Beach GALORE!

March 21, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

Hong Kong is famous for its beaches. Having more than 40 beaches, the HK coastline can present itself as a challenge to those who dare (mountain dew much?).

One of the most famous park trails in HK leads directly to one of the most beautiful beaches in the city. This beach, away from all the din and chaos of the city, is an amazing place to relax and chill out, specially after finals and during vacations. The Ham Tin Wan beach, located on the Eastern side of New Territories, actually consists of three different beaches separated by ridges (or if you love hiking, by around an hour of that). These beaches can only be accessed via the Tai Long Wan hiking trail from the bus stop at Sai Kung East Country park.

Getting to the trail:

1. take the MTR to Choi Hung stop on the Kwun Tong line.

2. take the minibus 8 or 1S to Sai Kung ($8) (you can also take a bus to Sai Kung, but this will be slower)

3. walk to the McDonald’s in Sai Kung after alighting from the last stop. This is NNW to your position. You can just ask anyone where the nearest McDonald’s is.

 

The McDonald's you should be looking for.The bus stops exactly opposite to this.

 

4. take the 29R bus opposite to the McDonald’s. This bus leaves every 20 minutes and charges $15 to get you to the starting of the trail.

 

The beginning of the trail.

The bus should dropped us just beside the beginning  of this trail. The destination we were going to to was the Sai Wan beach (the signpost to the left of the picture says it all). This trail has several intermediate descents and ascents and I would recommend some previous experience in hiking. The trail to Sai Wan beach is around 4-5 km and takes at least an hour at a brisk pace. The trail was pretty fun to hike on, with very beautiful scenery on the way!

 

The map of the country park.

 

We came across several of these scenes.

 

Some beautiful flora.

 

After walking for an hour or  so, we reached the Sai Wan village. Though a very traditional village, commercialization has indeed spoiled some of its beauty, with most of the people operating shops and stores.

A shop in Sai Wan village.

 

More shops. The trail goes right through the village.

 

You can find camping equipment here.There is also a surfboarding school here offering 3 hour training programs two times each day.

 

A house in the village.

 

The village almost abruptly ends into the open sea. The beach, named Sai Wan beach after the village, is an open stretch of beautiful sand and blue waters. This place did not appeal to my group though, as we were looking for some place more secluded and away. So, we started on another trail!

The trail ends into open seas.

 

The long stretch of sand.

 

 

My group started for another trail, the McLehose trail leading to the Ham Tin Wan beach.

 

A little climbing, and we already had some very beautiful vistas!

 

Don’t be fooled! The picture shows only some of the climbing we did. We still had to go on a lot on this trail before reaching Ham Tin Wan. The McLehose trail just crosses a ridge around 500m wide, but is more than 4 km in length! If you are tired, you might consider hiring a boat and taking the easy way round the ridge if you really want to go to Ham Tin Wan. The McLehose trail was almost as beautiful as the previous one we hiked, though we did rest more than a few times on this one. This trail takes you through splendid panoramas of the sea, and gives you some really awesome surprises!

Some rock formations.

 

Some rapid descents on the trail can be very intimidating. Going with a team is highly recommended.

 

The three beaches can very easily be seen. The nearest one is the Ham Tin Wan, where we camped.

 

There were these two islands sitting a few miles from the coast, adding to the already amazing view.

The trail finally ended and we found ourselves standing on the edge of the world (figuratively, of  course). The beach was amazing, and had beautiful white sand.

Ham Tin Wan is surrounded by green hills to the east and mountains on the north.

 

We were pretty surprised when we all starting getting messages from China Mobile welcoming us into China. We indeed were very close to the border, and getting cellphone reception from the country was like almost having visited China (without the visa though!). There were also some shops on this beach offering food at very reasonable prices (ranging from $50 to $80). Of course, to get to the shops you have to cross this really precarious bridge. I, carrying my camera, got really scared when crossing.

The really strong bridge which you have to cross :)

 

The food shops in Ham Tin Wan.

 

The water was EXTREMELY cold on the day we went, even though there were very clear skies and strong sunlight. That did not stop us from bathing though. The beach offered us a lot of space, and we were able to play beach football and frisbee without worrying of hitting the ball or the disc to anyone. I also happened to find a piece of wood which looked like a Phaser from Star Trek.

The wooden Phaser I found.

 

Well, after sunset we set camp, tried to light a fire (all attempts were unsuccessful due to damp wood), sang songs and even shared some scary stories. Imagine our fear when we switch on our torch and see a dog standing right behind one of my friends! We almost had a heart attack. The area was so dark that star gazing was a very good thing to do to pass time. We even saw meteor showers, an amazingly rare thing to see in Hong Kong.

 

In the morning, we decided to leave early since all of us had to submit assignments and do homework. Mist had settled in, making the environment go all gloomy.

The mist in the morning.

 

We packed our bags and started for the McLehose trail. The morning views were very different from what we had seen earlier. The mist cleared up as we climbed, and we could see the fog covering the sea from up top.

The fog envelopes the sea.

The trail is a heaven for Biology majors and spider enthusiasts!

 

The hills were even more beautiful!

 

Well, we reached the Sai Wan beach, and then went to the second trail towards the bus stop. The trip was an amazing experience, and is highly recommended for those who are looking for paradise here in Hong Kong.

 

Cheers,

Tee

 



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