If you enjoyed Lamma Island you may also be interested in checking out Cheung Chau, a small island with a traditional fishing village turned into a popular daytrip holiday destination.
Compared to Lamma, Cheung Chau has a more local atmosphere and a stronger Chinese identity, with the western-style coffee shops and wine bars found in Lamma replaced by traditional Chinese shops and local restaurants. Like Lamma, highlights of a daytrip here are strolling through the island, soaking up sun at the beach and eating fresh seafood at the seafront restaurants. I ate lunch at one of those crowded restaurants and found the food surprisingly good and reasonably priced. If you come here hungry you'd better like Chinese food since the only western restaurants I spot were a coffee shop and a McDonald's.
Of the two islands I liked Lamma better because of the international atmosphere. For a traditional Chinese experience you may want to come here though.
Cheung Chau is easily reached via ferry from Honk Kong's Central Piers in about the same time needed to get to Lamma (~30/60 minutes fast/regular ferry).
Lamma Fun Day is a family-oriented festival that is held each fall. It is a great way to spend a day away from the hustle bustle of Hong Kong.
Activities include face painting, games for children, a volleyball tournament, live music and a market area where locals sell handmade crafts and secondhand goods. There are also food and drink vendors in case you get hungry. Proceeds from Lamma Fun Day benefit local charities.
Make sure your bring your suncreen... the sun can be intense even in November. It may even be warm enough for a swim, so consider bringing a swimsuit as well.
Check the Lamma Fun Day website for the date and location of this year's festival.
You will see Tin Hau tepmle near pier in Sok Kwu Wan village, right after the restaurants (or before if you come from opposite direction). Its history dates back to 1826 when it was built and laters, in 2004 has been restored after fire. It is small building and it keeps rather modest facade with distingushed Chinese architecture and details.
Temple is dedicated to Tin Hau, the protector of fishermen as there used to be fishing village in Sok Kwu Wan before.
It looks idyllic here (at Hung Shing Yeh beach) - as long as your view is oriented toward Mount Tei Tong. And it does invite you to sit on the rock or lay on the sand... even if it's not too hot like it was those days in end of February. Then it was not too cool to get shoes off and soak feet in water.
But then you have this huge power plant on your right and it doesn't look so nice anymore. It makes you move and walk further, and yes... there are lot nicer views further along the path from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan. But it is interesting, indeed. So contrasty, right?
This beach is on one third of the sighteeing route at Lamma island.
You enter or depart Lamma from this village in secluded bay, surrounded by rather steep slopes covered by forest. Its name in English means 'Picnic bay' and it is on the eastern side of the island. You can have very good view from the 'sightseeing' trail towards the village from the hill opposite to Sok Kwu Wan.
Here there are plenty of excellent fish and seafood restaurants, with picturesque views of live animals in aquarium. It is also large fish farming site in waters of this quiet bay here, said to be the largest one in Hong Kong.
If you just came from Yung Shue Wan by foot you'll pass small and nice Tin Hau temple from 1826 in the edge of village. Nearby there are also 'kamikaze caves' used by Japanese soldiers during the war, maybe worth to take a look - or not, I don't know since I didn't take a look myself as it was getting late already.
Lamma island is quiet and pleasant place, and as such has this beautiful laid back feel. It is no strange that many foreign people decided to stay here.
Regular ferry service will take you from Sok Kwu Wan to Central (Pier 4) in 30 minutes or so, but you can as well get from here to Aberdeen.
For more info on Lamma you can check this web site here:http://www.lamma.com.hk/ - there are also ferry schedules here.
Other good site on Lamma will be: http://www.hongkongextras.com/lamma_island.html
Plenty of excellent fresh seafood here to find near both ferry stations on Lamma island - of course if you like that food, this will be heaven to you. Must try!
But other than that... fauna in aquaruim looks quite wild and colorful. Lobsters grow large here and there are plenty of different shells in variety of size and shape. There are both local and foreign seafood to display - and to eat.
Lots of restaurants are one next to another and they all seem to have more or less the same 'stuff' so it perhaps doesn't matter where you sit down. We let ourselves persuaded by one man from his restaurant, ordered grilled squid and enjoyed.
Actually, it's not bad idea to come hungry here then... you may eat at the begining of the sightseeing trail at Yung Shue Wan and then in the end at Sok Kwu Wan as well... after you have hiked through Lamma.
Make sure you allow yourself fair amount of time before you catch next ferry (if you're not staying at the island) as it would not be fair to hurry when eating this delicious and precious food.
From Yung Shue Wan Pier, we ate breakfast at sampan seafood restaurant and it was really good food. After breakfast me and my family went to Sok Kwu Wan Pier by walking/hiking (1 1/2 hrs walk), it was our first experience for my family and you will never get bored because of the better views of the island and good trails, you will never get lost. When we arrived at Sok Kwun Wan Pier, it was 1pm, again we ate our lunch at rainbow seafood restaturant and took the free ferry boat going back to central pier.
I was quite surprised to have seen this windmill, the only one in Hong Kong I think. It reminds me of my VT Ilocos trip back in the Philippines. The view of Lamma winds from the Pavilion is great, including the sorrounding seas and the neigboring islands.
From Central Pier 4, we took the ferry to Yung Shue Wan, 11Am schedule. I suggest you start early for this trip....
--->upon arrival, we had luch in a good inexpensive chinese restaurant (name written in chinese, sorry) in YSW...
--->continue walking by following trail, passing by Tai Yuen Village then turn left to reach Lamma Winds - the only one in Hong Kong...
---> reaching Lamma Winds, take a rest at the Pavilion, admire the views and take pictures...
---> retrace steps and turn left to go Hung Shing Yeh Beach...
---> from the beach, follow a coastal path (Family trail) on this peaceful traffic-free island going to Sok Kwu Wan...
---> reaching the top of the hill, you have time to admire the views over Lamma and other Outlying islands...
---> continue walking and pass by the tranquil Lo So Shing Village....visit Lo So Shing Gift Shop...
---> then drop by WWII Kamikaze tunnels built by the Japanese...
---> take a rest at the Pavilion and admire the views of SKW and the quiet Lamma Fisherfolk's Village...
---> continue walking till you reach the village...Tin Hau Temple greets you here...
You can take the ferry back to Hong Kong in SKW pier, but we opted to go back to YSW to have our dinner at a Turkish restaurant, as promised to one of its friendly owners. It was worth it because we were able to catch the beautiful sunset while hiking back to SKW, and the pizza we had was a reward after an all-day hike.
What : Kamikaze Caves, Lamma Island
No guidebook writer would ever recommend that you visit the kamikaze caves on Lamma Island. Afterall, they are dark, dank and a little spooky. But these caves houses an enormity of sad secrets and history that even the locals have forgotten.
A quick check on the various websites showed superficial descriptions on the caves - while its existence is acknowledged, many believed that the caves were dug by the Japanese themselves and that the soldiers later took their own lives in the caves.
The truth was far more poignant - The caves were dug by the local Lamma residents themselves by orders from the Japanese troops. And after they hallowed out the caves from solid rock, they were later killed to ensure secrecy.
When you get off the ferry at Yung Shue Wan look to the left and you'll see O Tsai Fishing Village. Turn left towards the library and follow the signs to the Pavilion. You walk past the library and go up some steps and actually walk through a narrow passage way which cuts right through the fishing village. The locals don't seem to mind too much and it's interesting to look inside their homes (not too obviously though). Life must be hard for these families - the homes seem rather basic.
I've spent many hours painting watercolours of the houses and boats in the village and they recognise me now. Spot the difference in colours in one of the houses - it used to be a beautiful blue and now it's completely different! There's a small temple on the rocks opposite the village. The harbour is actually the typhoon shelter for Lamma and when it's a T8 the harbour fills up with boats very quickly.
They built a small pavilion about 18 months ago and you get spectacular views of Lantau and Cheung Chau when it's a clear day. It's great to sit and watch the sunset from there.
If you would like to see a different Hong Kong, Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island is well worth visiting for the day but not at the weekends - the island seems to be overrun by locals who come over for a day's "hiking"! There are many restaurants as you walk along the Main Street - just a few minutes walk from the Ferry Pier. If you're coming over in the morning, have dim sum at the Sampan. Or try the Lancombe for fresh seafood. If you want good organic vegetarian food, try out the salads or breakfasts at the Bookworm Cafe. This is very close to the Tin Hau Temple.
There are no cars on Lamma and no high rises. It's quiet and such a contrast to Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. Watch out for the village vehicles and the island ambulances and fire cars!
The main beach is about 20 minutes walk and it's quiet during the week. At the weekend it's very busy and full of families and young people having barbecues in the special areas. Carry on walking and you can enjoy beautiful views. You can walk to the other side of the island and then catch a ferry back to Central.
It's best to do the walk in spring when it's cooler. It gets very hot and humid in the summer. Make sure you're fit as there's quite a lot of uphill walking.
If you walk along the small jetty beside the Lamcombe Restaurant, you get an unusual view of Yung Shue Wan and the ferry pier. There are colourful boats tied up along the jetty and you can watch the locals coming in with their fishing catch (men, egrets and herons!). Have dinner at one of the restaurants along Main Street - sit outside and watch the sunset over Yung Shue Wan harbour.
Follow the marked walk (Family Trail) between the Yung Shue Wan ferry dock to Sok Kwu Wan Ferry dock.
This way is a bit steep in some places at the start but it offers some great views of the island and the prospect of a great seafood meal at the end.
The path is concreted throughout and very well signposted.
Just in case you drink all your water half way round, you will normally find a chap with iced drinks by some of the lookout pavillions en-route.
The trail is well signposted (Just follow the signs for Sok Kwu Wan - it even tells you houw long it would normally take - allow 90 mins or more for a leisurely stroll)
One of the most popular activities on Lamma is hiking. If you go on a Sunday or holiday you are likely to pass by lots of locals as you make your way down the path. The hiking trails on Lamma are actually paved sidewalks. The main path has some gentle inclines but no strenuous climbs. If you are feeling energetic, you can go onto side trails and climb one or both of Lammas two peaks. But you don't have to go to the peak to get great views of the island and the South China Sea.
The walk between Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan is an easy one, taking two hours or less if you go at a leisurely pace. This path is great for families, and is even stroller friendly. You can catch a ferry back to central from either city. As long as you are staying on the main path you can get by without a trail map, as there are signposts to help you navigate. If you are planning on going off the main path, a map is probably a good idea.