest of Hong Kong Island, is the third-largest island in Hong Kong. Known for its relaxed atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and lush greenery, Lamma Island offers a laid-back escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The island is accessible via a 25 to 30-minute ferry ride from Central Pier 4, with ferries arriving at either Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan.
Key attractions and activities on Lamma Island include:
- Yung Shue Wan Village: This vibrant village is the main hub of Lamma Island, featuring a mix of local shops, western-style cafés, and art galleries. The village is an excellent starting point for exploring the island and offers a variety of dining options, including traditional seafood restaurants and international cuisine.
- Sok Kwu Wan Village: Located on the opposite side of the island, Sok Kwu Wan is a picturesque fishing village known for its floating seafood restaurants. Enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the views of the fishing boats and tranquil bay.
- Family Walk: This well-marked hiking trail connects Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan, taking you through the island’s lush green hills, past beautiful beaches, and offering stunning views of the surrounding islands. The hike is relatively easy and takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.
- Beaches: Lamma Island is home to some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful beaches. Hung Shing Yeh Beach and Lo So Shing Beach are popular options for swimming and sunbathing, offering clean sands and clear waters.
- Lamma Winds Power Station: A testament to Hong Kong’s commitment to renewable energy, this wind turbine is a unique attraction on the island. Visitors can take a short detour from the Family Walk to see the wind turbine up close and learn more about wind energy at the nearby information center.
- Kamikaze Grottos: Located near the eastern coast of Lamma Island, these caves were used as hideouts by Japanese soldiers during World War II for launching kamikaze attacks against Allied forces. The grottos provide a fascinating glimpse into the island’s wartime history.
Lamma Island’s diverse attractions make it an ideal destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Whether you’re interested in hiking, relaxing on the beach, or exploring local culture, Lamma Island has something for everyone.
Tung Ping Chau is a remote and unique island located in the northeastern corner of Hong Kong, close to the border with mainland China. The island is known for its exceptional geological features and diverse marine life. As part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, Tung Ping Chau is a fantastic destination for nature enthusiasts and those interested in geology. The island can be reached by a ferry from Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier, which takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
Note that overnight stays on Tung Ping Chau are not allowed, so visitors must plan their trip as a day excursion. Be sure to check the ferry schedules before your visit, as services to the island are limited, particularly during weekdays.
Key attractions and activities on Tung Ping Chau include:
- Geological Features: Tung Ping Chau is famous for its sedimentary rock formations, which date back to the Late Cretaceous period. The island’s unique landscape features various rock layers, cliffs, and wave-cut platforms, offering a fascinating insight into the region’s geological history.
- Hiking Trails: The Tung Ping Chau Country Trail takes visitors on a circular route around the island, passing through the island’s diverse habitats, rock formations, and coastal areas. The trail is approximately 6 kilometers long and takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete.
- Beaches: Tung Ping Chau boasts several beautiful beaches with clear waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Some popular spots include Tung Wan Beach and Cheung Sha Wan Beach, where you can relax and take in the stunning scenery.
- Marine Life: The island’s clear waters and vibrant coral reefs make it an excellent location for snorkeling and diving. Tung Ping Chau is home to a diverse array of marine life, including various fish species, sea urchins, and sea stars.
- Abandoned Village: Tung Ping Chau was once home to a thriving fishing community, but the island’s population has since dwindled, leaving behind an abandoned village. Visitors can explore the remaining houses and learn about the island’s history and former way of life.
Po Toi, often referred to as the “South Pole of Hong Kong,” is the southernmost island in the territory. Known for its rugged landscapes, ancient rock carvings, and stunning coastal views, Po Toi is an ideal destination for nature lovers and hikers looking to explore Hong Kong‘s remote beauty. The island can be accessed by a 60 to 70-minute ferry ride from Aberdeen Promenade or Stanley Blake Pier. It’s important to check the ferry schedules before your visit, as services to Po Toi are limited, particularly during weekdays.
Key attractions and activities on Po Toi include:
- Hiking: Po Toi offers several hiking trails, with the most popular being the circular Po Toi Country Trail. This trail takes hikers to the island’s highest peak, offering spectacular views of the surrounding islands and the South China Sea. The hike is moderately challenging and takes around 2 to 3 hours to complete.
- Rock Carvings: Po Toi is home to ancient rock carvings believed to be over 3,000 years old. The most famous of these carvings, the Po Toi Rock Carving, depicts a pattern of geometric shapes and can be found along the island’s main hiking trail.
- Lighthouse at Tai Wan: The iconic lighthouse at Tai Wan is a prominent landmark on Po Toi, offering stunning coastal views and a glimpse into the island’s maritime history. The lighthouse can be reached by a short hike from the main trail.
- Unique Rock Formations: Po Toi is known for its interesting rock formations, created by centuries of erosion. Some of the most famous formations include the Monk Rock, Tortoise Rock, and Palm Cliff.
- Mo’s Old House: This abandoned house, once inhabited by a local resident named Mo, offers a glimpse into the island’s past as a small fishing community. The house is now a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.
- Seafood: While there are limited dining options on Po Toi, the island has a few small outdoor restaurants that serve delicious, fresh seafood. It’s an excellent opportunity to enjoy a local meal in a beautiful and remote setting.
Po Toi’s combination of natural beauty, unique geological features, and rich history make it an excellent choice for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Hong Kong.