From popular favourites like Hoi Ha and Chung Hum Kok to slightly off the radar treasures like Turtle Beach, this is our pick of the best sandy spots for families in the 852.
Catch the number six green minibus from Sai Kung (or a green cab) and transport yourself to the serenity of Sai Kung Country Park. Hoi Ha is part of a protected marine park and as such is a favourite with snorkellers. Wouter van Marle of Countryside Adventure Tours has been leading snorkelling adventure trips to the area for a number of years.
“There are no coral reefs in Hong Kong,” explains van Marle. “The geology of the area is just not right for reefs to build. The corals grow on rocky sea floors, generally in shallower waters (up to ten metres), as Hong Kong’s waters are not clear enough for sunlight to penetrate any deeper, and corals need light. This means that snorkelling is a great way to see the corals – there is no need for scuba to get up close to them.”
Book a tour at adventuretours.hk.
A favourite with locals, Trio is accessed by sampan or a four kilometre, gently undulating walk through bushland (partly paved) from Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Once on the beach, enjoy the gently lapping waters, a protected and life-guarded swimming area, snacks from the small kiosk as well as BBQ pits (bags of charcoal are available from the kiosk).
There is also a shaded children’s play area away from the sand. Sampans run regularly from Pak Sha Wan pier and cost $10/head. Dogs are also permitted on board, although not on the beach.
No self-respecting Hong Kong beach round-up would be complete without a nod to the infamous Sai Wan stretch of beaches in the New Territories.
Long Ke is actually the bay before Sai Wan and despite the sailing time from Sai Kung (around one hour), it does get busy in August and on weekends. But it’s totally worth the journey – think clear, turquoise waters and icing sugar sand.
To add to the other-worldly bliss, if you wait until sunset, you may glimpse the wild cows ambling their way down from the mountains for a twilight stroll. If you’re anchoring, the bay is shallow, all the more so on an ebb-tide – worth bearing in mind if you have mini adventurers dive bombing the waters from the tops of boats.
For non-junkers, access Long Ke by speed-boat from Sai Kung pier, by foot (it’s on stage 2 of the Maclehose trail), or catch a green cab from Sai Kung and walk down to the beach.
Feel the serenity on this tiny beach hidden away on the southern side of Lamma.
Not to be confused with the equally lovely Turtle Cove Beach on Redhill Peninsula, Turtle Beach is closed for half the year so the turtles have a chance to nest (yes, the clue really is in the name).
To access the beach, it’s an adventurous, off-road bushwalk away from the main drag, and it’s also possible to swim in from a junk. The bay is a lovely, unspoilt location for a day on the water.
If you’re walking, take a ferry from Aberdeen to Mo Tat Wan, climb up the steps behind the restaurant and away from the signs pointing to Sok Kwu Wan, and follow the coat round past Tung O and a couple of other bays.
Hung Shing Yeh
This beach offers easier access if you’re determined on a trip to Lamma but have smaller children in tow.
Hung Shing Yeh can be accessed by signposted, paved pathways from the ferry stop at Yung Shue Wan (catch a ferry from Central). It has a netted swimming area, a life-guarded beach, changing rooms, showers and small shops and kiosks selling beach paraphanaelia (a godsend if you’ve mislaid small people’s swimmers or towels), drinks and snacks.
The Palm Tree Beachside Cafe, part of the Concerto Inn, does a tasty line in easy, holiday favourites, a good option from which to kick back with a beer while you oversee the kids splashing around down on the sands.
Hong Kong Island
Less manic than Stanley Main Beach, St Stephen’s is a ten minute drive on from Stanley and occupies a tranquil west-facing corner of the peninsula.
As well as lying on the sand and admiring the sunset (not to mention Lamma Island and Ocean Park’s Hair Raiser, which can also be glimpsed on the horizon), there is a government-run water-sports centre from which kayaks and windsurf boards can be procured (if you have the relevant licences).
Chung Hom Kok
A delight for young families (apart from the steep set of steps from the road to the beach).
Come prepared for a good workout. This beach has it all – a fun, tree-shaded playground, including ping pong tables, BBQ pits, a cute kiosk serving life’s essentials (water, beer, inflatables), and a life-guarded bay for easy swimming.
As with all Island beaches, it gets busy on weekends, but can be remarkably quiet on weekdays. Catch a taxi from nearby Stanley and access the sands from the very end of Chung Hom Kok Road. The beach is west-facing, so as with St Stephen’s, sunset watching opportunities abound.