Meaning “long sand” in Chinese, Cheung Sha on Lantau Island’s southern coast lives up to its name with a 1.4km stretch of uninterrupted sand. By virtue of its distance from the city, Cheung Sha remains uncrowded even at peak times, and with plenty of space to spare as well. Strong waves make for a good spot to pick up surfing, while paddleboards and canoes are also available to rent from the eastern end of the beach.
How to get there: Take the ferry to Mui Wo from Central Pier 6, then transfer to Bus 1 or 2 to Cheung Sha Beach. Approx. 1.5-2 hours.
Long Ke Wan
The commute to this secluded beach in Sai Kung comes with immaculate views. A half-hour taxi ride from Sai Kung’s town centre brings you along snaking hillside roads to the architecturally striking High Island Reservoir East Dam and the surrounding polygonal rock formations. A 15-minute hike will then lead you to a dramatic descent into Long Ke Wan, where you’re greeted by a cove of azure waters clearer than you would have thought possible in Hong Kong. A popular place for yachts in the know to drop anchor, Long Ke Wan also boasts a campsite but no restaurants, so make sure to bring a day’s worth of supplies in with you.
How to get there: Take a 30-minute taxi ride from Sai Kung Town Centre to East Dam. Once there, follow the signs for Maclehose Trail Section 2.
Tai Long Wan, Sai Kung
One of the most famous beaches in Hong Kong, Tai Long Wan remains little-visited thanks to the effort required to get there – namely a 40-minute-long hike. However, those who put in the sweat are amply rewarded with stunning views of the mountains and the sea, and upon arriving will find themselves on a wide beach that runs for 700m in length. There, a basic restaurant serves cha chaan teng fare, and also rents out camping equipment for those who want to stay a bit longer in paradise.
How to get there: From Sai Kung Town Centre, take a taxi or the 29R minibus to Sai Wan Pavilion and hike for 40 minutes along a paved route to the beach. To go home, you can book a speedboat ahead of time to pick you up directly from the beach. Alternatively, you can hike to Chek Keng Pier, board a speedboat to Wong Shek Pier, and take Bus 94 to head back to Sai Kung Town Centre.
Clearwater Bay First Beach
Don’t let its size fool you. While this beach is small, it certainly measures up to the others on this list thanks to clear waters that are no doubt due to its proximity to a country park. A BBQ area provides a place to roast meats, although the nearest snacks kiosk is at neighbouring Second Beach, so you would be well advised to bring with you everything that you need for the day.
How to get there: From Hang Hau MTR Station, take a 10-minute taxi ride to First Beach.
Hap Mun Bay, Sharp Island
Hap Mun Bay is located on Sharp Island as part of the UNESCO Geopark. Also known as Half Moon Bay due to its crescent shape, the 99-metre-long beach has one of the cleanest waters in Hong Kong. A campsite attached to the beach allows visitors to stay overnight, but make sure to bring or rent your own tent in advance. For the more adventurous traveller, look for the hidden rock pool nearby that makes for sublime pictures.
How to get there: From the Sai Kung Public Pier, take a sampan boat directly to Hap Mun Bay, or take the kaito ferry to the Sharp Island Pier and hike the 1.5km trail to the beach.
Turtle Cove Beach
Sequestered beneath a long flight of stairs, Turtle Cove Beach is a hidden gem that warrants a special mention. It can be hard to locate, but one’s efforts are rewarded by the beach’s clear waters and sparkling clean clearing, equipped with barbeque areas and refreshment kiosks. The toil of travelling there ensures that it remains uncrowded, making it a prime spot to spend quality time away from the din of the city. Turtle Cove Beach also serves as a quieter alternative to the popular beaches in the Stanley area — take the road less travelled!
How to get there: From Exit A of the Sai Wan Ho MTR station, take Bus 14 to the Turtle Cove bus stop. Once you get there, look for the Turtle Cove Beach signboard, and descend the stairs leading to the beach.
Tai Tong Bay, Tung Ping Chau
Tung Ping Chau is known by hiking enthusiasts for its breathtaking shale formations along the coastline, but for a more leisurely day trip for those who prefer a dip in the ocean, allocate some time for Tai Tong Bay. Its convenient location right next to the pier with eateries situated nearby guarantees a stress-free excursion. Should you wish to explore more of the island, the Cheung Sha Wan beach, located northeast of Tung Ping Chau, is perfect for snorkelling with the waters teeming with stunning marine life. Visitors should note that the island is only accessible via ferry on weekends and public holidays, so take care to plan accordingly.
How to get there: From Exit B of the University MTR station, walk approximately 15 minutes to the Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier. Board the kaito ferry for Tung Ping Chau. Approx. 1 hour and 40 minutes.
EditorGavin Yeung and Mina Chan
CreditLead Image: John Rawlings/Condé Nast via Getty Images