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Feeling Hong Kong's beach vibes

LUXE City Guides
  • Written by LUXE City Guides, Images by Harold de Puymorin

Hong Kong Island packs a lot of beach into a little bit of land. While the north-side districts of Central and Western, Wan Chai and Eastern are crammed with glass and steel skyscrapers and towering apartment blocks, Southern district boasts bay after bay of golden sand and calm waters that are safe for a splash and swim with family and friends year-round. Whether you want to dive in for some water sports, dine by the seaside, or simply find a patch of sand to chill out, the Island’s southern coastline has a beach for everyone. Running from south-east to south-west there are: surfy Big Wave Bay; village-y Shek O; touristy Stanley; secluded Chung Hom Kok; chilled South Bay; flamboyant Middle Bay; glitzy Repulse Bay; and leafy Deepwater Bay. Below is a rundown of a few of our favourites.

Big Wave Bay

Even when they don’t reach great heights, the waves are ideal for beginners — I originally learned to surf at Big Wave Bay

Big Wave Bay Beach  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.

Shek O

Shek O

One of Hong Kong’s most popular beaches, Shek O is favoured by French expat families and laid back, eclectic locals. It can sometimes feel like half the city is there with you, especially on summer weekends, but is well serviced with changing rooms, showers, playground and barbecue area.

 

While there is rarely a swell, it’s a good place for windsurfing, or a wander through the charming village. There are plenty of beachside eateries to sate your appetite, including no-frills Chinese & Thai Restaurant for generous servings of Thai-Chinese food and Cococabana, for Mediterranean eats and chilled wine on its terrace overlooking the sea. If you want to mix with the locals, seek out divey Ben’s Back Beach Bar on the sand.

Repulse Bay

it’s easily accessible, and there are plenty of restaurants for after swimming.

Sip Song

Despite the name, Repulse Bay Beach Get me there {{title}} {{taRatingLabel}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info  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.

 

Its location in one of Hong Kong’s most affluent neighbourhoods means Repulse Bay attracts a well-heeled crowd. Expect to share the sand with bankers, tai tais, mums and mums-to-be, expat kids and a heap of day-trippers.

 

Patty Tam, who visits regularly with the tots-in-tow, loves the beach, “it’s easily accessible, and there are plenty of restaurants for after swimming. It’s my son’s favourite beach and he always asks to go there,” she says.

Middle Bay Beach

Middle Bay Beach is Hong Kong’s unofficial gay beach. A half-hour walk from Repulse Bay, this serene strip of sand is also the go-to for those looking to avoid the hordes. Max, a regular in the summer, says that “while Repulse Bay offers amazing views at sunset, you can still get the same ones from Middle Bay Beach, but without the crowds. It’s a great place to enjoy sundowners with friends.” Be sure to bring your own drinks and snacks however, as there are no food and beverage outlets at this beach.

Chung Hom Kok

Chung Hom Kok

Athena Yeung, recommends the lesser-known Chung Hom Kok Get me there {{title}} {{taRatingLabel}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info because “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.

Stanley

Stanley

People love Stanley  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.

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