After a few days in busy Hong Kong, we found it hard to believe that a peaceful bohemian paradise was just a half hour away.
But it was. Located less than two miles (three kilometers) southwest of Hong Kong is Lamma Island, a community that’s home to hipsters, creative types and free-spirited expats from around the world. Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, we couldn’t wait to experience this likeminded place with beautiful beaches, waterfront seafood restaurants and a laid-back vibe that shows a drastically different side of Hong Kong. (It’s so different, in fact, that only service vehicles are allowed on the island.)
The day we visited, we got a slow start and took the ferry to Yung Shue Wan, the larger of two ferry ports on Lamma Island.
Just 30 minutes later, we pulled up to the tiny land mass, which was once a traditional Chinese fishing village.
We started our afternoon by wandering down the island’s quaint main street, past restaurants, boutiques and small markets.
After a 20-minute walk, we ended up at Hung Shing Yeh, the most popular beach on the island. We laid out a sarong and relaxed for a while in the shade.
We had a flight to catch that evening, but had we not, we would have continued on the Lamma Island Family Hiking Trail, which extends across the entire island. The trail, which starts just past Hung Shing Yeh beach, takes only a couple of hours to complete and ends at Sok Kwu Wan village. From there, visitors can take the ferry back to Hong Kong or hop on the Ling Kok Shan Hiking Trail, which winds through more of the island’s villages, beaches and vistas.
The island can easily be enjoyed in a half day, but you could also spend a full day hiking and relaxing on the beach. We especially enjoyed being there in the afternoon during golden hour and watching the sun set over the water as our ferry headed back to Hong Kong.
Getting to Lamma Island from Hong Kong: Go to the Central Ferry Terminal #4 to take the ferry to Yung Shue Wan. Bring exact coin change for the turnstile or get coins from the change machine around the corner (the attendants can point you in the right direction). Ferries depart every 20-30 minutes and take about 30 minutes to reach Lamma Island.
Alternatively, you could take the ferry to the Sok Kwu Wan ferry terminal on the other, smaller side of Lamma Island. However, these ferries run less frequently, so check the schedule.