HONG KONG ISLANDS EXPLORATION
There are more than 250 islands that Hong Kong has to offer, many of them uninhabited and unknown to most of the public! There are plenty of breathtaking islands that make for an incredible day outing. Whether you want to explore the more laid-back lifestyles of the locals, go coasteering, kayak along the shores, or snorkel and explore marine life, there are plenty of options to pick from!
Sai Kung Country park itself has a lot of amazing exploration to offer, but did you know there exists a number of gorgeous islands further into the sea? Basalt Island is one of the many! Accessible via chartered speed boat or via kayaking, you'll feel like you're no longer in Hong Kong. If you're keen on exploring more unknown terrain this ones for you!
The best way to get to Basalt Island is via Chartered Speedboat. You can hire these boats from Sai Kung Public Pier or Clear Water Bay Beach. Speedboat rentals can be found here. Kayaking is also an option, although this one is for the more experienced kayakers, or if you're athletic and can hire a trained guide.
What to Bring
Keep in mind that there is very little shade available on the Island, so it would be wise to bring lots of water and sunscreen. If you can get one, a tarp would also be useful to set up and create a little protected camp to rest in, remember to bring some snacks/lunch to munch on for the day!. Long sleeves and leggings would also be recommended, not just for protection from the sun, but as hiking trails are not regularly maintained.
If you're keen on getting into the water and exploring through snorkelling and coasteering, water shoes would be useful to protect your feet and prevent cuts. A dry bag will keep all your belonging dry and act as a floatation device in the water. Snorkels and fins are also an option if you'd like to explore the marine life around the island!
It's recommended that you get dropped off at Lam Wan Kok Cave, the site Basalt Island is famous for, and set up camp there. This is a perfect little stop to spend a good portion of your day in, in front of a massive archway standing 16 metres tall with the option to have a little swim and chill out with gorgeous views.
The island itself is quite small, which makes for a quick hike around the island. On the hike, there is a Memorial Site on a small hill where Hong Kong's first commercial airline crashed on 21 December 1948.
If you continue to the northern side of the island, you'll reach the Sea Palace Cave. There is also a stretch of beach available next to the cave.
Tung Lung Chau
Located relatively close by and easy to get to, Tung Lung Chau is a great island to explore with a number of activities available. The island has an area of 2.42 square kilometres and is largely uninhabited.
There are two ferry piers on Tung Lung Chau, Fat Tong Pier in the north, and Nam Tong Pier in the south, with both being a relatively short walk from each other. You can catch the ferry over from Sai Wan Ho on Hong Kong Island, or from Sam Ka Tsuen on Kowloon side. Round Trips cost $55, and the ferry service run on the weekends and public holidays, the schedule can be found here.
If you're a bit of an adrenaline junkie, Tung Lung Chau offers some of the best rock climbing venues in Hong Kong, catering to nearly all styles of climbing as well as different grades. Zip Lining and Abseiling is also an option, with a number of companies providing day tours. Naval Cave also offers a sit for Cliff Jumping, however, the currents can be quite strong and it's recommended you don't even go into the water unless you're experienced.
If you're just looking for some more laid back, the island offers a lot of Camping spaces with plenty of exploration to keep you entertained throughout the day. A circular hiking trail which is about 8 kilometres, encompasses the entire island and takes you through most of the sites the island has to offer. There are four main attractions, including Ancient Rock Carvings, the Tung Lung Fort, an interesting Rock Formation, and the Naval Cave.
Ap Lei Pai
This little Island connects to Ap Lei Chau via a narrow stretch of beach. Mount Johnson provides an incredible view of the island and stretches of sea. If you explore around the side of Ap Lei Pai, you'll find a hidden rock pool.
Get the MTR over to Lei Tung on Ap Lei Chau, from there you can hike over to Ap Lei Pai. Although it's a short hike, it's a challenging uphill one, so be prepared! Make your way up to the top of Mount Johnson, and from there make your way down towards the island. From there, you can hike across the island to the Mount Johnson Lighthouse. Check out the map below for the route.
At the Lighthouse, you can opt for a sampan to Aberdeen pier for $50. Keep in mind though that the sampan doesn't run a set schedule and there's no guarantee that they'll show up. An alternative is to hike back to the narrow beach and go coasteering along the rocky coast towards Lee Lok Street to the west. This path has plenty of little climbs to make your journey back more interesting.
Green Egg Island
Located off Clear Water Bay, this little island is a chest-deep walk in the water away from the mainland. The journey itself on the way to the island is a stunning one! With a dip in the water at the end to cool you off after a strenuous hike. This also makes a popular destination for Kayakers.
Get the KMB Bus Number 91 from Diamond Hill, or the 103 Green Minibus to Clear Water Bay Country park from Kwun Tong. Get off at Tai Au Mun at the roundabout, this is your starting point for the hike over to Green Egg Island. Alternatively, you can catch a Taxi straight to Clear Water Bay Country Park. The trail from Tai Au Mum to Green Egg Island is on the map below.
Like Basalt Island, Jin Island is one of the many islands off the coast of Sai Kung. It's known for its arch formation that looks like a goldfish! This is a completely uninhabited island and requires the charter of a speedboat or a long kayak over a day trip.
The closest Kayaking centre is 2 hours away. Unless you have quite a bit of kayaking experience, we recommend you charter a speedboat Sai Kung Public Pier or Clear Water Bay Beach. Speedboat rentals can be found here.
What to Bring
A very similar list to the one we've covered for Basalt Island, lots of water and sunscreen is essential due to the lack of sun cover on the island. If you can get one, a tarp would also be useful to set up and create a little protected camp to rest in, remember to bring some snacks/lunch! Long sleeves, leggings and a hat would also be recommended for UV protection.
You might need to walk through some water when the speedboat drops you off, so water shoes and a dry bag will be helpful to keep all your belonging dry. Bring a towel to keep yourself dry out of the water.