Sai Kung is hardly considered a hidden destination in Hong Kong, and rightly so. It’s home to some of Hong Kong’s best scenery and most magnificent beaches. For those willing to adventure further out from Sai Kung town there is a whole other wilderness to explore. Ham Tin Wan Beach is a perfect example of this, and although it involves a hike, it’s worth every step.
Hiking to Ham Tin Wan Beach is a great way to get off the beaten track in Hong Kong, and go for a ramble to discover some great surfing, clear sandy beaches and generally get away from the crowds. Some Hong Konger’s chose to camp over night in the area, however it’s easily to go the hike and spend some time at the beaches as a day trip.
It’s a great introduction into Sai Kung, even as a newcomer to Hong Kong’s public transport system. There’s no danger of missing your bus stop, and the hike ends by the University MTR station on the East Line, so getting back to where ever you’re staying is a breeze.
Getting to Ham Tin Wan Beach
To begin with you’ll need to get the bus to San Kung Town. This is a major hub and which bus to get depends where you’re coming from. Any half decent hotel can give you directions. It’s obvious when you get to Sai Kung town, it’s the last stop on all routes, and you can see the ferry pier in front of you.
From here you’ll need to walk for 2 minutes around the back of the 7 Eleven shop and wait opposite the entrance to a large car park for the white mini bus 29R. This is a 20 minute journey around some single track coastal roads, which can be a bit windy. When you pass a pavilion on the right then you’re there (again it’s the last stop, and obvious that you’ve arrived).
The first part of the trek to Ham Tin Wan BEach is a 45 minute hike Sai Wan village. The path starts out nice and flat, before a short but steep uphill section brings you over the crest of the hill and provides a view of why Sai Kung is so well loved in Hong Kong. The path then heads steeply down and you arrive at San Wan Village. It has a fantastic sandy beach, some nice restaurants and proper toilets, although it can get busy. There’s also surfboard and bodyboard hire and lessons available here. To get out to the solitude, however, you’ll need to keep going (it’s worth it). It’s about 1 1/4 hours hike to get to Ham Tin Wan beach. The path goes along the back of Sai Wan beach and then you start to climb up around the headland. It’s not that steep but can be quite heavy going if it’s hot. There’s also great views to keep your mind occupied.
Coming down into Ham Tin Wan beach makes the hike seem worth it. Clean swimmable waters, picturesque scenery and fine sand makes this a contender for best beach in Hong Kong. There’s a little cafe just behind the beach where you can buy a beer or restock water, or even have a full on lunch to replenish your energy. It’s very easy to spend an hour or two here just soaking in the relaxing atmosphere.
The Final Slog
Leaving the beach you cross a homemade bridge over the river, which is an experience in it’s own right. It’s not high, but is rather on the rickety side! The last part of the trek the hardest, it’s about 1 1/2 hours to make the ferry pier. With the last ferry leaving at 5:05 make sure you leave enough time. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have plenty of water with you, especially if it’s a hot day. The path starts off easy enough as you follow the river along. The path then takes a steep turn and there’s a good 45 minutes of pure uphill slog. You’ll climb up through the trees, which do at least provide shade. There are plenty of rest areas, as well with benches. You don’t need to be especially fit, just take it slow and steady. Reaching the crest of the hill you’ll feel a real sense of achievement. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous then this is also the start of the path to summit ‘Sharp Peak’, known locally as Nam She Tsim. The path then heads on a slow descent for another 45 minutes. When you see a turn off downhill to the right that’s the route to the ferry pier! Follow the path down with the water on your left and 5 minutes later you’ll be at the ferry pier.
The ferry runs twice a day, time table can be found here. At the time if writing the last departure was at 5:05pm. It’s a large ferry, don’t get on one of the smaller boats, as they won’t go where you want them to. The ferry will stop off at a few other places in Sai Kung before beginning the 1 1/2 hour journey back to the Hong Kong science park – located at University MTR stop. The journey in itself is beautiful, and you can see Hong Kongers at leisure in San Kung. You’ll sail in between some of the areas islands and it’s a great relaxing end to a good day!
Once the boat gets to the science park, it’s the last stop, cross over the cycle lane head down into the subway and you’ll see signs for the University MTR stop, jump on a train and you can be back in Kowloon in 15 minutes