As I pointed out in my previous article, Hong Kong is not just a bustling and dizzying super city but it also hides unspoilt areas where the nature is still the ruler. One of these places is Sai Kung, which I am going to write about in this article.
Sai Kung – 西貢
Sai Kung – always following Hong Kong standard – is a small town located in the north-west part of New Territories near the sea. Among Hong Kongers, it is famous for its hiking trails and its sinuous hills that descend into the sea creating dazzling sandy beaches. Unfortunately when I went there, I was not lucky enough to be able to have a nice hike around because it was winter but I could, at least, reward myself with a boat tour. Sai Kung also offers many different food choices, not just local cuisine but also thai, vietnamese and many others. So do not worry, you will be able to eat decently even in a town like this one.
Yeah, besides hiking trails and beaches, Sai Kung is also famous for its innumerable islands and isles surrounding the town. There are really many and some of them very special: one is used as golf field, one treasures an abandoned peculiar village,etc. There is nothing much going on in Sai Kung but it is perfect for one-day trip far away from chaotic city life and overhelming crowds, a common sight on Hong Kong island but less in this peaceful town.
I just advice you to wander around a bit to discover some picturesque corners that characterizes this sea town: long-forgotten and abandoned houses, cute local shops with the omnipresent dazzling chinese signs and the sea breeze that drifts you back in time when Hong Kong was not yet an international and big city but just a small fishing village, making you imagine how they used to lead their lives.
A Sai Kung’s landmark I really enjoyed was, without doubt, its huge temple just on the outskirts of the town near the town park. Again the temple is dedicated to Tian Hau, the fishermen-protecting deity, and it is obvious why here she is this worshipped. The inside is similiar to the other temples, with those whirl-shaped candels hanging from the ceiling and the colorful deities altars where people kneel in front of in order to pray.
Another perfect place to visit is the sea promenade just near the main bus station. Here you can have a peaceful stroll, passing through a big chinese-style gate until you reach 3 or 4 chinese restaurants in a row. There some sea monsters are displayed: huge fish – some were as big as me -, shellfish, etc If you happen to eat there, you can choose the fish you like the most and eat them – fair enough! Another not unusual sight are these old women selling their fish directly on their boats. You look at their stuff and if you want to look closer, u just ask her and she will come up showing you the super fresh food.
Sai Kung And Its Isles
When you are in Sai Kung, you cannot miss a nice boat tour around the islands. Since it was winter and we did not have much time as it gets dark at 6, we opted for the shorter trip. We chose Fei Po Company, which means the Fat Woman in cantonese and the price was more or less 5 euros/USD. This trip just allows you to get off at two islands but if you happen to visit this town in summer, I suggest you to take the longer route so that you can explore more and exploit Hong Kong sandy and dazzling beaches.
The boat drivers were really weird, the weirdest I have ever seen! They were, indeed, fat women (I guess this is why they called it Fat Woman Company) and they were always shouting and speaking ahah One of them even picked up the phone while driving, as if she was like: “ehy beginners, look at me, I am old but I can bring around a boat and call altogether, I am a boss” ahaha a very nice experience!
Yim Tin Tsai – 鹽田仔
This island is really special because of its interesting history that still lingers around. There is nothing much to do here but this place catches your attention as soon as you set your feet here. It is totally abandoned and there are relics of church and catholic stuff everywhere. I, later apprended, it was a small village that was founded by Hakka people coming from a place near Shenzhen, Yan Tian, where the island itself takes the name from.
Their main source of income was farming salt fields, the smallest in Hong Kong at that time. In the 19th century they were baptised and converted to catholicism thanks to an Austrian missionary. The crumbling houses that can be found here are a mix of european style with chinese patterns like dragons and such.
It is the only place that I came across in Hong Kong that is not inhabited, well actually just one person lives there and he even has a speaking parrot ahah Besides these ruins and a small white church shining under the rays of the sun, there is nothing else just nature. Here nature rules over anything else. Despite the fact it is almost deserted, you can find a street vendor selling Fishballs at the cheapest price on the market or so said my boyfriend ahah
Sharp Island – 橋咀洲
Sharp island is bigger than Yim Tin Tsai and is provided with two charming beaches. I could get to visit one during the boat tour, the Kiu Tsui Beach, facing Sai Kung. According to a information sign on the beach, it seems in Sai Kung there was a volcano and the island was located on its caldera. This is the main reason why you can find pecualiar volcanic rocks on the beach, it is even prohibited to bring one away otherwise you will be fined.
The beach is long and sandy, an unusual sight in my birthplace. I am sure in summer it is filled with people and impossible to find a free place to sit down but when I visited there, I could not imagine such chaos. It was so peaceful and the nice marine breeze through my hair relaxed me…eveything was beautified with the sight of a fire-like sunset, such beautiful way to end a special day.
According to the tides the beach can also be connected to the small isle facing Sharp Island but unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to witness this. Throughout the years, the sea current pushed sand near the shore creating a tombolo but is visible and also walkable when there are low tides.
Breathtaking View From A Secret Place
I do not know if my information source wants me to leak this info or not but anyway even if he wanted, I would not be able because I still yet to understand where it is. I just tell you one hint: it is in the area of Hong Kong island called mid-levels. We had to trespass a government-owned land and climbed over fences, we also got lost in the middle of the wood but we managed to reach the top. I was even wearing a long skirt, I really do not know how I could manage ahaha but all the efforts were paid once reached the top!
A sight like this you do not get to see everyday, it was really breathtaking, it was like I was the queen of the world. Being able to observe Hong Kong island and the Kowloon Bay in one gaze made me feel excited. I have never witnessed such beautiful sight in my whole life: sun was setting down, the twilight and the dark was drawing in enhancing the colorful lights of the countless skycrapers and the impressive boat traffic in the harbour. Impossible to describe this image by using words or photos, you have to be there to fully understand.
Have you ever been to Sai Kung? Did you enjoy visiting there? What are your favourite places in Hong Kong? Let me know your opinions in the comment section below 😉 Stay tuned, I am gonna write more about Hong Kong in my next articles 😉
Where is Sai Kung?