• From 12 August 2022, inbound travellers from overseas places or Taiwan are subject to compulsory quarantine in a designated quarantine hotel for 3 days, followed by medical surveillance for 4 days. Please click here for more information.

Speak now

Speak now


I’m Sorry. I didn’t get that.

I’m Sorry. I didn’t get that.

Antiquity

Ap Chau & Kat O: explore islands’ Hakka and fishermen culture that has changed little over past decades

Written by South China Morning Post ( Morning Studio )

The tiny island of Ap Chau and its larger neighbour, Kat O, located in Double Haven, have changed little in decades. They form part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Visitors can relax as they learn about the history, culture and lives of the islands’ fisherfolk. Explore Ap Chau — best known for its spectacular, Instagram-friendly ochre-coloured rock formations, including one shaped like a duck’s head with a sea arch forming its ‘eye’ — and take an enticing hike across Kat O, offering spectacular hilltop views of Double Haven — one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful stretches of ocean.

Refuel

Ap Chau has a few informal pop-up stores offering snacks and drinks, but their availability is unpredictable. Although Kat O has several village stores, many of them are open only at weekends and on public holidays.

  • Ap Chau Story Room

    Start your visit to Ap Chau at Ap Chau Story Room, which details the 0.04 sq km area’s distinctive geology, and culture and heritage of the boat people, who still live there on what is Hong Kong’s smallest inhabited island. In the late 1920s, fisherfolk from Kat O and other nearby island villages began to moor their boats there and build homes. At their peak, they numbered more than 1,000, but most left in the 1970s. The island is named Ap Chau, or ‘Duck Island’ in Cantonese, on account of the curved shape of its rocky landmass, which resembles the body and — thanks to sea and rain erosion — separate head of a prone duck.

    Get me there
  • Duck’s Neck - Fracture Zone

    As you take a short, leisurely stroll along the island’s shoreline you will notice the distinctive ochre sedimentary rock, namely breccia. The gap in the hill created by sea erosion, next to the separate ‘duck’s neck and head’ rock formation, is the perfect place to closely examine the distinctive texture and layers of the ochre-coloured rock.

    Get me there
  • Breccia

    The rock formations on Ap Chau include gravelly, coarse-grained rock fragments, which gets its distinctive brownish-red colour from oxidised iron deposits. The island offers a variety of eye-catching natural rocky coastal features where outcrops are exposed and easily accessible to visitors.

    Get me there
  • Duck’s Eye - Sea Arch

    The ‘duck’s eye’ in the duck’s head — a wide, head-height rocky sea arch formed by the relentless erosion of the sea — lies on the northwestern tip of the island. It is one of the most popular spots on the island among visitors, and offers numerous great photo opportunities for Instagram buffs. The left ‘eye’ looks out across the sea at Mirs Bay and, further north, to the high-rise development of sprawling Shenzhen.

    Get me there
  • Kat O Tin Hau Temple

    Kat O — known as ‘Crooked Island’ because of its twisted shape which created ideal sheltered bays — has long been a popular site for mooring fishing boats, hence its Cantonese name, meaning ‘Lucky Bay’. Its historic connection with fishing explains the presence of its well-preserved Tin Hau Temple, built in 1763 near the island’s northwest shoreline to honour Tin Hau, the ‘Goddess of the Sea’, who protects sailors and fishermen. Its outer walls and roof area feature many brightly coloured ceramic tiles and intricately designed figurines.

    Get me there
  • Kat O Story Room

    Kat O Story Room offers informative displays highlighting the history, heritage and customs of Kat O’s Hakka and fishermen inhabitants. The island, situated west of Mirs Bay and east of Sha Tau Kok, was once home to about 6,000 residents — including fisherfolk, farmers and others running local businesses. But many moved overseas starting in the 1950s. Today, about 50 people still live on the island — most of whom were born and raised there.

    Get me there
  • Kat O Main Street

    Kat O’s Main Street, lined with small shops and restaurants serving simple, yet delicious local dishes, is one of the island’s most popular locations. Visitors can enjoy local favourites such as melt-in-your-mouth, Hakka-style braised pork, traditional hand-rolled squid balls and steamed scallops served in their shells with garlic and vermicelli. Popular desserts include red bean pudding and Hakka fevervine cha kwo or steamed buns. After your meal, take a relaxing walk and find shops selling a fine selection of dried seafood and sauces to take home as gifts and souvenirs.

    Get me there
  • Kat O Heritage Trail

    The Kat O Heritage Trail is centred on Kat O Main Street and goes to various heritage sites on the island. The trail is generally level. The path forms two branches, one leading to a lookout at Ko Tei Teng and another to Ko Pang Teng. The former offers distant vistas of Yantian, Shenzhen, and other regions in the north; the latter offers a view across the lyrical Double Haven in the south. There are 27 interpretation panels along Kat O Heritage Trail. Scan the QR code on the panel to listen to stories told by the villagers and geopark guides.

    Get me there

Transport

Getting to Ap Chau:

From MTR University Station Exit B, take bus 272K and get off at the first stop at Ma Liu Shui Public Pier, then walk 100 metres to Ma Liu Shui Landing No. 3 for the ferry to Kat O and Ap Chau; or you can walk for about 15 minutes from the station to Ma Liu Shui Landing No. 3. Ferries operate only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The ferry takes about 1.5 hours.

Leaving from Kat O:

Take the same ferry, which leaves at 3:30pm to Ma Liu Shui. Take bus 272K or a taxi back to MTR University Station.

Tips

The ferry to Ap Chau and Kat O operates only once a day, at 9am, on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Stay on the ferry during its 15-minute stop at Kat O before travelling on to Ap Chau. Do not miss the 12:30pm ferry from Ap Chau to Kat O as there are no others.

More Routes

Antiquity

Ap Chau & Kat O: explore islands’ Hakka and fishermen culture that has changed little over past decades

Written by South China Morning Post ( Morning Studio )

The tiny island of Ap Chau and its larger neighbour, Kat O, located in Double Haven, have changed little in decades. They form part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Visitors can relax as they learn about the history, culture and lives of the islands’ fisherfolk. Explore Ap Chau — best known for its spectacular, Instagram-friendly ochre-coloured rock formations, including one shaped like a duck’s head with a sea arch forming its ‘eye’ — and take an enticing hike across Kat O, offering spectacular hilltop views of Double Haven — one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful stretches of ocean.

Refuel

Ap Chau has a few informal pop-up stores offering snacks and drinks, but their availability is unpredictable. Although Kat O has several village stores, many of them are open only at weekends and on public holidays.

Ap Chau Story Room

Start your visit to Ap Chau at Ap Chau Story Room, which details the 0.04 sq km area’s distinctive geology, and culture and heritage of the boat people, who still live there on what is Hong Kong’s smallest inhabited island. In the late 1920s, fisherfolk from Kat O and other nearby island villages began to moor their boats there and build homes. At their peak, they numbered more than 1,000, but most left in the 1970s. The island is named Ap Chau, or ‘Duck Island’ in Cantonese, on account of the curved shape of its rocky landmass, which resembles the body and — thanks to sea and rain erosion — separate head of a prone duck.

See more...
Get me there
Duck’s Neck - Fracture Zone

As you take a short, leisurely stroll along the island’s shoreline you will notice the distinctive ochre sedimentary rock, namely breccia. The gap in the hill created by sea erosion, next to the separate ‘duck’s neck and head’ rock formation, is the perfect place to closely examine the distinctive texture and layers of the ochre-coloured rock.

See more...
Get me there
Breccia

The rock formations on Ap Chau include gravelly, coarse-grained rock fragments, which gets its distinctive brownish-red colour from oxidised iron deposits. The island offers a variety of eye-catching natural rocky coastal features where outcrops are exposed and easily accessible to visitors.

See more...
Get me there
Duck’s Eye - Sea Arch

The ‘duck’s eye’ in the duck’s head — a wide, head-height rocky sea arch formed by the relentless erosion of the sea — lies on the northwestern tip of the island. It is one of the most popular spots on the island among visitors, and offers numerous great photo opportunities for Instagram buffs. The left ‘eye’ looks out across the sea at Mirs Bay and, further north, to the high-rise development of sprawling Shenzhen.

See more...
Get me there
Kat O Tin Hau Temple

Kat O — known as ‘Crooked Island’ because of its twisted shape which created ideal sheltered bays — has long been a popular site for mooring fishing boats, hence its Cantonese name, meaning ‘Lucky Bay’. Its historic connection with fishing explains the presence of its well-preserved Tin Hau Temple, built in 1763 near the island’s northwest shoreline to honour Tin Hau, the ‘Goddess of the Sea’, who protects sailors and fishermen. Its outer walls and roof area feature many brightly coloured ceramic tiles and intricately designed figurines.

See more...
Get me there
Kat O Story Room

Kat O Story Room offers informative displays highlighting the history, heritage and customs of Kat O’s Hakka and fishermen inhabitants. The island, situated west of Mirs Bay and east of Sha Tau Kok, was once home to about 6,000 residents — including fisherfolk, farmers and others running local businesses. But many moved overseas starting in the 1950s. Today, about 50 people still live on the island — most of whom were born and raised there.

See more...
Get me there
Kat O Main Street

Kat O’s Main Street, lined with small shops and restaurants serving simple, yet delicious local dishes, is one of the island’s most popular locations. Visitors can enjoy local favourites such as melt-in-your-mouth, Hakka-style braised pork, traditional hand-rolled squid balls and steamed scallops served in their shells with garlic and vermicelli. Popular desserts include red bean pudding and Hakka fevervine cha kwo or steamed buns. After your meal, take a relaxing walk and find shops selling a fine selection of dried seafood and sauces to take home as gifts and souvenirs.

See more...
Get me there
Kat O Heritage Trail

The Kat O Heritage Trail is centred on Kat O Main Street and goes to various heritage sites on the island. The trail is generally level. The path forms two branches, one leading to a lookout at Ko Tei Teng and another to Ko Pang Teng. The former offers distant vistas of Yantian, Shenzhen, and other regions in the north; the latter offers a view across the lyrical Double Haven in the south. There are 27 interpretation panels along Kat O Heritage Trail. Scan the QR code on the panel to listen to stories told by the villagers and geopark guides.

See more...
Get me there

Transport

Getting to Ap Chau:

From MTR University Station Exit B, take bus 272K and get off at the first stop at Ma Liu Shui Public Pier, then walk 100 metres to Ma Liu Shui Landing No. 3 for the ferry to Kat O and Ap Chau; or you can walk for about 15 minutes from the station to Ma Liu Shui Landing No. 3. Ferries operate only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The ferry takes about 1.5 hours.

Leaving from Kat O:

Take the same ferry, which leaves at 3:30pm to Ma Liu Shui. Take bus 272K or a taxi back to MTR University Station.

Tips

The ferry to Ap Chau and Kat O operates only once a day, at 9am, on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Stay on the ferry during its 15-minute stop at Kat O before travelling on to Ap Chau. Do not miss the 12:30pm ferry from Ap Chau to Kat O as there are no others.

More Routes

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website, to understand your interests and provide personalized content to you as further set out in our Cookie Policy here. If you accept the use of cookies on our website, please indicate your acceptance by clicking the "I accept" button. You may manage your cookies settings at any time.