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Adventure

Stand-up paddling: explore scenic coastal waters and biodiverse rural villages of Yung Shue O and Sham Chung

Written by South China Morning Post (Morning Studio)

The lush rolling hills and craggy island coastlines of Sai Kung Peninsula, in eastern New Territories, form some of Hong Kong’s most spectacular scenery and have long enticed weekend hikers. But this unspoilt country park area — home to a rich variety of plant and animal life, including eight different types of mangroves, and a wide variety of marine life including sponges, corals, and over 300 reef-associated species — can also be explored from the sea on a paddleboard. Three Fathoms Cove (Kei Ling Ha Hoi), flanked on its east by Sai Kung West Country Park’s seafront villages of Yung Shue O and Sham Chung, is one such area. Suitably trained paddlers can enjoy a shoreline journey of about 8 km, which will leave a person of average fitness tired — but exhilarated — after marvelling at breathtaking views and watching fish swimming literally beneath their feet.

Refuel

Picturesque Sham Chung village, situated at the foot of tree-covered hills, is known for its grassy lawn, palm trees and pond — and its fine Hakka cuisine. A store located in one of a row of village houses, with the year of its construction, ‘1936’, displayed atop its front wall, serves traditional dishes such as oyster omelette, Hakka shallot chicken and stewed five-spiced taro pork. Its menu also features snacks such as chicken wings and noodles.

  • Kei Ling Ha

    The area of Kei Ling Ha, at the eastern foot of the mountain of Ma On Shan (once known as Kei Ling), is a popular starting point for exploring the mangrove habitats in this part of Hong Kong. It is home to a number of water sports and ecotour operators providing stand-up paddleboards (SUP) to explore Three Fathoms Cove’s rich marine ecosystem. As you paddle through the breakwater, you will start to see the dense mangroves for which this area is famous. If you are fit enough, you can actually paddle all the way to Tang Chau — an uninhabited island about 2.6 km to the west of Sham Chung — loved for its clear waters and panoramic view of Tolo Harbour, or even further north along the coast to the stunning volcanic rock formations of Lai Chi Chong.

    Get me there
  • Yung Shue O

    About 750 metres out across the cove from Kei Ling Ha San Wai is a sprawling area of thriving fish farms rearing numerous species including giant grouper, mangrove snapper and goldlined seabream. To the right you can see rolling hills and valleys covered in feng shui woods, natural forests and mangroves. You will also see Yung Shue O, home to an ecologically important stream in an area recognised as a butterfly hotspot known for sightings of rare species, such as the dark-brown winged Aeromachus jhora, a vulnerable species of dragonfly, Orthetrum poecilops and the site of protected plant species including Hong Kong Pavetta and Liparis ferruginea.
    While paddling, you may come across different types of seaborne creatures including stingrays and — in shallower water — starfish. If you take a break ashore, you may see many mangrove crabs.

    Bring enough drinking water on the day of your trip and sun protection, such as a hat and waterproof sunscreen. Sunglasses (with a floating strap) and a waterproof bag for important belongings are also recommended. Wear water shoes with covered heels and toes to protect your feet from sharp objects in the water such as oyster shells and barnacles. A life jacket must be worn during the tour and participants are advised to carefully check that their paddling equipment is in good condition before renting.

    Get me there
  • Sham Chung

    As you paddle northwards, on your left you will see the island of Sam Pui Chau — or ‘three cups of wine’, named after its three tree-covered hills, which resemble cups — and the sheltered waters of Tolo Harbour. After 1.5 km of paddling you will reach the mangrove area at Sham Chung Wan. Paddle to the shore, tie up your board and take a short walk to the eponymous Hakka village, with its row of quaint village houses beside a well-tended lawn and pond — a popular Instagram spot among visitors. The area is dotted with king palm trees, which ‘whistle’ as their leaves sway in the wind. This stop is where you can rest your aching muscles in the tranquil setting while enjoying delicious Hakka dishes.

    Hong Kong’s beaches offer many great locations where paddleboarding enthusiasts can get onto the water. At weekends, many paddlers head to the small shore off Stanley Main Beach, in Hong Kong Island’s Southern District, to explore Tai Tam Bay’s open waters. Tai Mei Tuk, in Tai Po District, is another popular spot. For those up for a testing challenge, it is possible to paddle across Plover Cove to Sam Mun Tsai’s renowned fish farms. On Lantau Island’s southern shore, stand-up paddlers can relax on the clear, serene waters beside Lower Cheung Sha Beach and Upper Cheung Sha Beach. There is a range of shops in this area offering water sports equipment for rent. It is recommended to call in advance for opening hours and other details.

    Get me there
  • Dining Option
    Sai Kung Town Centre

    The seafront town of Sai Kung is a destination itself — and the perfect place to relax after your challenging paddleboarding trip. Take a stroll along the promenade and look at the anchored boats bobbing on the sea as you savour the engaging atmosphere of this former fishing village. There are numerous popular waterfront seafood restaurants, but if you keep walking you will find a great selection of Western and Thai restaurants — many offering al fresco dining — along Yi Chun and Man Nin streets. While in the alley facing the minibus terminus, numerous small restaurants serve varieties of food, including noodles and local delicacies, to suit all tastes and budgets.

    Get me there

Transport

Getting to Kei Ling Ha:

From MTR Sha Tin Station Exit A3, take bus 299X at Sha Tin Central Bus Terminus and get off at Kei Ling Ha San Wai. Walk back along the road for about 125 metres until you see a sign for the path leading to the village. From MTR Wu Kai Sha Station Exit B, take bus 99 to the same bus stop.

Leaving from Kei Ling Ha:

Take bus 99 or bus 299X to reach Sai Kung, where you can enjoy an array of good dining options. To head in the opposite direction, take bus 99 towards Heng On to reach MTR Wu Kai Sha Station, or bus 299X to Sha Tin Central Bus Terminus and MTR Sha Tin Station.

More Routes

Adventure

Stand-up paddling: explore scenic coastal waters and biodiverse rural villages of Yung Shue O and Sham Chung

Written by South China Morning Post (Morning Studio)

The lush rolling hills and craggy island coastlines of Sai Kung Peninsula, in eastern New Territories, form some of Hong Kong’s most spectacular scenery and have long enticed weekend hikers. But this unspoilt country park area — home to a rich variety of plant and animal life, including eight different types of mangroves, and a wide variety of marine life including sponges, corals, and over 300 reef-associated species — can also be explored from the sea on a paddleboard. Three Fathoms Cove (Kei Ling Ha Hoi), flanked on its east by Sai Kung West Country Park’s seafront villages of Yung Shue O and Sham Chung, is one such area. Suitably trained paddlers can enjoy a shoreline journey of about 8 km, which will leave a person of average fitness tired — but exhilarated — after marvelling at breathtaking views and watching fish swimming literally beneath their feet.

Refuel

Picturesque Sham Chung village, situated at the foot of tree-covered hills, is known for its grassy lawn, palm trees and pond — and its fine Hakka cuisine. A store located in one of a row of village houses, with the year of its construction, ‘1936’, displayed atop its front wall, serves traditional dishes such as oyster omelette, Hakka shallot chicken and stewed five-spiced taro pork. Its menu also features snacks such as chicken wings and noodles.

Kei Ling Ha

The area of Kei Ling Ha, at the eastern foot of the mountain of Ma On Shan (once known as Kei Ling), is a popular starting point for exploring the mangrove habitats in this part of Hong Kong. It is home to a number of water sports and ecotour operators providing stand-up paddleboards (SUP) to explore Three Fathoms Cove’s rich marine ecosystem. As you paddle through the breakwater, you will start to see the dense mangroves for which this area is famous. If you are fit enough, you can actually paddle all the way to Tang Chau — an uninhabited island about 2.6 km to the west of Sham Chung — loved for its clear waters and panoramic view of Tolo Harbour, or even further north along the coast to the stunning volcanic rock formations of Lai Chi Chong.

See more...
Get me there
Yung Shue O

About 750 metres out across the cove from Kei Ling Ha San Wai is a sprawling area of thriving fish farms rearing numerous species including giant grouper, mangrove snapper and goldlined seabream. To the right you can see rolling hills and valleys covered in feng shui woods, natural forests and mangroves. You will also see Yung Shue O, home to an ecologically important stream in an area recognised as a butterfly hotspot known for sightings of rare species, such as the dark-brown winged Aeromachus jhora, a vulnerable species of dragonfly, Orthetrum poecilops and the site of protected plant species including Hong Kong Pavetta and Liparis ferruginea.
While paddling, you may come across different types of seaborne creatures including stingrays and — in shallower water — starfish. If you take a break ashore, you may see many mangrove crabs.

See more...

Bring enough drinking water on the day of your trip and sun protection, such as a hat and waterproof sunscreen. Sunglasses (with a floating strap) and a waterproof bag for important belongings are also recommended. Wear water shoes with covered heels and toes to protect your feet from sharp objects in the water such as oyster shells and barnacles. A life jacket must be worn during the tour and participants are advised to carefully check that their paddling equipment is in good condition before renting.

Get me there
Sham Chung

As you paddle northwards, on your left you will see the island of Sam Pui Chau — or ‘three cups of wine’, named after its three tree-covered hills, which resemble cups — and the sheltered waters of Tolo Harbour. After 1.5 km of paddling you will reach the mangrove area at Sham Chung Wan. Paddle to the shore, tie up your board and take a short walk to the eponymous Hakka village, with its row of quaint village houses beside a well-tended lawn and pond — a popular Instagram spot among visitors. The area is dotted with king palm trees, which ‘whistle’ as their leaves sway in the wind. This stop is where you can rest your aching muscles in the tranquil setting while enjoying delicious Hakka dishes.

See more...

Hong Kong’s beaches offer many great locations where paddleboarding enthusiasts can get onto the water. At weekends, many paddlers head to the small shore off Stanley Main Beach, in Hong Kong Island’s Southern District, to explore Tai Tam Bay’s open waters. Tai Mei Tuk, in Tai Po District, is another popular spot. For those up for a testing challenge, it is possible to paddle across Plover Cove to Sam Mun Tsai’s renowned fish farms. On Lantau Island’s southern shore, stand-up paddlers can relax on the clear, serene waters beside Lower Cheung Sha Beach and Upper Cheung Sha Beach. There is a range of shops in this area offering water sports equipment for rent. It is recommended to call in advance for opening hours and other details.

Get me there
Dining Option
Sai Kung Town Centre

The seafront town of Sai Kung is a destination itself — and the perfect place to relax after your challenging paddleboarding trip. Take a stroll along the promenade and look at the anchored boats bobbing on the sea as you savour the engaging atmosphere of this former fishing village. There are numerous popular waterfront seafood restaurants, but if you keep walking you will find a great selection of Western and Thai restaurants — many offering al fresco dining — along Yi Chun and Man Nin streets. While in the alley facing the minibus terminus, numerous small restaurants serve varieties of food, including noodles and local delicacies, to suit all tastes and budgets.

See more...
Get me there

Transport

Getting to Kei Ling Ha:

From MTR Sha Tin Station Exit A3, take bus 299X at Sha Tin Central Bus Terminus and get off at Kei Ling Ha San Wai. Walk back along the road for about 125 metres until you see a sign for the path leading to the village. From MTR Wu Kai Sha Station Exit B, take bus 99 to the same bus stop.

Leaving from Kei Ling Ha:

Take bus 99 or bus 299X to reach Sai Kung, where you can enjoy an array of good dining options. To head in the opposite direction, take bus 99 towards Heng On to reach MTR Wu Kai Sha Station, or bus 299X to Sha Tin Central Bus Terminus and MTR Sha Tin Station.

More Routes

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