Hong Kong has 263 islands and Lamma Island is one of its biggest. The cool thing about this island is that it has a hiking trail that runs over the most beautiful areas of the island and even crosses a hill. The island has about 10 villages and is not all that touristy, which makes it exciting to be there. Cars are prohibited on the whole island and there aren’t any large roads. A bicycle is the best way to get by which keeps the island peaceful.
Lamma Island is home to a coal-fired power station which defines the appearance of the north-west part of the island. This huge complex with its three large concrete pipes, is a big contrast to the otherwise tranquil look of the island. The station provides power to the whole Lamma Island aswell as to Hong Kong Island. It does make sense to build this station here, as space in Hong Kong itself is limited.
There are many Westerners living on the island these days. Many of them are living a somewhat alternative lifestyle or like to live in Hong Kong but prefer to be in a more quiet area. It is also a bit cheaper to live here, compared to living in Hong Kong Island. The nature around here is very beautiful and at some parts, still relatively untouched. It seems like a great place to live.
It is quite easy to get to the island and also pretty cheap. Several ferries are going to, and from, 4 different towns on the island. I took the ferry from Central to Yung Shue Wan, which cost me 17 HKD. I then hiked to Sok Kwu Wan and took a ferry back to Central for 21 HKD. The whole trip cost me 38 HKD which is less than 4 euros.
The hike that I did is the most popular one and is called the Family Trail. It’s about 4 kilometers in length and runs along a cemented path the whole way. It passes a hill at some point and has some parts that are very steep. The trail is easy to follow as there are signs throughout the whole length of the route. Normally it would have taken about an hour to complete the trail and would be very doable but today it was about 33 degrees Celcius. I took a couple of rests along the way and completed the trail in about 2 hours.
Yung Shue Wan
The ferry landed me in Yung Shue Wan, which is the biggest town on the island and also the most touristy. The trail goes through the town for about 500 metres. Along the way, there are many restaurants and shops trying to sell all kinds of stuff. After passing the town it takes about 10 minutes to reach Hung Shing Ye Beach. It is too bad I didn’t bring any swimming clothes because at this point I could have used a refreshing dive in the ocean.
Just before reaching the end of the trail, I walked past one of the several Kamikaze Caves that are in this area. These caves are dug out by hand and there are several tales about them. The most common of the tales is that in World War 2, Japanese soldiers were hiding out in them. They waited out allied forces passing the island, heading for Hong Kong. The Japanese soldiers would then flee the cave and try to kill as much of the allies as possible, in kamikaze actions. The caves look a bit damp and dark today and are filled with water. Entering one of them doesn’t seem like the best plan.
Sok Kwu Wan
After having crossed the hill, I reached the town Sok Kwu Wan. In this town, there is basically one large street with many seafood restaurants and a couple of shops. It is a very relaxing place to get a meal, after completing the trail. Reaching the end of the trail felt like a big accomplishment, having done the whole thing in today’s exhausting weather. From Sok Kwu Wan, there are 2 ferry lines, one to Aberdeen and one to Central.
Going to Lamma Island has been the most fun activity I’ve done so far while being in Hong Kong. The island offers good food, great views, relaxation, a beach and much more for a very low price. It only costs 40 HKD to go back and forth, so you can’t really go wrong with it. A trip here is highly recommended but be prepared for an exhausting day if you’re going to do the trail on a summer day.