Taking the Island Cruise in Sai Kung

Mention Hong Kong and almost everyone will have in their mind a city full of skyscrapers, crowded streets and millions of people. However, Hong Kong does have it’s fair share of nature reserves, beaches and islands which are unfortunately missed out by most travelers.

Speaking of islands in Hong Kong, most people are only familiar with Lantau Island since that’s where you find several attractions like Disneyland, factory outlet shops and the Big Buddha. If you want to know more about Lantau Island, I have a short blog post about it. But, there are other smaller islands around Hong Kong, and they make interesting day trips if you are willing to make time to visit them.

So on my recent trip to Hong Kong, I decided to revisit Sai Kung again. This is a sheltered bay on the eastern part of Hong Kong’s mainland. While seafood attracts many tourists here, there are also cruises to the surrounding islands which you can indulge in.

For more about how to get to Sai Kung from Hong Kong Island or Kowloon, you can read my previous blog post here. For this trip we decided to save time and just take a taxi. If 4-5 persons take a taxi, the shared cost isn’t much different from taking the MTR and bus.

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The public pier in Sai Kung is your gateway to the island cruises. Numerous stalls on each side of the pier will advertise their cruises and you can choose from a variety of cruise packages here.
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Once you’ve chosen and paid for your cruise, you will be given a sticker for the respective cruise company. This is to stick on your shirt and don’t lose it otherwise you can’t board the boat. Then, you have to wait for your boat to arrive, which is typically such wooden boats.
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While waiting for your boat to arrive, which may take up to 30 minutes depending on their timing, there’s time to look at the many fishing boats selling fresh seafood. You can buy the seafood and bring it to the restaurants to get it cooked your way. Price wise it’s supposed to be cheaper than ordering at the restaurants, but with mass tourism, this isn’t the case anymore.
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We bought ourselves the round island cruise which costs HKD 60/person. Our boat’s captain was this grandma with killer shades.

The round island cruise takes you on a roughly 2 hour trip past several smaller islands. You have the option to get off on 1 or 2 of the islands for an extra HKD10/person, and return on another boat.

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One of the islands that we sailed past. It looks abandoned with ruined houses.
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This is Yim Tin Tsai Island where you can get off to explore if you want. There is a chapel and some buildings on the island.
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Kayaking can be done on some of the islands.
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We rounded Sharp Island which has a long sand beach. It does look like a nice place to picnic or spend a day at the beach.
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There are also sea caves on some of the islands, and the boats will come as close as possible for a good look. It’s said that thousands of bats inhibit these caves, hence giving the name Bat Cave to it.
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A sea view of Sai Kung as we headed back to the pier.

Of course, once you are back in Sai Kung, you can continue to explore the town’s fishing and maritime history. Despite the mass tourism that’s taken root here, Sai Kung still retains that quaint small town feel.

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The rustic looking streets of Sai Kung conjures up images of how life was like in the past. Most of the ground floor units have been converted into shops and cafes, while residents still stay on the upper floors.
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Old gates leading to unknown corners of the town.
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Overhanging apartments form canyons above narrow alleyways, while darkened windows hide their secrets from prying eyes.
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Every now and then you are reminded that this town thrives on the sea. Like these broken boat engines stacked next to crates of Coca Cola.
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You would know that this is a ship repair workshop from the large ship’s anchor that’s hanging outside.
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You’ll even find an anchor next to the laundry.
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And of course what most people come here for, the seafood. The choices are mind boggling and some of the creatures I’ve never seen before, let alone think they are edible.

So, the next time you are in Hong Kong and are sick of jostling with a few million other people in the streets and subways, how about taking a day trip to the out lying areas of this metropolis? You’d be surprised at how relaxed and laid back life can be 30-45 minutes out from Central.

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8 thoughts on “Taking the Island Cruise in Sai Kung

  1. Great photos and glad that you enjoy your hike in HK! I like Sai Kung as well. It’s far away from the hustle and bustle and it gladdens me with peaceful feeling.

  2. Sai Kung is also one of my favorite parts of Hong Kong. I went to Tai Long Wan with my friend in 2014 and we were lucky for it was such a nice, sunny day. However, I have yet to visit Yim Tin Tsai Island. My friend has been thinking of taking me there, but we always end up going to other places when I happen to be in Hong Kong. Maybe next time.

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