In need of a break from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong city life? Take a look at these easy Hong Kong day trips that are sure to tick all the boxes.
We think Hong Kong is one of the best places in the world. The pulsating concrete jungle has something for everyone, including an array of easy day trips ideal for intrepid explorers, shopping fanatics, beach junkies and hiking gurus.
If you’re wanting to get away from the city, explore a different area or just relax on a new beach, then check out a few of our favourite Hong Kong day trips…
Tai Long Wan is easily one of our top beaches in Hong Kong; mainly because the hike there is pretty beautiful, fairly easy and there’s the option to camp for the more adventurous. Found in the New Territories, it’s not the easiest to get to, but we promise once you’re there it’s worth it. The trail from Sai Wan Pavilion only takes about 45 minutes and isn’t too demanding, although be warned, there is one steep hill to tackle.
Once you hit the beach, it’s hard not to be blown away by the postcard-worthy long strip of white sand and turquoise waters. Don’t forget to pack sun cream, but don’t worry about food as there are one or two little restaurants along the waterfront – perfect for those lunchtime cravings.
At the end of the day, hop on one of the local sampan boats back to Sai Kung. Be aware that you need to book yourself onto one of these when you arrive at the beach and hold onto your gear when you’re onboard – the drivers love a bumpy ride!
How to get there: If you’re feeling lazy, you can hop in a cab to Sai Wan Pavilion. Alternatively, you can take the MTR to Choi Hung and then jump on the 1A green minibus to Sai Kung. Once in Sai Kung, take minibus 29R and alight at the Sai Wan Pavilion.
Read more: Your Guide To Tai Long Wan
One of Hong Kong’s hidden gems, Peng Chau is rarely listed on the tourist sites, so rather than hordes of crowds, you’ll find ancient temples, rustic restaurants and lovely beaches here.
Given the island only measures a square kilometre, it’s hard to wander too far on Peng Chau, but we recommend exploring the winding streets and hiking trails to work up an appetite for your lunchtime feast. As with most Hong Kong islands, there are a number of seafood restaurants worth checking out. Whilst we’re on the topic of food, a must-try is the Shrimp Paste – it’s a local delicacy.
Head up to Finger Hill, the highest point on the island, which offers great views of both Hong Kong Island and Disneyland – what more could you want? If hiking isn’t for you, why not wander along the Peng Chau Heritage Trail that takes you past an old lime kiln and gives an insight into Peng Chau’s industrial heritage?
How to get there: Ferries leave from Central Pier 6 to Peng Chau on either the fast (25-30 minutes) or ordinary ferry (40 minutes). Find more info on prices and times here.
The ancient Cheung Chau fishing village might be small, but there is an abundance of things to do. Think beaches, temples and a legendary pirate’s cave.
Jump on the ferry for the short journey from Hong Kong Island. Once you arrive, wander along the main promenade and soak in the bustling atmosphere and the beautiful views of the harbour. We recommend renting a bicycle for a fun way to see the island. Motorised vehicles aren’t allowed here, so cycling really is the main mode of transport – which we love!
If you’re a bit of a culture buff, check out Pak Tai Temple and the range of little shops jam-packed with traditional trinkets and souvenirs. Or if you’re more of a beach bum, check out Tung Wan Beach, the perfect sun trap. For the more adventurous, head to Cheung Po Tsai Cave (a popular spot which you can hike down to), or challenge yourself to one of the other hikes on the island.
How to get there: Ferries leave from Central Pier 5 on either the fast (35-40 minutes) or ordinary ferry (55-60 minutes). Find more info on prices and times here.
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Cheung Chau
Tai O should be added to everyone’s Hong Kong bucket list. A quaint fishing village with houses built on stilts, if you’re looking for an authentic Hong Kong experience, this is it. It’s also very Instagrammable, for those looking to up the ante on their grid. But the best thing about it? You’ll feel worlds away from Hong Kong’s bustling energy and concrete streets.
A highly recommended activity in Tai O is the boat ride out onto the ocean to spot the pink dolphins. On arrival in the village you’ll be welcomed by local fishermen and invited to give this activity a go. Keep an eye out once aboard as these dolphins are shy!
Once you’ve ticked the dolphins off your list, have a wander around the little village. Sample the delicious egg waffles and try the dried seafood and snacks. We recommend the barbecue oyster and shrimp. If you can, try to go during the week as it can get very busy at the weekends.
How to get there:Take the MTR to Tung Chung and then hop on bus 11 or Ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo. From there take bus No. 1.
Read more: Your Guide To Tai O
Ma Wan Ghost Town
Not for the faint-hearted, this is a unique day trip for the more adventurous out there. Venture out of the city and you’ll find whole villages long abandoned, scattered around the outlying islands; the most well-known is Ma Wan Ghost Town. Legend has it that residents were forced out of this little fishing village due to planned construction of a new luxury apartment complex which never happened. Now, the village – and its stories – are slowly crumbling away.
It’s a unique experience wandering through the abandoned houses, crumbling restaurants and shops that are slowly falling into the ocean, giving a glimpse into the eerie past. Similarly haunting are Yim Tin Tsai in Sai Kung, an abandoned village with a UNESCO heritage cathedral lying at the top; So Lo Pun in Plover Cove Country Park and Mau Wu Shan in Devil’s Peak. Make a day of it!
How to get there: For Ma Wan, get the direct ferry to Park Island from Central Pier 2 or get the bus from Tsing Yi MTR station. Find more info on ferry prices and times here.
Read more: Secret Spooky Spots In Hong Kong
Tai Mei Tuk
Tai Mei Tuk is equipped for a full day of barbecuing, water sports and bike riding. Start in Tai Po town centre, rent a bike and meander down one of its many dedicated cycle tracks that take you along Lam Tsuen River and Tai Po Waterfront Park – home to flower gardens and expansive lawns that are perfect for picnicking.
Not ready to head home? Keep going along the track and you’ll come to Fung Yeun Butterfly Reserve, a sanctuary to 200 species of butterfly. Finally, a further 10 minutes of peddling will have you reaching Tai Mei Tuk. Stop for an alfresco lunch along Sam Wo Road, or rent a canoe, sailboat or windsurfing board for as little as $14 an hour from Tai Mei Tuk Water Sports Centre and hit the waves. You can continue beyond Tai Mei Tuk to Hongkongers’ favourite Plover Cove Country Park where you’ll come to the infamous Bride’s Pool Waterfall for a well-deserved dip.
How to get there: Jump on the MTR to Tai Po Market Station (East Rail Line) to start biking from the town centre, or take minibus 20C or bus 75K straight to Tai Mei Tuk.
Read more: The Best Cycling Trails In Hong Kong
We love Lamma Island because within 30 minutes of being in Hong Kong’s central metropolis we can be in the midst of gleaming white beaches, sparkling turquoise waters and rolling green hills. Yes, life in Hong Kong is that good!
We like to start our day on Lamma with the Family Trail hike from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan. Taking about an hour and a half, the hike takes you through the most stunning scenery and is the perfect distance to work up an appetite.
Yung Shue Wan is Lamma’s main town – although it’s teeny tiny in comparison to Hong Kong, with only 6,000 inhabitants. The rustic town offers an array of restaurants – Chinese, Western and Asian; bars and cute souvenir shops. It’s very easy to while away a few hours sipping on a cold beer, or browsing records at the island’s resident vinyl store. When you’re ready for lunch, try Man Fung Seafood Restaurant on Main Street; if you don’t read Canto, don’t feel too daunted if there is no English menu – we just point at the fish we want from the tanks and that usually does the trick.
Sok Kwu Wan is smaller still and used to be the largest fishing farming centre in Hong Kong. We recommend heading here to discover the island’s best seafood restaurants. It’s no surprise that many expats plan a day trip to Lamma and never return – opting to live on the island full time.
How to get there: Ferries leave from Central Pier 4 to both Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan. Make sure you check the schedule if travelling on a public holiday. Find more info on prices and times here (for Yung Shue Wan) and here (for Sok Kwu Wan).
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Lamma Island
Just 25 minutes across the water from Central, Discovery Bay is primarily a residential hub for families seeking a quieter alternative from the hustle and bustle of city life. Amongst the towering apartment buildings, however, are soft, sandy beaches, unique hikes and the well-loved DB Plaza – a cornucopia of seaside dining options and lazy brunch opportunities. Keep your eye out for the monthly Handmade Hong Kong market on Sundays to pick up unique crafts, homeware, jewellery and artisan foods.
Tackle a section of Tiger Head Mountain (Lo Fu Tau Country Trail) and take in sweeping views of the Yi Pak and Tai Pak beaches – just 30 minutes from the ferry drop off (albeit, uphill). Press on to Mui Wo via Nim Shue Wan (2.5 hours) or continue on the Lo Fu Tau trail for 3.5 hours.
How to get there: Ferries depart regularly from Central Pier 3 and take roughly 25 minutes each way. More info on ferry times and prices here. Alternatively, hop on the MTR and take the Tung Chung line to Sunny Bay, before catching a bus to Discovery Bay from outside the station.
Grass Island (Tap Mun)
Although secluded, Grass Island is the perfect spot for setting up camp or simply enjoying a lazy day away from the city. Located off the northern peninsula of Sai Kung, the unofficial campsite lacks facilities (so be sure to take drinks, food and any equipment with you!) but makes up for it in sparkling waters, rocky shores and sweeping views.
Pitch a tent for the afternoon and head off to explore the trio of temples dating back to the 18th century, as well as the abandoned King Lam School. Don’t fancy cooking over a campfire? Head to Sun Yau Kee, the main restaurant in the fisherman’s village, to chow-down on its popular sea urchin fried rice!
How to get there: Firstly, make your way to Sai Kung by taking the MTR to Choi Hung and heading out of Exit C. Take the 1A minibus to Sai Kung Town and then the 94 bus to Wong Shek Pier. Alternatively, take bus 96R direct from Diamond Hill MTR Station. You can catch the ferry to Grass Island from the pier (around 30 minutes), however, bear in mind that the ferries only leave once every two hours or so.
On the Eastern coast of Lantau lies Mui Wo, a vibrant seaside town that is home to quaint restaurants, the well-known beaches of Silvermine Bay, waterfalls and endless hiking opportunities. Spend the day soaking up the sun and sipping on sundowners at The Cobra Beach Club just minutes from the pier, or jump on the 1, 2 or 4 bus to Lower Cheung Sha Village and on to Upper or Lower Cheung Sha Beach for the day.
Mui Wo is also known for its hiking trails. These can easily take you all over the island, as well as over to one of the longest beaches in Hong Kong – Pui O. It takes just 2.5 hours, and once there you can easily take the ferry back over to Mui Wo once you’re ready. There are also plenty of bike trails to explore in the area; we love renting a bike from the Friendly Bicycle Shop by the ferry pier and heading on out to Silvermine Waterfall for a dip in the cool waters before lunch. Seasoned cyclists can attempt the 25km Mui Wo loop featuring uninterrupted views of sea and hills, with the option to head on to Big Buddha. And those happy to just explore, check out Dragontail Farm which sells a huge variety of ready-to-buy-seasonal fruits and veggies.
How to get there: Leave from Central Pier 6 on either the fast (35-34 minutes) or ordinary ferry (50-55 minutes) to Mui Wo. More info on ferry times and pricing here.
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Mui Wo
Nestled in Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, Sharp Island is home to emerald waters and pristine shorelines. Hang out on one of two beaches for the afternoon, beginning with Kiu Tsui where you can spot the Tombolo Land Bridge connecting you with Sharp Island. Walk over the natural wonder at low tide (or you’ll miss your opportunity!) and when ready, hike 1.7 km to Hap Mun Bay and take a ferry back to Sai Kung. White sandy beaches are the order of the day here. You’ll also find a snack bar, barbecue and picnic sites, as well as showers and lockers for when you’re ready to head home.
How to get there: Ride the MTR to Choi Hung and, outside of Exit C, take the 1A minibus to Sai Kung Town (alternatively, head to Diamond Hill MTR and take bus 92). From here, hop on the small ferry (known as a Kaito) from Sai Kung Pier to Hap Mun Bay or Kiu Tsui (around 15 minutes).
Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery (Man Fat Sze)
Big Buddha steals the limelight, but if you’re sick of the crowds, there are 10,000 Buddhas in Sha Tin waiting to welcome you for the day. Built back in 1950, there are some 12,500 miniature statues which line the walls of Man Fat Sze Monastery. Featuring several halls, temples and a nine-story pagoda, it’s worth the uphill climb (and 400 steps) to witness it all!
How to get there: Take the East Rail Line on the MTR to Sha Tin station and head out of Exit B. Turn left at Pai Tau Street and then right at the end of the road once you come to the Sha Tin Government Offices at Sheung Wo Che Street – follow the signs from here.
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Sha Tin
The Aqua Luna
Okay, not technically a day trip, but we think that a day out in Hong Kong is not complete without a trip on the Aqua Luna to Stanley. This is one of the ultimate experiences to show parents or friends visiting town. Step aboard the Aqua Luna and take in the intoxicating Hong Kong skylines as the ship sails to Stanley. And if you’re feeling fancy, take it up a notch and indulge in the delicious cocktails and snacks on offer.
Once in Stanley, shop the colourful market stalls and indulge in a yummy lunch along the promenade with beautiful views out across the water. We can easily while away the day here…
What you need to know: Aqua Luna departs for Stanley from Central Pier 9 and TST Pier 1. The journey takes 90 minutes and only goes on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Price: $295 one-way; $440 round trip. Includes one complimentary drink per way. Find more info here!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 15, August 2017 and was most recently updated by Lexi Davey on 14, October 2020.
Featured image courtesy of ronniechua via Getty, image 1 courtesy of ahei via Getty, image 2 courtesy of Tiffany Ku, image 3 courtesy of c1a1p1c1o1m1 via Getty, image 4 courtesy of LeeYiuTung via Getty, image 5 courtesy of Wiki Commons, image 6 courtesy of bramovr via Instagram, image 7 courtesy of Aqua Luna via Facebook.