As travel restrictions keep us in Hong Kong for the time being, Chatteris’ own Samantha Meredith talks us through an idyllic seaside spot right on our doorstep.
They say to “never forget your beginnings”. I guess my family took this seriously, having lived in Sai Kung very briefly when I was a wee bab before moving to Kowloon, only to return a couple of decades later. Over the years, Sai Kung has grown from a quaint little village in Hong Kong’s New Territories to a bustling town with an abundance of things to do, see, and eat. Granted, it is a bit of a trek from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island, but as soon as you step off that mini-bus, you’re greeted with fresh sea air and chill vibes. Welcome to paradise!
Things to do
The first thing you’ll likely see is the waterfront promenade, which can get pretty busy. Sundays in particular are fun, as this is when residents parade their four-legged friends, in varying sizes and costumes, walking alongside the occasional wild – yet gentle – cow. You’ll also find a farmer’s market, where you can find fresh, locally grown produce as well as random trinkets that make for cool souvenirs. Along the promenade, there are numerous boat operators that are able to ferry you to various sightseeing spots at an affordable price, such as Sharp Island (to visit Kiu Tsui Beach or Hap Mun Bay) and Yim Tin Tsai (to see abandoned villages dating back to the 1740s).
As you walk in a northerly direction, you’ll find some guys in the water (it is actually rather shallow), from whom you can rent kayaks for the day. Kayaking is another great way to explore the many nearby islands around Sai Kung, and makes for a fun and active day out. If being active is your thing (kudos), you’re in luck — Sai Kung has lots of scenic hikes that’ll take your breath away, such as the MacLehose Trail (of which four of the ten sections are based in the area) and Sharp Peak (for the more experienced hikers among us).
Sai Kung also boasts some of the most gorgeous beach views in Hong Kong as well as clear waters that rival the Maldives. A taxi ride followed by a 30-minute to an hour-long stroll will lead you to beaches such as Tai Long Wan and Long Ke Wan, and the white sand combined with the secluded atmosphere make the journey worthwhile. If you feel like extending your experience, you also have the option of camping on the beach, whether you decide to bring your own gear or rent at Ham Tin, one of the four beaches that make up Tai Long Wan. If you do decide to keep it as a day-trip but the prospect of hiking all the way back after napping on the beach doesn’t entice you, worry not! There are boats that can bring you back to Sai Kung Town for a fee during the day.
Places to eat
Once you’re back to civilisation, chances are you’ll be feeling peckish from all the excitement. Fortunately, there is no shortage of selection when it comes to food, catering to all budgets, cuisines and diets. Here are some of my favourites:
- Zeugma (G/F, 74 Fuk Man Road) is a family-run Mediterranean restaurant, with food bursting with flavour at reasonable prices. I recommend trying their falafel wrap, with all the sauces. So good, and veggie-friendly!
- Burger Deli (G/F, 2 Ko Shing House, 9 King Man Street) has, arguably, the best burgers in all of Hong Kong. I’ve been visiting this family business for years, as they are consistently delicious and generously-sized, complete with lovely service. They also do hot dogs, onion rings… the works. For my veggie friends, the Impossible burger is indeed possible here!
- Saigon Pho (G/F, 16 Sai Kung Mansion, 42-56 Fuk Man Road) is amazing. I am a bit of an aficionado (a-pho-cionado?) when it comes to Vietnamese food, and although nothing could compare to actual Vietnam, I stand firm in my belief that this place has the very best.
- Momentai (Kiosk 1 Waterfront, Wai Man Road) is a place to chill and relax, as you take in the spectacular views and watch the world go by. With a delicious international menu (with veggie options such as Omnimeats too!) and a wide range of beverages, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
- 2084 (5 Sha Tsui Path) is a newer addition to Sai Kung, with a cool vibe as well as mouth-watering, plant-based offerings that’ll make even the carnivorous of your pals wanting more. Tasty and totally conscious! We love to see it.
The above is a mere fraction of what Sai Kung has to offer, with its nature, activities and eateries yet to be beaten in my eyes. Even though I’ve lived here for a few years now, I still feel like there’s so much more to explore. Feel free to drop me a line if you’re ever in the area – I’m always down to show people around!
Want to spend your weekends hiking, beaching and eating delicious food? Apply now to become a Chatteris Tutor.