The best islands to visit in Hong Kong

Comprised of more than 250 islands, Hong Kong offers so much more than just urban adventures.

Aside from being one of the biggest metropolises in the planet, Hong Kong is also home to a treasure-trove of natural wonders. If you’re looking to explore its wilder side, many of Hong Kong’s Islands are worth visiting. Some are uninhabited and home to unmissable nature reserves and hiking trails.

Sai Kung East Country Park
Sai Kung East Country Park

Hong Kong islands to explore

Lamma Island

Lamma is the third largest island in Hong Kong, and only a 30-minute ferry ride away from Central. The ferry drops you at the village of Yung Shue Wan. After exploring, wander toward Hung Shing Yeh Beach, where you can cool off with a dip and enjoy a barbecue.

Lantau Island

Lantau Island, which is home to the world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha, is especially popular. But for a slice of authentic rustic Hong Kong, Lantau’s Tai O is the place. The fishing village is home to gorgeous streets, tiny temples and street-side vendors. Make sure you try the charcoal-grilled ‘eggettes’ and delectable fresh barbecued prawns and oysters. Then take a ride along the river by boat or kayak, past the stilted houses teetering above the tidal flats.

Hong Kong’s International Airport, Chek Lap Kok is on Lantau Island. You can also find great hiking trails, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges and fantastic shopping outlets here.

Lantau Island in Hong Kong
Trail towards Tai O © Jessica Li

Ap Chau

Ap Chau is a hidden haven and Hong Kong’s smallest inhabited island. Beginning its life as a fishing village, it is now part of a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Be sure to visit the Ap Chau Story Room to learn about the island’s Tanka culture and heritage. Then stop by the islands’ Instaworthy ochre-coloured rock formations.

Soko Islands

In the far southwest of Hong Kong’s territory, the Soko Islands were once home to a small community of farmers and fishermen. Today, nature is reclaiming abandoned houses, ruins and shrines. Explore these fascinating abandoned structures before lounging around on quiet, unspoilt beaches.

Tung Lung Chau

Rough, rugged and wild, Tung Lung Chau is the craggy cousin of Hong Kong’s island family. The island has a huge number of incredible rock climbing spots.

You’ll find only one main paved trail on the island, which loops from the pier to the top of a hill. As well as offering great views it also takes in the oldest rock carving in Hong Kong. The impressive dragon carving is thought to be 5,000 years old.

Hong Kong Islands day trip

Junks, ferries and container ships aren’t the only harbour traffic in Hong Kong. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the city’s waterways and islands by kayak. Local outfit Kayak-and-Hike offers full-day packages that take you to the Ung Kong archipelago, part of Hong Kong’s Global Geopark in the eastern New Territories.

Trips launch from Sai Kung with a junk ride through coves and past forested hills – an enticing entrée for what’s to come. Reaching Sha Kiu Tau fishing village you’re kitted up with a kayak, life vest and snorkelling gear to paddle to caves and sea arches and then eventually to Bluff Island. This archipelago is part of an important ecosystem for Hong Kong’s coral and marine life.

Sai Kung East Country Hong Kong Hike
Sai Kung East Country © Andrew Lao

Hong Kong Island

On Hong Kong Island, lovers of water sports can enjoy sailing, kayaking, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, stand-up paddleboarding and windsurfing.

There are numerous beaches dotting the shoreline, including the popular and easily accessible Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay and Stanley Beach. The latter is located just a short stroll from the famous Stanley Market. All three are official beaches, meaning that along with shark nets, there are life rafts and life guards on duty during swimming season.

Deep Bay, Hong Kong

Hong Kong islands ferries

There are 11 companies that provide ferry transfers to the islands in Hong Kong. The local transport Octopus Card can be used on most of these ferries.

Hong Kong islands map

A number of organisations, including the Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association (HKMBA), are dedicated to the development and upgrade of off-road tracks on far-flung islands. Excellent maps and trail descriptions on the HKMBA website mean that you can tackle different trails on your own, or on guided half- and full-day trips tailored to different skill levels.

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