I’ve said this before, but one of the best things about Hong Kong is that it’s not all built-up busy city life, it’s really easy to get out of the city and enjoy the surrounding hills, beaches and islands. Shek O is a great example of this. It’s a laid back small village with low rise buildings and a great beach that feels miles away from the city, when it’s actually just round the corner.
The best way to get to Shek O from central Hong Kong is to take the MTR Island line east to Shau Kei Wan. Exit the MTR station at exit A3 and you’re right next to the bus station. Hop on bus 9 and 20 minutes or so later get off at the last stop, which is on the edge of Shek O. You get some great views of the coastline on the bus journey too!
When you get off the bus, in front of you is a small roundabout, by which is a Thai restaurant. I can’t actually remember the name of it but it’s pretty good and has a massive menu! It actually makes it hard to choose what to eat as there is too much choice!
To get to the beach, turn right at the roundabout. This takes you into a car park and the entrance to the beach is on the left hand side of the car park. If you go in summer or early autumn you are likely to be trailed by a lady who will rent you a sun lounger and an umbrella. The umbrella is really a ‘must’ in summer! The prices are pretty reasonable too.
The beach itself is wide and generally pretty clean and well managed. There are toilets, showers and changing areas, and also lifeguards, rafts and a shark net in summer (April to October). The water quality really varies though, I have been both when it’s been immaculate and when there’s been lots of plastic in it, it just depends on what’s carried on the currents at the time. Also, on a sunny dry day in summer, the beach gets REALLY busy. I would suggest that you visit early or late in the summer season if you want a bit more space.
This photo was taken on a weekday afternoon in late May, as you can see, the beach was pretty quiet.
There are public BBQ pits next to the beach too, which would be a fun way to end a day on the beach. I don’t really know how they work but I guess it would just be chance whether one is free when you want to use it. I heard that you can book private BBQ pits for a slightly pricey HK$400 (approx. £35) too at Liu’s Barbecue nearby, but then you are guaranteed your own pit for the whole night, plus it comes with charcoal provided.
Shek O village is worth a little wander round too. The headland on the north side of the main beach is apparently home to some of the priciest real estate in Hong Kong – and as they are massive houses with great views, I’m not that surprised! You can see some in the background in this picture:
By contrast the rest of the town has a more laid back, hippy style to it. It’s a maze of small alleyways and mostly 2 storey buildings, many of which have large windows, porches and balconies for enjoying the summer weather. In true Hong Kong style, I think even these buildings are split into an apartment on each floor – it’s a real luxury to own a whole house in Hong Kong!
Shek O is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially off-season or during the week. If you want to see a different side of Hong Kong without leaving the island, it’s definitely worth a visit!
Thanks for reading!