If there’s a Captain Jack within fighting to get out, set sail (or minus 29R, from Sai Kung Town) for Hoi Ha Wan, Hong Kong’s only marine park. Here you can commandeer your very own vessel, taking to the waves with a “Ye’arrrrrr!”.
Whether choosing taxi or minibus to get there, you’ll no doubt depart with shaking hands and white knuckles, as public transport drivers show no fear when whipping around countryside hairpin bends. Adrenaline levels should decline dramatically, however, as you walk into the dreamy little seaside town.
The hamlet of Hoi Ha Wan
One road meanders through a handful of buildings that are seemingly being devoured by tropical plants. Here you’ll find a tea garden with table service for food, coffee and beer, but unfortunately, no rum. Celina, a sprite lady in her later years, owns and runs the cafe which also acts as a base for her kayak rental operation.
With lifejacket on and paddle in hand, you can take lone command, or form a motley crew with another friend in a two-person kayak. After paying 300HKD (regardless of taking a smaller single or larger double) you’ll be adrift on the tides of fate, el capitan of your own destiny.
If you have any queries about the kayak rental, call Celina (who has excellent English directly) on 2328 2181
Where to go
Sailing on some of the clearest and cleanest waters in Asia, every shore in the horseshoe bay will turn up something spectacular. Stick close to the coast for shelter from strong winds and to see the myriad of fish species swimming in the shallows. Crystal clear waters make it feel like your flying over another world, as you sail above giant boulders covered in coral.
When paddling out from the beach, I recommend you first explore the coastline on the right-hand side. There’s plenty of empty beaches here, but my favourite sandy spot, known as lovers bay, is the very last beach on this side of the natural harbour.
On approach, its waters quickly shallow allowing light to dance on white sand below. This area is inaccessible by land, perfect for a romantic picnic. The only problem here is that you eventually have to leave. But, after just a few hours at this paradisiacal place, you’ll return to reality with fully recharged batteries.
For more information on the nature and points of interest around Hoi Ha, check out this little gem from the AFCD.
How to get there
– From Mong Kok, find where Dundas and Tung Choi Street (Ladies Market street) intersect.
– Jump on the minibus which awaits there, paying 16HKD.
– After arriving in Sai Kung Town (approximately 30 minutes later) find the busy harbour front (50 meters from where you are dropped off) and you’ll find the minibus/bus stations.
– Find minibus 29R and ride it till routes end (approximately 30 minutes)
- arrive early as it costs the same to rent a kayak for the full day or half of one.
- Kayaks cost 300HKD (for single or double)
- Don’t fancy kayaking, relax on the plentiful white sands close to town.
- Escape the crowds and hike around Wan Tsai Peninsular for some hidden gems.
- At day’s end (3-5pm) on a sunny day, the minibus lineup is insane – leave early or wait late.
- Hot/cold food & drinks are sold year-round in town.
- Stock up on food and water before kayaking beyond the bay, as you won’t find any outside of town.
- No ATM’s in Hoi Ha Wan.
- The journey from Mong Kok to Hoi Ha Wan will take between 1.5 – 2 hours.
- Grab lunch or dinner in Sai Kung Town, famous for its seafood, before or after your trip.
Bonus for reaching the end
Spend an idyllic night under the stars at one of THREE campgrounds nearby the village. Approximately 30 minutes east of the minibus stop, you’ll easily find the turn into Wan Tsai peninsular, an area rife with awesome campsites.
- Wan Tsai South is a fairly large grass campsite nex to sandy beach, found at the peninsula’s entrance – great place for families. More info here.
- Wan Tsai West encompasses a huge open grass field atop the peninsula, which, from what I’ve heard at a distance, can get pretty rowdy on the weekend. More info Here.
- Then there’s one of my favourite wild camping spots on the peninsula. If you stick to its west coast, you’ll know when you find it.