Sai Kung (西貢), Hong Kong

This is a small fishing town on in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Recently, it has become more popular with locals and tourists as a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. Sai Kung (西貢) is well known for its seafood and many seafood restaurants line the seafront forming a Seafood Street. Besides seafood, visitors can charter boats for snorkeling, scuba diving or just swimming at the beaches at the nearby islands. There are also numerous nature trails for hikers.  We did a day trip to Sai Kung recently in November 2014 when we visited Hong Kong.

Getting to Sai Kung from Hong Kong is not that difficult, although it will take up a bit of your time. First of all you need to take the MTR to Choi Hung Station . At the station, find exit C2 (there will be signs saying ‘Bus to Sai Kung’). When you come out of exit C2, you will see the bus stop for the green minibus to Sai Kung on the left side. The waiting time is around 5 minutes or less.  You can pay the fare with the Octopus Card and it’s around HKD8. The trip to Sai Kung takes roughly 30 minutes or less depending on how fast the driver is going. The minibus will end its journey at Sai Kung bus station.

Alternatively, you can stop at Diamond Hill MTR station and take public bus No.92 to Sai Kung. But I heard from the locals that this bus ride can take up to 1 hour because the bus stops at more places along the way. The green minibus is still the best option if you want to save time.

Inside the green minibus to Sai Kung. The trip takes 30 minutes or less depending on how fast the driver is going. It ranges from fast to maniacally fast.
Inside the green minibus to Sai Kung. The trip takes 30 minutes or less depending on how fast the driver is going. It ranges from fast to maniacally fast.
The seafront of Sai Kung. We visited on a weekend and it was crowded, but not like what you see in Hong Kong.
The seafront of Sai Kung. We visited on a weekend and it was crowded, but not like what you get in Hong Kong.
Lots of boats for fishing and cruising. In the distance you can see the luxury seafront facing homes.
Lots of boats for fishing and cruising. In the distance you can see the luxury seafront facing homes.
Seafood Street. The gateway marks the start of the row of seafood restaurants.
Seafood Street. The gateway marks the start of the row of seafood restaurants.

Due to the increasing number of tourists, expat and locals, you won’t find cheap seafood here. So don’t expect bargain prices despite the place being a fishing town. Look around the restaurants and find one that you are comfortable with on the food and price. All the restaurants will allow you to choose live seafood and cooked in any style that you want. Most of the time the prices are by weight and the guy who picks out the seafood will weigh it on old fashioned Chinese scales. Make sure you agree with the total price before they send it to the kitchen for cooking.

More seafood than you can find at an aquarium.
More seafood than you can find at Marine SEA Life Park.
Hong Kong is famous for their 'Lai Liu' or Pissing shrimps. I don't know why they are called that, but these are actually Mantis shrimps, and they are really huge.
Hong Kong is famous for their ‘Lai Liu Har’ or Pissing shrimps. I don’t know why they are called that, but these are actually Mantis shrimps, and they are really huge at Sai Kung. Each one is nearly 1 feet in length compared to the itsy bitsy ones in Hong Kong’s backstreet eateries.
Our seafood lunch. It cost us around SGD200 for 4 persons, with 2 huge mantis shrimps, white clams, crab omelet, bamboo clams, etc.
Our seafood lunch. It cost us around SGD200 for 4 persons, with 2 huge mantis shrimps, white clams, crab omelet, bamboo clams, and tofu dish.

After the huge seafood lunch, we had to walk off the calories. So off we went to explore the town. The seafront is an interesting walk as you can see a lot of activities taking place here.

We passed by this boat of guys processing scallops. The scallops will be dried and made into conpoy.
We passed by this boat of guys processing scallops. The guy on the left shucks them and removes the meat. The guy in the center removes the unwanted bits. The 2 guys on the right then clean the scallop with toothbrushes. The scallops will be dried and made into conpoy.
The public pier where you can take boats out to visit the surrounding islands.
The public pier where you can take boats out to visit the surrounding islands. There also many boats moored alongside the seafront selling live seafood.
There are also fishermen selling live seafood. You can buy these and bring them home to cook or ask the restaurants to cook them for you for a fee.
One of the boats along the seafront selling live seafood. You can buy these and bring them home to cook, or bring it to one of the restaurants and request them to cook it for you. I heard it’s cheaper this way, and probably the locals do it.

Besides the seafront and restaurants, there is an old town area where numerous small traditional shops and bistros can be found. After walking through the street, I feel that the old traditional shops are slowly closing down and more of the modern bistros and souvenir shops are taking over their place. I guess the place will be very different in a few years time. Such is what happens when mass tourism takes over.

A short street filled with many small traditional shops and newly opened bistros.
A short street filled with many small traditional shops and newly opened bistros.
The old temple in Sai Kung.
The old temple in Sai Kung. We didn’t visit as they were having some sort of event then. We had dessert at the local Honeymoon dessert chain across the road from this temple.

I would say that Sai Kung is a good alternative to chill out if you want a break from Hong Kong and its insane crowds. You can take a day trip or stay the weekend depending on what activities you would like to indulge in.

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