Updated: Dec 4, 2019
This is one of my favourite hikes to one of my favourite beach situated in north-east Sai Kung. This place is a complete opposite with everything Hong Kong is renowned for, skyscrapers, neon lights, crowds. This little paradise has soft white sands, crystal clear waters, lush surroundings and mountain peaks and range!
There are four beaches along the bay
Sai Wan (West Bay)
Ham Tin Wan
Tai Wan (Big Bay)
Tung Wan (East Bay)
How to get to Tai Long Wan
The easiest way would be to take a boat ride from Sai Kung town (cost bout 150-200hkd depending on supply & demand) or if you want to do some hiking, start your journey from Sai Kung town center, grab the green taxi, it will cost about 100hkd to the Sai Wan Pavillion
or if you have a car, you could drive all the way to the entrance of the Sai Kung Park, park at the free parking and either take a taxi to the Sai Wan pavilion or do the arduous hike. You may need to wait for a while for the taxi and the walk towards the pavilion is unshaded and hot! If you come during the weekend, chances to get an empty space would need a strike of luck! So go early!
Difficulty of the hike
The hike from the Sai Wan pavilion down to the beach is relatively easy. The nature park department has upgraded the path and it is downhill on a paved road for about 1km until you reach a long flight of stairs, cross roads between different options you could take leading to the beach!
After the flight of upward stairs, it is another downhill track, all the way, until you reach a flat area, passing through mangroves on the right and organic farming on the right and once you see the eatery, you have arrive! It takes only about 45 min max! There are butterflies, dragonflies, stick insects, birds, flowing streams, and sights of the turquoise high reservoir all along this short hike! It is idyllic and breathtaking.....provided the day ain't so hot!!
You could either return from the way you came and hike back to the Sai Wan Pavilion or nature park car park or, I reckon the best option buy a boat ride back to Sai Kung town! This return league home promises some magnificent views of the rock formations in the UNESCO geo park, namely the hexagonal rock columns produced by a series of violent volcanic eruptions in Sai Kung 140 millions years ago & a bumpy ride! 140million years ago!! WHAT!!
Remember there is only one boat on weekdays and probably 2 or 3 in the weekends, so it is always advisable to buy the tickets ahead to secure a space, as the speed boat can only load a max of 22 pax! It cost 150-200HKD, for one trip!
What to do to waste the day away
There are so many things you could do in the area, beach hopping, rent a body board or surf board, sunbath, crab hunting or chose to explore the rock pools.
Sai Kung Rock Pools
This was the highlight of my trip & truly worthwhile! At the other end of Sai Wan beach (beach 2), up the greenery, there is a little Sheung Luk stream flowing to meet the sea. It you hike a few hundred meters up, you will come to the pools.
The pools are a deep turquoise, reflecting the lush greenery of the area. Water is crystal clear, refreshing and filled with fish in the pools.
Track to the pools
There is a small unassuming path from the beach, if you miss it, before you come to the little narrow bridge towards Ham Tin beach, make a left. The are buffalos all around the area, they were abandoned by their owners when the reservoir was built. Don't get too worried when you see the gang of buffalos, they don't bite!
Word of caution : The pools are best known for it's glorious beauty and notoriously known for a cliff jumping spot! The track up to the pool, I must say is demanding. The rocks are sharp and the distances to each step is uneven and slippery! At some parts you can be scrambling or slipping on the rocks. As some of the stream water flows on the rock path too, it can be slippery!
I would rate this short hike to the pools a 5/5 level of difficulty! Be prepared and if you are not up to it, don't do it!
When you arrive, the water is so inviting that you must dip yourself in it and swim with the abundant fish! Do it at the shallow area of the pool, however the rocks are mossy and very slippery, it will be difficult to pull yourself up. If it has been raining heavily for the past week or few days, I would advise not to swim in the highest pool as the under-currents could be strong......and I wouldn't suggest cliff jumping either simple due to the fact that if anything happens to you, due to the steep and narrow terrain of the area, even a heli-rescue would be a tough call! Recently 2 people were drowned and back in 2011, a cliff jumper hit his head on the rock and died.
Be mindful and know your limits!
The name of these pools in Chinese is the 4 cascading pool 四疊潭 are a real gem! We had a picnic on one of the rocks and had a nice dip in the pool to cool down the muscles. Note of caution, the rocks in the pools are filled with moss and are very slippery, you may need to hoist your way up!
After a refreshing beer and some food to eat at the beach-front char-chan-tang type of food, we waited for our boat ride.
This boat ride back to Sai Kung town is truly an adventure of it's own! It is bumpy and picturesque ride to civilisation, hold on tight to your cameras and be prepare for the occasional sea water splash!! The 30minute boat ride back is truly rewarding passing through magnificent rock formation, blow holes, islands, mountain peaks, reservoir, golf club, fish farm, island cemetery and smell of hell notes ash in the air and mighty Ma On Shan at the backdrop, what such a great way to end the journey to the wilderness in this concrete jungle!!