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10 Island hopping destinations in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a number of hidden islands that are worth visiting

The islands provide an enjoyable break from the hustle and bustle of city life. In Hong Kong, many islands are easily accessible by ferry and offer a range of easy strolls and hikes. Aside from familiar destinations like Cheung Chau, Lamma Island and Tai O, there are also many other islands that are worth exploring. Here are ten popular island destinations to visit in Hong Kong:

1. Cheung Chau: treat yourself to classic regional snacks and seafood feasts

Cheung Chau is popular with locals for good reason: the island boasts beautiful beaches, bungalows, delis, cafes, and boutiques. Weekends are the best when spent with family and loved ones touring the island on bikes or munching on regional snacks like the famous giant fishball, charcoal grilled squid, and fresh mango mochi, followed by a seafood feast at the promenade.

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau

Best time to visit: 

  • Anytime of the year. In May, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival coincides with Buddha’s Birthday and features elaborate parades and festivities.

How to get there: 

  • Take the ferry to Cheung Chau from Central Ferry Pier 5 (a five-minute walk from MTR Hong Kong Station). The journey takes approximately 35 to 60 minutes.

2. Tai O: travel back in time to Hong Kong’s fishing village days

Located on Lantau Island, Tai O is one of the oldest fishing villages in Hong Kong. Inside this quaint village you’ll find rows of antique fishing shacks built by the Tanka boatmen. Be sure to shop for locally-prepared delicacies, such as homemade preserved fish, salted egg yolks, and shrimp pastes.

Tai O
Tai O

Best time to visit: 

  • Anytime of the year. The Tai O Lantern Festival takes place during Mid-Autumn Festival in September or October, where you can see a wide variety of handmade lanterns.

How to get there: 

  • Take bus 11 from MTR Tung Chung Station to Tai O. The journey takes approximately 50 minutes. The last bus from Tai O to Tung Chung departs at 12:15am.

3. Lamma Island: enjoy laid-back island vibes and easy hikes

A short ferry ride away from Central, Lamma Island exudes laid-back island vibes. Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow alleyways to find an array of seafood restaurants, craft workshops, bookstores, cafes, and tiny temples. There are two ferry piers on the island: Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan, which are connected by the Lamma Family Trail.

Lamma Island
Lamma Island

How to get there: 

  • Take the ferry to either Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan from Central Ferry Pier 4 (a five-minute walk from MTR Hong Kong Station). The journey takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Peng Chau: visit one of the city’s trendiest art hubs

The island of Peng Chau is less than an hour‘s boat ride away from Hong Kong Island, has easy walking trails and has a laid-back island vibe that’s perfect for a peaceful getaway. One of the most popular attractions on the island is the Fook Yuen Leather Factory. Established in the 1930s, the factory has been revitalised and is now a Grade 3 historic building with a highly Instagrammable art space. Here, visitors can also join ceramic workshops that offer a glimpse into the once-thriving ceramic handicraft industry in Peng Chau. Discover the island’s unique medley of abandoned factories, beautiful beaches, temples and vibrant graffiti art for ‘Insta-ration’!

Peng Chau
Peng Chau

How to get there: 

  • Take the ferry to Peng Chau from Central Ferry Pier 6 (a five-minute walk from MTR Hong Kong Station). The journey takes approximately 25 to 40 minutes.

5. Po Toi Island: explore unique geological formations

Po Toi Island is Hong Kong’s southernmost island and is known for its unique geological formations and panoramic views of the South China Sea. Enjoy the stunning ocean views while gazing at the bizarre forms of rocks, and then finish your hike with seaweed dishes at nearby restaurants and eateries.

Po Toi Island
Po Toi Island

How to get there:

  • Route 1: Take the kaito from the Aberdeen Ferry Pier (only available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays). The journey takes approximately 60 minutes
  • Route 2: Take the kaito from the Blake Pier at Stanley (only available on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays). The journey takes approximately 30 minutes; make sure you check the schedule before departing as fewer ferries operate on this route.

6. Tap Mun: unwind on grassy hillocks

Located in north-eastern Tai Po, Tap Mun is surrounded by rolling, grassy hills overlooking the sea. Its magnificent views make it a hot destination for camping, kite-flying, stargazing and sunset watching. After a day of activities, saunter down the paths of the fishing village and refuel with the famous sea urchin fried rice and deep-fried calamari balls.

Tap Mun
Tap Mun

Best time to visit:

  • Spring or autumn when the weather is mild.

Note:

  • Tap Mun has wild cows roaming freely, so do keep food items and plastic bags out of sight!

How to get there: 

  • Route 1: Take a taxi from MTR University Station Exit B towards Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier, then take a kaito to Tap Mun. The journey lasts around 1.5 hours.
  • Route 2: Take bus 94 from Sai Kung Town Centre to Wong Shek Pier, then take a kaito to Tap Mun. The ferry ride takes around 35 minutes.

7. Tung Ping Chau: visit awe-inspiring rocks and stony corals

There are three reasons why this easternmost outpost, Tung Ping Chau, is also known as “flat island”. First and foremost, it’s flat, with the highest point just 48 metres above sea level. Flat also refers to its smooth horizontal sedimentary rock and calm surrounding waters. To distinguish it from Peng Chau, the island is called “Tung” Ping Chau. Tung Ping Chau features many geosites with thinly bedded sedimentary rock (shale).

Tung Ping Chau
Tung Ping Chau

How to get there: 

  • Take a five-minute taxi ride from MTR University station or bus 272K and get off at Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier. Then take a kaito (only available on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays) to Tung Ping Chau. The ferry ride takes approximately 1.5 hours.

8. Sharp Island: go on a hike and stay cool with thrilling aquatic activities

Sharp Island, just two kilometres from Sai Kung town centre, is the most accessible Hong Kong Geopark attraction for hiking or water activities. Start off with a swim, snorkelling trip, or canoe ride at Half Moon Bay; then, a hike towards Kiu Tau islet will take you past a beach and a tombolo.

Low tide at the tombolo will reveal natural sand embankments and ‘pineapple bun rocks’ — granite boulders with cracked tops that resemble Hong Kong’s iconic snack.

Sharp Island
Sharp Island

How to get there: 

  • Route 1: Take minibus 1A from MTR Choi Hung station Exit C2 to the last stop at Sai Kung Public Pier.
  • Route 2: Take bus 92 from MTR Diamond Hill Station to the Sai Kung Public Transport Interchange, and walk to the Sai Kung Public Pier.

After arriving Sai Kung Public Pier:

  • Visitors can purchase kaito ferry tickets near the Sai Kung Public Pier. A kaito from Sai Kung Public Pier to Sharp Island takes approximately 20 minutes.

9. Yim Tin Tsai: immerse yourself in the island’s salt-making traditions

Yim Tin Tsai, a small island in Sai Kung, has a rich history of salt farming and trading. There’s no permanent population on the island, but the well-preserved villages, salt fields, and iconic St. Joseph’s Chapel are reminiscent of its glory days. The Yim Tin Tsai Heritage Exhibition Centre and Salt and Light Preservation Centre promote the history and ecology of Yim Tin Tsai. You can do salt-making workshops from time to time and buy some in the souvenir shop.

Yim Tin Tsai
Yim Tin Tsai

Best time to visit:

  • Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Yim Tin Tsai. The Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival is held in autumn and winter this year, see more information here.

How to get there: 

  • Route 1: Take minibus 1A from MTR Choi Hung Station Exit C2 to the last stop at Sai Kung Public Pier.
  • Route 2: Take bus 92 from MTR Diamond Hill Station and get off at the Sai Kung Public Transport Interchange, which is next to the Sai Kung Public Pier.

After arriving Sai Kung Public Pier:

  • Sai Kung has a ticket office and reception for ferry trips to Yim Tin Tsai. The ferry from Sai Kung New Public Pier operates from Tuesday to Sunday, and the journey takes approximately 20 minutes. You may take the same ferry back to Sai Kung Town.

10. Kat O and Ap Chau: explore fishermen and Hakka culture

Visit Kat O and Ap Chau in one day, which are only 15 minutes apart by ferry. In stark contrast to the skyscraper landscape of Hong Kong, these two enchanting islands offer a natural haven with pristine waters and ochre breccia, a type of locally rare sedimentary rock. Discover the “story rooms” and Tin Hau Temples on both islands to learn about their rich history; and eat fever vine cha kwo, a delicious, freshly steamed Hakka dessert.

Kat O and Ap Chau
Kat O and Ap Chau

How to get there: 

  • Take bus 272K at MTR University station and get off at the Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier. Walk for about 100 metres to Ma Liu Shui Landing Steps 3 and board the ferry to Kat O and Ap Chau. The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours; the ferry operates only on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.

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