Clearwater Bay Second Beach

I feel like all the nicest beaches in Hong Kong take a bit of effort to get to. I guess that’s pretty unsurprising, otherwise they might end up being not so nice (i.e. overcrowded and dirty). Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung is touted as the nicest beach in Hong Kong, but it takes several buses plus a 2 hour hike to get to. Sadly, the only time I’ve ever been it was raining so I didn’t really get to enjoy the beach! Another beach that I quite like is Cheung Sha Wan on Lantau. To get there you need to get to Lantau somehow (such as a ferry to Mui Wo) and then get on one of the Lantau buses and ride them along the winding and hilly roads (which my husband really hates!) to the beach. But at least this beach has some lovely restaurants and is near a village so you don’t feel quite so in the middle of nowhere.

But a great beach that is a little more accessible is Clearwater Bay Second Beach. There are many ways to get there, such as take the MTR to Hang Hau and get a taxi, or go to Tsuen Kwan O MTR station and get the 103M minibus. Or if you are in Kowloon, you can take the 91 bus from Diamond Hill station. It still takes us about 1 1/4 hours to get there from Hung Hom though!

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The beach itself is really beautiful, set in a bay with the golf course on one side and hills on the other so all you can really see is the sea and greenery. The sand is fine and clean and the water is very clear (hence the name). Importantly, the beach doesn’t get as busy as those on the South side of Hong Kong island, although on a sunny public holiday it will still get fairly busy.

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There are the usual changing facilities with toilets and showers, and lifeguards and shark nets in summer. There isn’t a huge amount of shade and I don’t think you can hire sun umbrellas, but lots of people bring little tents to sit in! We were lucky that we arrived fairly early and were able to find a gap in the shade under the trees at the back of the beach.

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There aren’t any restaurants but there is a little refreshment kiosk selling cold drinks and dumplings so you won’t starve, but it’s still a good idea to bring your own food and drink (if you can carry it – we always end up taking huge amounts to the beach with our young children!).

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This is somewhere where I would have never thought of going myself but some friends invited us, and I’m so glad they did! So I’m sharing it with you too. It’s not exactly a secret but I don’t think that most people go there.

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What is your favourite beach in Hong Kong? I’d love to hear other people’s opinions!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Maclehose trail stage 2: hills, beaches and lots of rain!

One weekend in December last year, Tom and I decided to venture out to do some hiking in the Sai Kung area, an area which we had never been to before. It’s a small(ish) town on the Eastern side of the New Territories, but is known as a great area for watersports, seafood and hiking. Many people live there and commute into Hong Kong as prices are cheaper out there and you can maybe get a whole house (unheard of!).

We decided to walk Stage 2 of the Maclehose Trail, a trail which winds its way from East to West across the New Territories (the New Territories is the name for the area of Hong Kong SAR on the mainland outside of the built up area directly opposite Hong Kong Island). Stage 2 sounded like it would be one of the more interesting stages of the trail to walk, so we plumped for that and set off to Sai Kung.

Sai Kung isn’t the easiest place to get to, although it’s not as bad as we initially thought. The best ways are to go to Diamond Hill MTR and take the 92 bus, or go to Hang Hau MTR and take the 101 minibus. It still takes over an hour to get there from Hong Kong Island though!

Unfortunately, once you’ve made your way to Sai Kung, you’re still nowhere near the start of the trail! The most straightforward way to get there is to take the 29R minibus, which starts from outside MacDonalds on Chan Man Street (timetable). We caught the 11.30am bus on a Saturday, although it didn’t actually leave till close to midday! The minibus takes you to Sai Wan Pavillion. From there, take the path down until you join the trail (which is well signposted). You get some lovely views of High Island reservoir on your way down.

High Island reservoir

When you reach the trail, turn left and keep following it! (I realise now that Stage 2 of the trail actually started a little way south of where we joined the trail but there seems little point walking back to the start just to retrace your steps again) First of all you go down to the two beaches at Sai Wan Village and then up over a headland. If the tide is out you can walk up the side of the headland, but if not then you have to use the bridge at the back of the beach. By this point in our walk it had started raining.

Sai Wan beaches

As you go over the top of the headland, you are greeted with the sight of two beaches in front of you. These are Ham Tim Wan (the closest) and Tai Long Wan (further away). Luckily the rain stopped for long enough to take a photograph!

Ham Tin Wan and Tai Long Wan

The path descends to Ham Tin Wan and goes inland but we walked across the beach and over this plank bridge to the restaurants where you can stop for some refreshments.

Plank bridge at Ham Tin

We walked straight through the restaurants and through Ham Tin village behind. At the back of Ham Tin village, before the path takes you through fields, there is a turning on the right. Follow this path round the back of the headland to reach Tai Long Wan. This beach is supposed to be the most pristine and idyllic in Hong Kong but unfortunately it was still raining and so it just looked a bit grey and wet to us!

Tai Long Wan

Tai Long Wan 2

Retrace your steps back to the path through Ham Tin village and continue through the fields and into the jungle. The path (which is very well concreted and has a lot of steps) then takes you over a very large hill and was quite hard work in the rain! You couldn’t see a lot either due to the density of trees, which was a bit disappointing.

Luckily, you are rewarded with a descent after the hard work of the climb, and this descent finishes at the deserted village of Chek Keng where the path takes you along the edge of the harbour. This is a very idyllic place, and happily for us it had stopped raining so we paused here for a while. It’s very quiet and the water was so still!

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If you don’t want to carry on you may be able to flag down a small boat here to take you to Wong Shek, or if you head east around the harbour you get to the ferry pier where you can catch a ferry there instead (check ferry timetables first, as they’re not very frequent!).

However, after a little while it started raining again so we carried on, to finish the last part of the trail. Unfortunately, this was uphill again as the path climbs to meet the road between Wong Shek and Sai Kung. This was not fun, we were both pretty tired by this point and the rain was relentless! But we made it, and waited at the bus stop there to catch a 94 bus back to Sai Kung. We had walked about 12km, which I think was the longest I’d ever walked in a day! We caught the 101 minibus straight home as we were soaked, but a much nicer way to finish the day would be dinner at one of Sai Kung’s many restaurants.

If you fancy a long hike in a more remote part of Hong Kong, then I’d recommend this walk highly. It was pretty interesting. But check the weather forecast first – it’s not much fun in the rain!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel