Sham Wan Beach on Lamma Island is best known as the only regular nesting site for Green Turtles in the South China Sea. From June 1 to October 31, this sandy beach is cordoned off and no visitors are allowed. And any illegal entry is liable to a maximum fine of HKD 50,000!
However, once the nesting period is over, this beautiful turtle beach is open to the public. Its remote location, soft white sand, and clear waters make it a perfect spot to spend a day relaxing. But to get there, you must hike.
Sham Wan Beach Hike
Here’s a quick breakdown of the hike in numbers (taken from Mo Tat Wan). The hike to Sham Wan Beach is really easy, and suitable for almost everyone.
And here’s a map of the hike for your reference. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn’t show the route to the beach. But don’t worry, it’s super simple and I’ll explain how to get to Sham Wan Beach without getting lost.
Main highlights of the hike.
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Although you can start this hike from Sok Kwu Wan, I would recommend starting from Mo Tat Wan. It would essentially save you 25 mins of additional walking. However, I will put down both options.
Mo Tat Wan
To get to Mo Tat Wan make your way to the Aberdeen Pier. Walk down till the end of the pier, past the one for Jumbo Restaurant, till you reach the fish market. The last pier before the fish market is for the kaito to Sok Kwu Wan via Mo Tat Wan.
The timetable for the kaito can be found on this website.
Sok Kwu Wan
Sok Kwu Wan is one of the two major piers on Lamma Island, and perhaps the easier one to get to for many. The ferry to Sok Kwu Wan departs from Central Ferry Pier 4, and the timetable can be found on this website.
Once you arrive at Sok Kwu Wan, turn left as you’re exiting the pier and walk along the trail for about 25 minutes till you reach Mo Tat Wan Village.
Mo Tat Wan To Yung Shue Ha
Assuming you arrive on the kaito to Mo Tat Wan, walk along the beach till you reach The Bay Restaurant. It’s hard to miss The Bay as it’s the only restaurant on the beach. If you’re here at lunchtime, I’d recommend grabbing a bite. The food is above average, but the view makes up for it.
Next to the restaurant, notice the stairs going up the hill. Take these stairs to get to Mo Tat Wan New Village. From the village, continue walking along the trail for another 25 minutes till you reach Yung Shue Ha Village. The trail is mostly flat with hardly any inclines.
However, just before you arrive at Yung Shue Ha, you’ll notice a row of abandoned houses. This row of early 19th century houses belonged to the “Chow” clan who moved from China to Hong Kong Island and then to Lamma Island. They were once the only inhabitants of this village.
Shortly after the houses, you arrive at Yung Shue Ha, and one of my favourite beaches on Lamma Island, Shek Pai Wan. This also happens to be the longest beach on Lamma Island and is really beautiful. Feel free to take a break, and simply chill on this beach for a while.
Once you’re done relaxing, continue to Sham Wan Beach.
Shek Pai Wan Beach to Sham Wan Beach
Walk along the beach till you reach the turn for Tung O Village. Walk through the village, till you reach a fork in the road. Don’t take the right turn that points to “Sok Kwu Wan”. That will take you on the circular hike route. Instead, walk straight along the path with the red emergency phone.
Walk along this flat path for another 10 minutes till you arrive at Sham Wan Beach.
Sham Wan Beach
The first thing that you notice as you approach the beach is the large warning sign about the restricted area next to the warden’s compound. Of course, we visited the beach in November, when it’s open to the public.
The beach itself is very picturesque. It is surrounded by hills on all sides, and even the mouth of Sham Wan Bay is cut off from sight. This makes it feel very secluded and remote. Its geographic layout is probably what makes the beach a safe haven for Green Turtles to lay their eggs.
The sand on the beach is extremely soft, and it’s long enough to find a perfect spot to relax. Fortunately, not too many people visit this beach. So, it remains quite peaceful. However, while we were at the beach, there was a junk boat anchored in the bay playing music. And then a few others came and left. But overall, it was a really relaxing experience.
Sham Wan Beach has also had unfortunate events with tons of trash washing up onto its shores. So, if you see any trash on the beach, pick it up and throw it in the bins. It’s one of the few rare beaches in Hong Kong with an ecological significance.
If you want to discover more marine wildlife in Hong Kong, we highly recommend a tour of the pink dolphins. These endangered pink dolphins live in the Pearl River Estuary and there is only one official operator that conducts these tours. You can read all about our experience in this blog.
Funnily enough, this beach often gets confused with Turtle Cove Beach on Hong Kong Island. Unfortunately, Turtle Cove does not have any turtles.
If you enjoyed this post on Sham Wan Beach, please feel to share it on the social media channel of your choice. And as always, you can learn more about the Green Turtles on the official AFCD website.