Sharp Island, or Kiu Tsui Chau (橋咀洲) in Cantonese, is an island located right off the coast of Sia Kung town. Its location makes it easily accessible by a 10-15 minute sampan boat ride, which has earned it the title of the most convenient Geopark attraction in Hong Kong.
Sharp Island first caught my attention when I read about it in a CNN article that featured it among the top underrated attractions in Asia. With beautiful beaches that offer some of the clearest water in Hong Kong, a relatively short hiking trail, and volcanic remnants, Sharp Island is a must-see attraction!
So, if you’re keen to learn more about Sharp Island and all that it offers, keep reading.
How to get to Sharp Island
As mentioned, Sharp Island is easily accessible by a 10-15 minute sampan boat ride. Tickets can be purchased from any one of the numerous boat operators on Sai Kung pier. Look for operators that have the words “Sharp Island”, “Kiu Tsui”, or “Hap Mun Bay” written on their boards.
Although there is no formal ferry schedule to Sharp Island, you can expect a departing sampan every 15-30 minutes from the Sai Kung public pier.
A return journey should cost between HK$30 to HK$40, depending on the season and which side of the island you’re trying to get to.
And that is the most important question, which side of the island or beach do you want to go to? To put it in another way, what is it that you’d like to do on Sharp Island?
Things to do on Sharp Island
Broadly speaking, there are two sides (or piers) on Sharp Island:
- Kiu Tsui
- Hap Mun Bay or Half Moon Bay
Kiu Tsui, in the north, is the side closer to Sai Kung town. It features a large beach with volcanic rocks and the famous Sharp Island tombolo that connects to Kiu Tau, the neighbouring islet.
Hap Mun Bay is further south and has a smaller but more beautiful beach with an attached camping site.
The island’s hilly terrain is occupied by the Kiu Tsui Country Park and a hiking trail that connects Kiu Tsui to Hap Mun Bay.
Given that there’s plenty to do on Sharp Island, it helps to plan your day. So, let’s dive into more detail on things do to on Sharp Island.
As you step off Kiu Tsui pier, you’ll notice two beaches on either side along with a refreshment kiosk, barbecue pits, changing rooms, shower facilities, and toilets.
But before you step off the pier, look for a pavilion on the right. Below the pavilion is a cluster of volcanic breccia and eutaxite rocks. And that essentially sets the theme for what to expect from Kiu Tsui.
Volcanic rocks at Kiu Tsui
The formation of the rocks, and presumably Sharp Island, dates back to the Cretaceous Period, about 140 million years ago. Take a walk along Kiu Tsui Beach and you’ll notice various igneous rocks, such as rhyolite and tuffite, that have been weathered over time.
The most interesting looking of the rocks is the quartz monzonite, which because of weathering, now resembles a pineapple bun, the local Hong Kong delicacy. The rock is referred to as the “pineapple bun rock“.
One of the most interesting depositional landforms on Sharp Island is the tombolo, which connects Kiu Tsui Beach to the islet of Kiu Tau.
Kiu Tsui Beach
Kiu Tsui Beach sits amidst rocks and the tombolo. The beach is split into two sides, with the pier in the middle. The left half of Kiu Tsui Beach has never looked very inviting to me.
Because Sharp Island is located in a bay, there aren’t any big waves on either of the beaches. Also, I think it is possible to snorkel and see corals further down the beach, past the tombolo. The water is usually very clear.
And in case you’re wondering, I believe it is possible to set up camp at the beach. However, keep in mind that there is a dedicated campsite at Hap Mun Bay.
Kiu Tau – Sharp Island Geo Trail
It’s quite interesting that Sharp Island itself is surrounded by seven islets – Kiu Tau, Pak Sha Chau, Tai Tsan Chau, Siu Tsan Chau, Cham Tau Chau, Yau Lung Kok and Tuen Tau Chau. But only Kiu Tau is connected to Sharp Island.
The islet of Kiu Tau is easily accessible via the tombolo during low tide. To check the tide level beforehand, visit the HKO website. The tide level needs to be below 1.4m.
The 200-metre-long tombolo is one of the most famous tombolos in Hong Kong. The natural sand levee is made up of rocks, pebbles and sediments transported and deposited by wind and waves over many years!
The tombolo also forms a crucial part of the Sharp Island Geo Trail. The 500-metre geo trail lies between Kiu Tsui Beach and the end of Kiu Tau.
As you walk on the tombolo, don’t forget to admire the pineapple bun rocks along the way. And when you reach Kiu Tau, on the other side of the tombolo, be sure to continue on the trail onto the islet.
Although there’s not much to see on the islet itself, it’s fun and easy to cross it. Towards the end of the Geo Trail on Kiu Tau, there is a picturesque viewing point that looks across Clearwater Bay.
From the lookout point, you can continue walking to the end of Kiu Tau, from where you can admire the lighthouse (Kiu Tsui Pai) and the boats passing through the channel.
Hap Mun Bay (Half Moon Bay)
On the south side of Sharp Island is the second pier, Hap Mun Bay, which is also popularly referred to as Half Moon Bay.
Keep in mind that if you’re getting dropped or picked up from Hap Mun Bay, the price of the sampan will be slightly higher.
Hap Mun Bay Beach and Campsite
In my opinion, Hap Mun Bay Beach is much prettier than Kiu Tsui Beach. It is also much smaller and can easily get very crowded over the weekends and holidays.
The water quality at the beach is also perfect for swimming and snorkelling. During my visits, I’ve always noticed people snorkelling to the left of the walkway towards the pier. Perhaps that’s where the corals are located.
There is also a small kiosk and toilets at the beach, next to the lifeguard station. And finally, behind the beach is a small campsite, with barbecue pits and seating areas.
Rock Pool at Sharp Island
For those of you who are extremely adventurous, it’s worth noting that there is a hidden rock pool next to Hap Mun Bay.
Unfortunately, there is no path to this hidden natural swimming pool on Sharp Island. I think there are only two ways to reach the rock pool, by kayak or by coasteering on the side of the island from Hap Mun Bay.
Or if you’re an advanced swimmer, maybe you could swim to it.
Sharp Island Hike – Kiu Tsui to Hap Mun Bay
My favourite part about Sharp Island is the hike between Kiu Tsui and Hap Mun Bay. The 1.6 km trail through Kiu Tsui Country Park is moderately easy with stunning vantage points of the surrounding hills and water!
Although the hike can be done in either direction, I prefer starting from Kiu Tsui. That’s because the views while descending into Hap Mun Bay are stunning!
The hike on Sharp Island is relatively straightforward and the trail is well maintained, meaning there is no chance of getting lost. But I still think it’s worth pointing out some of the key points of interest along with what to expect along the way.
The steps up from Kiu Tsui Beach
To start the hike, find the steps that are located at the end of Kiu Tsui Beach. There is a sign for Hap Mun Bay at the bottom of the steps.
After the two flights of steps, take a left U-turn and walk on the path parallel to the beach. At the end of the path begins the toughest part of the hike – a series of seemingly neverending steps!
My advice, when it comes to steps, is to take it slow and climb at a comfortable pace.
The undulating trail to the Kiu Tsui Viewing Point
At the end of the steps is a relatively flat trail. The initial section of the trail is shaded and with not much view of the sea.
It’s worth noting that this section of the trail runs under the highest point on Sharp Island, which is at 136 metres.
Further ahead, the shade along the undulating trail clears up, showcasing the views for the first time. From here on, you can admire the sea on both sides of the island.
Although it’s easy to get fascinated by the views, keep in mind the viewing point is still up ahead.
The Kiu Tsui Viewing Point
The Kiu Tsui Viewing Point on the Sharp Island hiking trail is a relatively large, bald flat spot that offers incredible panoramic views all around the island!
The location of the viewing point ensures that the sweeping views are completely unobstructed!
In the west, you can see Kau Sai Chau Golf Course, High Island Reservoir, and all the hills in Sai Kung Country Park.
And in the east, right in front is Kiu Tau. And beyond that, the beautiful hills in Clear Water Bay and Ma On Shan Country Park.
Take your time to admire the views from here, but just keep in mind that there is no shade available.
The climb to Hak Shan Teng
From the Kiu Tsui Viewing Point, the trail momentarily dips before arriving at a relatively steep incline.
Unfortunately, this time around there aren’t any steps to help with the climb. The rocky terrain of the trail helps with the footing.
Once the incline finishes at Hak Shan Teng, the highest point on the trail, you can breathe easy because it’s all downhill from here!
Downhill to Hap Mun Bay
I think that the views from Hak Shan Teng are much nicer. After all, it is roughly 30-40 metres higher than the Kiu Tsui Viewing Point.
The trail on top of the hill is relatively flat and unobstructed for a short distance before the steps downhill.
And from the steps begin the spectacular views of Hap Mun Bay. The steep hillside offers beautiful views of the beach and the bay below.
At the halfway point is a pavilion from where you can enjoy the views one last time. Because beyond that, it’s a short walk to the campsite behind Hap Mun Bay Beach.
I recommend taking the sampan to Kiu Tsui, hiking to Hap Mun Bay, and then returning to Sai Kung Pier from Hap Mun Bay.
And finally, here is an old video of mine of the hike on Sharp Island.
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Our Guide to Sharp Island, Sai Kung
We hope you found our guide to Sharp Island helpful. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit one of the islands in Sai Kung, we recommend starting with Sharp Island. There are plenty of things to do in Sai Kung from island hopping, hiking, and exploring the town to keep you coming back here!
And if you’re a fan of islands with a volcanic history, we highly recommend visiting Ma Shi Chau.
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