Magazine article Sunset

Hong Kong's Quiet Neighbor

Magazine article Sunset

Hong Kong's Quiet Neighbor

Article excerpt

Lamma Island and its fishing villages--just 50 minutes by ferry

My favorite view of Hong Kong is from the railing of a ferry. As we steam out from a Central District pier, the island's high-rise business district with its flashing neon, jostling crowds, and chockablock rows of gadget-stuffed shops gradually takes on a postcard quality. As much as I enjoy this bustling city, after a few days here I usually head for slower-paced Lamma Island.

Small, roadless, and carless, and home to only 5,000 people, Lamma Island is about as far from modern Hong Kong as you can get in a 50-minute ferry ride. The sprawling island, anchored by two small fishing villages and dotted with small vegetable gardens and rice paddies, is known for its sandy beaches, pleasant walking paths, and seafood restaurants edging the water at Sok Kwu Wan.

On weekends and holidays, ferries are jammed with beachgoers and hikers. To miss most of the crowds, plan your trip for a weekday. For ferry schedules, contact a local office of the Hong Kong Tourist Association.

THE BEACHES

When daytime temperatures and humidity begin to climb in April, visitors head for one of two beaches near Sok Kwu Wan. Take bottled water and, if you plan to swim, a towel and sunscreen.

My favorite beach--Lo So Shing--is a roughly 30-minute walk across the island's narrow spine. This clean white-sand beach with a lifeguard April to October is also known as Ngong Kwai Wan (upturned turtle beach).

To get there from the ferry pier in Sok Kwu Wan, turn right past restaurants and a temple on the edge of the village. …

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