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, Shek O is the most reliable spot on the island to catch a wave, though name notwithstanding, the swell is modest by international standards. Nonetheless, this comely cove, sheltered between mountains and rocky outcrops, is arguably the most beautiful on the island, and a favourite among the city’s small surfing community. “Even when they don’t reach great heights, the waves are ideal for beginners — I originally learned to surf at Big Wave Bay”, says Nicole Pabello, a regular at the beach.
A 30-minute drive from Central, Big Wave Bay exudes a relaxed, boho vibe, and is less crowded than neighbouring Shek O beach. There are several surfboard- and umbrella-hire stalls and no-frills eateries on hand, and come sundown, the beach kiosk is a top spot for a post-surf pizza washed down with a fresh Thai coconut or craft ale.
Despite the name, is the glitziest of Hong Kong’s beaches, boasting an idyllic, palm-fringed swathe of sand and shallow waters ideal for family frolics. It has great facilities, with changing rooms and showers, and a beach-front mall The Pulse, housing breezy diners Limewood, Classified and Tai Sip Song, as well as a seasonal weekend sunset beach club and plenty of smart lifestyle and children’s boutiques.
Athena Yeung, recommends the lesser-knownbecause “the water is clean, the beach is comfortable and relaxing, and there are fewer people around.” And visitors seeking peace and quiet should make a beeline to this under-the-radar alcove for low-key beach lounging. Chung Hom Kok might not have the same repertoire of bars and restaurants of busier bays — with only a few barbeque pits and a simple kiosk to its name — but that’s part of its charm, with quieter and calmer waters that make it ideal for swimming.
People love for its bustling village atmosphere, reminiscent of an English seaside town with lovely alfresco eating, drinking and people-watching opportunities, rather than as a swimming beach. Away from the promenade, there’s shopping at Stanley Plaza and the labyrinthine Stanley Market, which is touristy but fun for a browse for art, souvenirs, clothing and linen. Every June, the beachfront transforms into one of the most popular places in Hong Kong to watch the Dragon Boat Festival races, which take on a party vibe as large crowds drink and get merry.