For the adventurous seeking a dose of nature in Hong Kong, Sai Kung comes as a nice surprise. Here are seven types of day trips to Sai Kung for those looking to hike, try out water sports or simply sightsee and eat!

First published: 7 Jan 2019

Hong Kong is lined with skyscrapers and bright city lights, which are all too familiar. And then there’s Sai Kung, a sanctuary of unbridled nature with the friendliest locals, hiding by the seaside. 

Sai Kung Pier Fishermen - Sai Kung Itinerary

There’s so much Sai Kung has to offer — from coastal hikes along beaches to cliff jumping and even surfing. Not to mention rounding off the day with the freshest seafood!

Despite Sai Kung’s many activities, it’s not busy like the city. There’s a chill vibe and positive mood about this place and its people are special, making it worth your while to spend a day here.

Psst… Read on till the end to see how you can win a pair of return flights to Hong Kong!

High Island East Dam Geo - Trail View_Sai Kung Itinerary

Our mini photoshoot at the High Island Dam!

Starting Point: Sai Kung Pier/Town (西貢公眾碼頭)

Sai Kung Promenade - Sai Kung Itinerary

Sai Kung Promenade (at Sai Kung Pier)!

Sai Kung Pier acts as the base for all attractions around Sai Kung, where the main bus terminal and most taxis are. Regardless of your route, this is where you’ll start.

The pier has its own hustle and bustle — fishermen in docked boats selling their catch of the day, seafood restaurants lining the coast, and boat tour operators setting up makeshift stalls along the pier.

Sai Kung Pier View - Sai Kung Itinerary

Getting to Sai Kung Pier: From Choi Hung MTR Station to Clear Water Bay Road; outside Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre, take Green Mini Bus 1 to the pier (departs every 15 min, 25min ride)

Getting around Sai Kung: Public buses run on a sporadic schedule (especially on weekdays). The most efficient way to get around is via a taxi, which is affordable especially if you split the cost amongst friends. Flagging one down in Sai Kung town is easy but if you’re outside the town area, you’ll need to phone taxi companies to make a booking (+852 23830168)

Itinerary 1: MacLehose Trail Hiking Adventure (麥理浩徑)

The 100km MacLehose Trail comprises 10 sections running through Hong Kong’s New Territories and is one of the most popular hikes in the country. It’s a long route, so most travellers only hike a part of it on a single trip.

Sai Wan (西環) Beach Hike

Sai Wan Hike Peak - Sai Kung ItineraryThe Sai Wan Beach Hike (2km) is within Stage Two of the trail with beautiful views at the peak and leads to a white-sand beach with uninterrupted ocean views.

Sai Wan Pavilion - Sai Kung Itinerary

The mini bus no. 29R from Sai Kung Bus Terminus takes you to Sai Wan Pavilion (30mins), where you start the hike.

From Sai Wan Pavilion (西貢西灣亭), hike 30 minutes to the peak via Lo Tei Tun, then another 30 minutes down to the beaches. The terrain here is soil-based and could be slippery in wet weather, so wear proper shoes. We advise against hiking here on a rainy day!

Sai Wan Beach View - Sai Kung ItineraryFor a longer hike, you can opt for the Tai Long Wan (大浪灣) Route Hike (8km), which is an extension of the Sai Wan Beach Hike. Instead of finishing your hike at the beaches, continue walking along the trail, and you’ll face a gentle ascent up to another viewpoint of Ham Tin Wan (鹹田灣), Tai Wan (大灣) and Sharp Peak (蚺蛇尖). Hike back down and you’ll get to Ham Tin Wan (another beach), with restaurants around for a quick recharge.

Hiking enthusiasts can start the day early and go for the Peninsular Hike instead, which is one of Sai Kung’s longest hikes (8 hours)! But it’ll take you to the best views around, including High Island Reservoir and Long Ke Wan.

Starting point:
 Sai Wan Pavilion. Take Bus R29 in front of McDonald’s at Sai Kung Pier (Google Maps)
Return route: In good weather, take a boat transfer from Sai Wan beach back to Sai Kung Pier. Or walk back to Sai Wan Pavilion and take Bus R29.


Read also: 9 Lesser-Known Sights in Hong Kong for the Adventurous

Surf on Sai Kung’s Waves 

Surfing in Sai Kung - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @ed.yip via Instagram

Surf shops are available along the beaches, so pop by any one of them to rent your boards, or book yourself a surf lesson in advance. The waves here are not the easiest to manage, so it’s best to go with a guide if you’re a beginner!

Best time to surf: Oct – Dec (but available all year)
Where to surf: Sai Wan beaches (most convenient, best for beginners), Tai Wan (most consistent surf breaks), Ham Tin (smaller waves, but break closer to the shore)

Itinerary 2: Beach Hikes & Cliff-jumping

Sai Wan Hike (passing by Sai Wan Village)

Sai Wan Hike Beach - Sai Kung Itinerary

From Sai Wan Pavilion (see #1), hike through the MacLehose Trail (40 minutes) to Sai Wan Village and Beach. Local shops and residences are scattered around the area.

Cliff-jumping at Sheung Luk Stream (雙鹿石澗)

Sheung Luk Stream Cliff Jump - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @3ttimi via Instagram

After enjoying the beaches, walk down until you see a stone bridge at the far corner, which is where Sheung Luk Stream is located. You’ll be greeted by a ‘Caution: Deep Waters’ sign, so proceed carefully as you get up to the cliff-jump spot (8m high!).

Climb further up to the freshwater pools and waterfalls where you can start your jump. The whole area’s good for relaxing as well, so pack some food for a picnic and chill the afternoon away.

Best time to cliff-jump: Jun – Sep (summer). Don’t visit when it’s rainy because tides will rise and the path up becomes dangerously slippery.

Ham Tin Beach (鹹田灣)

Ham Tin Beach View - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @adelinegjerlaugsen via Instagram

The Ham Tin Beach is not only known to be one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful beaches, but it’s also small and secluded, and almost feels like a private beach.

Ham Tin Wan Campsite Sai Kung - Hiking trails in Hong Kong

Here, tents and camping equipment (sleeping bags, kerosene for campfire, etc.) are also available for rent at On Kee Store or Hoi Fung Store, so you can even choose to spend the night under the stars! The restaurants also serve up affordable local cuisine (from HK$50).

You can also set up camp at Tai Long Wan beach, beside Ham Tin beach. Walk across the bridge, past the restaurants and local homes, and you’ll reach Tai Long Wan, which is more camping-friendly and popular with advanced surfers.

Opening hours: 7:30AM – 8PM
How to get there: From Sheung Luk Stream, take the stairs back down to MacLehose Trail 2. Keep walking for ~1.6km and make a right to Ham Tin Beach (Google Maps)

Itinerary 3: Land & Sea Adventure

Kayaking/Mountain-Biking Expedition

Kayaking with Klook at Sai Kung - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: Klook

Sai Kung’s best sights can be experienced on both land and sea via kayaking and/or biking. Start your day by renting a bike from the pier. You can cycle around Sai Kung Pier, or further out to the famous Hexagonal Rocks and landmarks of the UNESCO Global Geo-park.

Alternatively, go for a short kayaking expedition around the Global Geo-park’s caves, rock formations and cliffs. Row off from Sha Ha Beach, which is conveniently located at the end of the Sai Kung waterfront promenade. Or Hoi Ha Wan, a marine-park beach — spot starfish and corals from the surface!

If you prefer navigating the waters with a guide, day tours are available too.

 Sun Ping Bicycle Co (prices vary)
Kayak: Blue Sky Water Sports Centre (from ~HK$150)

*Pro-tip: Call to make reservations three days in advance, especially for bike rentals, because the shops have to transport the bikes from the city to Sai Kung itself.

Itinerary 4: Enjoy Sai Kung via a Boat Tour 

Boat Tour Passenger - Sai Kung Itinerary

Local operators at Sai Kung Pier offer boat tours to take you around the best sights… without any hiking! While most won’t allow you to get off so you can only view the sights from the boat, some will drop you off at Sharp Island.

Hexagonal Pillars Close Up - Sai Kung Itinerary

Probably Sai Kung’s most unique natural feature — unique hexagonal rock formations from past volcanic activity! It can be found everywhere, including the famous East Dam Reservoir (next point). The Geopark Boat Tour will take you to some spots, though you can also see them by taking a taxi to the reservoir.

Itinerary 5: High Island East Dam Reservoir

High Island East Dam Reservoir (萬宜水庫東壩)

High Island East Dam Reservoir - Sai Kung Itinerary

Part of Stage One of the MacLehose Trail and standing as the largest reservoir in Hong Kong, the High Island East Dam Reservoir is a must-visit when in Sai Kung. It’s famous for being the only place accessible by foot to see the famous volcanic hexagonal pillars.

High Island East Dam Geo Trail Hike up - Sai Kung Itinerary

The High Island Geo-Trail takes 1 hour and is a scenic walk around the reservoir. It’s also actually possible to hike from Sai Kung Pier itself: take bus 94 from the Sai Kung Bus Terminus to Pak Tam Chung, then hike 9km along Tai Mong Tsai Rd and Sai Kung Man Kee Rd, following the MacLehose Stage One trail to the East Dam.

Alternatively, a taxi takes 25 minutes from Sai Kung Pier, but make sure you have a number to book another taxi on the way back.

Sai Kung Astropark (萬宜水庫天文公園)

Sai Kung Astro Park - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @chokiecheng via Instagram

Hong Kong’s first public stargazing facility, the Sai Kung Astropark is split into three zones: the educational zone (with a mini planetarium for learning), the Naked-Eye Observation Area (with benches for stargazing — romantic!), and the Telescopic Observation Area (with binoculars, star-trackers and telescopes for closet astronomers).

How to get there: Take a 10min taxi from High Island East Dam Reservoir. It’s located inside the Chong Hing Water Sports Centre (Google Maps)

Itinerary 6: Beach Hopping 

Half-Moon Bay (廈門灣泳灘), Kiu Tsui (橋咀泳灘) and Sharp Island (橋咀洲)

Sharp Island Aerial View - Things to do in Hong Kong

Photo credit: @huntressharriet via Instagram

The famous Sharp Island is home to two famous beaches — the Kiu Tsui Beach and Half Moon Bay (Hap Mun Bay) Beach. Both beaches have basic amenities — kiosks selling food, BBQ pits, shower/toilet facilities, etc.

Sharp Island Kiu Tau Islet Tombolo - Sai Kung Itinerary

Sharp Island Tombolo!

Kiu Tsui Beach, the larger of the two, is where travellers go to see the iconic tombolo (natural landform) that connects to the Kiu Tau Islet. You can even walk over the tombolo during low tide (usually before 12PM), which makes for great pictures.

Sai Kung Hap Mun Bay - Sai Kung Day Trip

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Half Moon Bay Beach is more known for swimming in clear, blue waters against mountainous views and rock formations.

To get from Kiu Tsui Beach to Half Moon Beach, either hike (1.6km, about 1 hour) over a hill or wait for the boat transfer to arrive again. We recommend the hike because it’s scenic and mostly well-paved with staircases.

How to get there: By 15min boat transfer from Sai Kung Pier. Boats to Sharp Island will first stop at Kiu Tsui Port, then at Half Moon Bay Pier (Google Maps)

Long Ke Wan Beach (浪茄灣)

Long Ke Wan - Sai Kung Day Trip

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you have time for only one beach, head to Long Ke Wan Beach. It’s less populated than the others and has no facilities (but that’s part of the magic!), so stock up with water and snacks at Sai Kung Pier before heading over. This beach doubles up as a campsite, so bring camping equipment if you wish to spend the night.

How to get there: From High Island East Dam Reservoir, walk 1.5km (20mins) through the park on the MacLehose Trail to Long Ke Beach (Google Maps)

Trio Beach (三星灣泳灘)

Trio Beach - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @whyyywong via Instagram

The Trio Beach is a recent discovery secluded and hidden from the tourist’s eye. It offers clean, soft, sand great for sunbathing and clear waters for swimming, with Clearwater Bay on the horizon.

There are small kiosks and toilet facilities available but do bring your own food. Note that this beach can’t be accessed straight from Sai Kung Pier, unlike the others.

How to get there: Take Bus 92/792M from Sai Kung Bus Terminus to Tai Chung Hau, then walk 300m on Che Keng Tuk Road towards Sai Kung International Pre-School. Turn right to the start of the 3km trail. Alternatively, take bus 92/792M or Mini-Bus 1/1A to Pak Sha Wan bus stop. Walk towards the pier, and take a sampan boat.

Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park (海下灣)

Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park - Sai Kung Day Trip

Photo credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

A protected area and home to more than 120 types of corals, Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park is a great place to snorkel. Underwater, look out for parrot fish, clownfish and even octopus. Snorkel equipment can be rented (prices vary) from the Hoi Ha Village.

Kayaking at Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @angelawong_2015 via Instagram

If being above water is more your flow, rent a kayak at the village or go stand-up paddling to explore the area. Water sports here are easy because there are no waves — the bay is walled up on all sides.

After the activities, kick back and relax at Hoi Ha Wan Beach, or take a stroll in the village and get some snacks from local vendors.

How to get there: Take Green Minibus 7 from Sai Kung Pier and alight at Hoi Ha Village (Google Maps)

Itinerary 7: Camp Overnight at Sai Kung

Camping with Klook at Sai Kung - Things to do in Hong Kong

Photo credit: @bhoomer via Instagram

Campsites are scattered all across the island for you to enjoy the Sai Kung outdoors overnight. The most popular and accessible include those at Ham Tin Beach, Tai Long Wan and Long Ke Wan.

Spend the day adventuring (hiking, swimming or beach hopping) before watching the sunset outside your tent. Cook a simple dinner over a campfire and some cold beers as you stargaze into the night. Next thing you know you’re waking up to a beautiful sunrise. Sounds like the perfect outdoor escapade to me!

If you’re hyped about camping but less into organising the nitty gritty (or lugging all the tools from home), go for a curated 2D1N camping experience because everything’s provided by the tour operator, like tents and cooking equipment.

Ham Tin Beach/Tai Long Wan Campsite
Camping equipment: Rental available at On Kee Store or Hoi Fung Store

Long Ke Wan Campsite
Camping equipment: Bring your own

Food in Sai Kung

Besides being an old town, Sai Kung is slowly transforming into a hipster enclave as well in terms of its F&B offerings. Treat yourself to a Western meal during the day, and then to a local seafood feast at night!

1) Loaf On Seafood Restaurant (六福菜館) — Michelin Star 

Loaf On - Hong Kong Itinerary

Famous for their Fried Tofu with Chili and Garlic, Fish Soup with Potatoes and Tomatoes and Fried Egg Noodle, Loaf On’s a little pricey (around ~HK$401 – HK$800) but worth the splurge for high-quality food.

Opening hours: 11AM – 10:30PM
Address: 49 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong (Google Maps)

2) Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant (全記海鮮菜館)

Chuen Kee Seafood - Things to do in Hong Kong

Photo credit: @iris_h62 via Instagram

An affordable alternative, tuck into fresh seafood at a rooftop terrace overlooking the sea at Chuen Kee Seafood. Must-tries: Australia lobster with cheese sauce and e-fu noodles, abalone in pepper and salt, steamed scallops with garlic.

Opening hours: 7AM – 11PM
Address: Chuen Kee Seafood, 53 Hoi Pong Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong (Google Maps)

3) Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant (勝記海鮮酒家)

Sing Kee Seafood - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @littlesmokee via Instagram

Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant is known for its unique methods of cooking abalone through deep-frying and traditional steaming. The restaurant’s three floors are all differently themed, so you’re in for a gourmet experience in style.

Opening hours: 11:30AM – 10PM
Address: 39 Sai Kung Tai Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong (Google Maps)

4) Ali Oli Bakery 

Ali Oli Bakery - Sai Kung Itinerary

Photo credit: @mandysoso419 via Instagram

Have brunch alfresco style at Ali Oli Cafe with a full English breakfast including coffee going for HK$99, or pies, pastries and buns for those packing to-go.

Opening hours: 8AM – 6PM
Address: G/F, 11 Sha Tsui PathHong Kong (Google Maps)

5) Little Cove Expresso

Little Cove Expresso - Things to do in Hong Kong

Photo credit: @kelculator via Instagram

Little Cove Expresso seems to have it all — the best coffee in Sai Kung, organic food and chic interior design. Try their organic scrambled eggs with avocado/rocket on sourdough and smoothie bowls!

Opening hours: 7:30AM – 6PM
Address: Shop 1 + 2, G/F, Siu Yat Building, Block A, Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung (Google Maps)


Ham Tin Beach - Beaches and Beyond in Hong Kong

Where should we stay near Sai Kung?
We stayed at Vega Suites at Tseun Kwan O and were only a 20-minute bus ride from Sai Kung Pier!

What should I bring?
For areas like the UNESCO Global Geopark, there aren’t any eateries there so pack lots of water and snacks to last the day. The Sai Wan beaches, fortunately, have food stalls but there’s hiking between beaches and having your hiking shoes on hand will make the journey a lot easier! And if you’re heading there during summer, pack ponchos, a portable fan, and sunscreen.

Do the more remote places only accept cash?
Some of the beach kiosks accept cashless payment options like AliPay but it’s always good to have sufficient cash on hand just in case.

When’s the best time of year to enjoy these outdoor activities?
Beach hopping is best enjoyed during spring and summer (March to August), while hikes are more enjoyable in the colder months (October to February). You can also double-check the weather during your trip with Hong Kong Observatory’s MyObservatory app. Get real-time weather updates via weather cameras all over the city! It snaps a shot every 5 minutes so you’ll know when the fog suddenly starts to clear up or if there’s incoming rain.

Is Sai Kung Worth the Trip?

Sai Kung Seaview - Sai Kung Itinerary

Personally, I’ve always wanted to dig out unexplored secret hidden enclaves in Hong Kong or the antithesis of what people know the city to be, and Sai Kung has given me all of it. I especially appreciated the peace and quiet while we were there, surrounded by nature and untouched beaches.

Sai Wan Hike Beach View Lookout - Things to do in Hong Kong

This precious seaside getaway is also empowered by ecotourism, where local businesses flourish. It’s killing two birds with one stone — being able to experience both the busy city life of Hong Kong and the more natural side that’s hidden from tourists, all just a few MTR stops apart. And unlike other countries, you don’t have to travel far distances to experience different landscapes in Hong Kong!

Want a chance to explore Sai Kung? Win a pair of return flight tickets to Hong Kong to kickstart your adventure! All you have to do is:

1) Follow @discoverhongkong and @thetravelintern on Instagram
2) Head to this Instagram post and tag your travel squad in the comments — multiple entries are welcomed

BONUS: Share this post on your Instagram story to double your chances ✌🏻 The Giveaway ends on 15 May 2024 — stay tuned for our Instagram story announcement the next day to find out if you’re our lucky winner!

Read also: 7D Hong Kong Itinerary

Know of more hidden gems to explore in Hong Kong? Share with us in the comments below!

This post was brought to you by Hong Kong Tourism Board.

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