Hong Kong’s Best Kept Secret Island: Tung Lung Chau

I stumbled upon this “Secret Island” while checking ferry schedules to Tap Mun (Grass Island). There was a kaito (water taxi) that departed from Sai Wan Ho on Island East to a place I’ve never heard before: Tung Lung Chau. Little did we know we were in for such beauty on the most perfect of spring days!

IMG_1749a.jpg

If you’re doing the hike that loops around the island, use the below as a rough guide to budget your time there. Otherwise, you can camp or explore the main sights without walking the whole trail ’round…

Distance: 8km

Duration: 3 hours

Difficulty: Hard (off-trail scrambling)

About Tung Lung Island

Screen_Shot_2019-05-13_at_11_12_26_AM.png

Tung Lung Island, like Po Toi, is a non-mainstream Outlying Island without a significant residential community. It belongs to the Sai Kung district, lying just below Clearwater Bay, to the east of Hong Kong Island’s Shek O Country Park.

Getting to Tung Lung Chau is relatively pain-free, especially if you’re coming from Hong Kong Island or East Kowloon. Boats regularly service the island from Sai Wan Ho and Sam Ka Tsuen on weekends and public holidays. (Scroll down to see “How to Get There”

Highlights

  • An 8km or so loop-hike taking you through seriously gorgeous scenery reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast (or Batanes in the Philippines, as my sister told me)
  • Amazing camp site shaded with pine trees
  • An ancient, 3,000 year old rock carving (be prepared for 600 steps each way!)
  • Hidden rocky beaches with water cleaner than most you’ll find in Hong Kong
  • The BEST rock climbing in the territory if you’re into that… we spent a good amount of time gaping at the fearless climbers scaling sheer cliff drops
  • “Tung Lung Fort”, a centuries-old declared monument originally built during dynastic China to counter pirates (from Cheung Chau?)
  • Beautiful views from Nam Tung Peak and at various lookout points
  • Several caves to explore if you dare

Food

You’re better off taking your own food and water, although if you were really desperate there are a handful of eateries on the island. Don’t expect anything beyond the typical cha chaan teng fare, though! (Think: noodle soup with egg and sausages, sandwiches, etc.)

How to get there

We took the MTR to Sai Wan Ho in Hong Kong Island (Exit A) and caught the 12:00 ferry. There seem to be several ferry terminals in the area though – the correct one is marked on Google Maps beside “Shaukeiwan Typhoon Shelter”.

I had initially been following Google Maps to the Sai Wan Ho Ferry Pier, but saw a small queue of people in front of a small stair leading out to sea. I decided to ask them where they were headed and they told me Tung Lung Island!

img_1709-1

The roundtrip ticket cost us HK$55 each

For us, spending around 4 hours on the island was a healthy amount of time to hike the whole loop plus do some leisurely exploring. We took the 12:00 trip there (45 min on the boat) and jumped on the 17:30 going back.

However, we did run out of water before finishing the hike and had no food on us, which we wouldn’t advise to anyone. Also, having swimwear and a beach mat would be great if you want to swim or sunbathe. You might want to go for one of the earlier departures though, to get enough time at the place.

I would wear reef shoes as there are nice places to swim with clear water, although quite rocky. I did see one sandy beach though, near the northern ferry pier.

There were two main piers on the island, and the ferry stop at both of them:

  1. Nam Tong Pier
  2. Fat Tong Mun Pier – where I saw the sandy beach
img_1743

Helipad

Tree cover: There’s not much of this on the island, except for at the camp site. A lot of people walking actually brought their umbrellas along. I had a cap at least, but still came out with a foul looking tan line at my knees and chest. I never burn, though, but you might…

img_1751-1

The biggest ancient rock carving in Hong Kong. This one is of a dragon, said to be 3,000 years old (Tung Lung Island)

img_1752-1

Diagram of the different (related) ancient rock carvings in Hong Kong. I’ve been to seven out of eight here!

Have you been to Tung Lung Island? Did I miss anything? Planning to go? Any recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments!

Other islands you might want to check out:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s