Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung is home to Hong Kong’s most beautiful beaches, there’s no denying that. In fact, if someone ever tells you that Hong Kong doesn’t have beautiful beaches, show them the pictures below. With its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush surrounding mountains, Tai Long Wan is nothing short of paradise in a city synonymous with tall skyscrapers.
Tai Long Wan is highly regarded as the most beautiful location in Hong Kong. At certain points, we couldn’t agree if the scenery reminded us more of Thailand or Hawaii. But the beach hopping definitely reminded us of Menorca. Needless to say that this place is gorgeous!
About Tai Long Wan
Tai Long Wan literally translates to “Big Wave Bay”, which shouldn’t be confused with Big Wave Bay Beach on Hong Kong Island. This beautiful bay, popular with surfers and campers, is located in the eastern edge of Sai Kung Country Park.
Tai Long Wan isn’t the name of the beach, but the name of the bay, that is home to four breathtaking beaches –
- Sai Wan Beach,
- Ham Tin Beach,
- Tai Wan Beach, and
- Tung Wan Beach.
The 3 km long bay can be covered on foot, and beach hopping is not only possible, but also quite popular.
Here’s a quick tour of Tai Long Wan
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So then, how does one get to these beaches?
How to get to Tai Long Wan
First and foremost, you need to make your way to Sai Kung. Depending on your location in Hong Kong, there are plenty of ways to get to Sai Kung. I would advise that you look at Google Maps for the quickest way to Sai Kung from your location.
Once in Sai Kung, know that there are essentially two ways to get to Tai Long Wan.
- You can either hike from Sai Wan Pavilion, or
- Take a speedboat from Sai Kung pier.
Let’s discuss these options in greater detail.
Hike to Tai Long Wan from Sai Wan Pavilion
To start this hike, make your way to Sai Wan Pavilion. To get there you can take a green taxi from Sai Kung town (cost is approximately HKD 100), or catch village bus NR29 from in front of McDonald’s on Chan Man Street. Check the bus schedule on this website before you plan your trip because the bus frequency is limited.
At just over 2.5 kms, the hike from Sai Wan Pavilion to Sai Wan Beach is extremely easy and takes about 45 minutes to complete. The trail is well-paved and has a decent amount of shade along the way. It’s mostly downhill (except for a few steps), and runs along High Island Reservoir. On a clear day, the views of the country park and the reservoir are simply stunning.
Once you get to Sai Wan Pavilion, simply follow the signs to Sai Wan.
Speedboat to Tai Long Wan
You can also take a speedboat from Sai Kung pier to Sai Wan Beach or Ham Tin Beach. The price of a one-way ticket should cost between HKD 120 and 160, and the journey takes about 30 minutes.
However, we must warn you that the boat ride can be very adventurous, especially if the waves are choppy! The boat travels really fast, at times flying over the waves! You need to be prepared to step into this boat.
Fun fact: The speedboat passes by the UNESCO Geopark site. You can get a good view of the volcanic hexagonal rock formations on your speedboat ride. If you plan on taking pictures, make sure you hold onto your cameras real tight!
Plan Your Day
No matter where you live, getting to Tai Long Wan is going to be time consuming. And if you want to explore the four beaches and the waterfall, you’ll need to budget and plan your time accordingly.
What we recommend is to hike from Sai Wan Pavilion to Sai Wan Beach, then hike to the other beaches, and finally take the speedboat back to Sai Kung from Ham Tin Beach. It’s easy to hike from one beach to another as the trails are clearly marked. It’s up to you if you want to see all the four beaches. We ended up visiting only three beaches because, which in our opinion was perfect.
Also, you can buy speedboat tickets from any of the restaurants at either Sai Wan Beach or Ham Tin Beach. Speedboats operate till 5 or 6 PM. Tickets are limited so make sure that you buy your ticket the moment you arrive at the beach from where you’d like to leave.
However, if the weather turns bad, or the sea becomes rough, be prepared to hike back to Sai Wan Pavilion as the speedboat service gets suspended.
Hiking to, and taking the speedboat back gives you the opportunity to really appreciate the beauty and landscape all around. And to maximise your time at Tai Long Wan, set out early and then return in the evening by the speedboat.
What to carry?
These are some of the essential items you should carry:
- Beach towels
- Change of clothes
- Insect repellent
- Cash (enough for food, drinks, and speedboat tickets back as only cash is accepted)
- Water for the hike (you can buy water at Sai Wan and Ham Tin)
Exploring Tai Long Wan
So, let’s start at Sai Wan, the first beach that you arrive at from the hike. And then we hike to the other beaches, discovering different points of interest.
Sai Wan Beach
As you descend into Tai Long Wan from Sai Wan Pavilion, you enter Sai Wan village. This idyllic village offers plenty of facilities for visitors. There are a couple of restaurants (Hoi Shan Restaurant, Oriental Restaurant and Bar, and Waves Cafe), and surf and tent rental shop.
Once you step onto the beach you’ll notice a small headland separating the beach into two parts. We found the second half, the one away from the village, to be much cleaner and prettier. It’s also the beach where you can set up a tent in case you decide to camp here.
The water at Sai Wan Beach was the clearest water we’ve ever seen in Hong Kong. Because the beach is located in a typhoon shelter, the waves aren’t too strong. This makes the beach perfect for just relaxing. We spent some time just sitting in the crystal clear water, admiring the raw natural beauty around us.
If you plan to leave from Sai Wan, make sure that you book your speedboat tickets. There are plenty of signs around to help you with that.
Sai Kung Rock Pools
At the other end of Sai Wan Beach is hidden gem. Popularly referred to as the Sai Kung Rock Pools, it is a multi-tiered swimming pool and waterfall that is filled by the the Sheung Luk Stream.
Before you start your hike to the next beach, Ham Tin, it’s worthwhile to make a quick stop at the Sai Kung Rock Pools. This place is quite popular with cliff jumpers, and anyone looking to cool off in a natural swimming pool.
To get to the pools and waterfall, walk towards the end of Sai Wan Beach but don’t cross the narrow footbridge across the Sheung Luk Stream. Continue walking upstream, along the covered farms for a couple of hundred metres. You’ll soon arrive at the rocks. Be careful as the rocks can be slippery.
Reaching the first pool isn’t much of an issue, even if you’re wearing flip-flops. However, in order to reach the top pool and waterfall, it’s highly advisable to wear shoes. The rocky terrain isn’t very flip-flop friendly.
Once you’re done exploring the pool, you can continue along the hiking trail to Ham Tin Beach. Make your way back to the narrow footbridge, and cross it this time.
There’s another point of interest along the hike – the Sai Wan Stargazing Site. Tai Long Wan is a fairly popular stargazing location in Hong Kong, especially with campers. It’s miles away from any light pollution from the city which makes it perfect.
Ham Tin Beach
The hike to Ham Tin Beach from Sai Wan can be quite challenging. We hiked on a very hot day, with the sun beating down on us. Walking uphill wasn’t easy in the heat. The total distance is just under 2 kms and it took us about 40 minutes.
But the view that comes on the other side truly makes up for this grueling, short hike. From the steps that descend into Ham Tin Beach, you get stunning panoramic views of Tai Long Wan with it’s shades of blue, and the iconic Sharp Peak in the corner. The sight of clear water, lush green mountains, and white sand beaches is simply magnificent!
Of course if you take a speedboat from Sai Kung to Ham Tin Beach directly, you probably will miss these views.
This stunning view continues as you descend into Ham Tin Beach. Ham Tin Beach, along with Sai Wan Beach, are the only two beaches that have facilities and restaurants. The two restaurants on Ham Tin, Hoi Fung Store and On Kee Store, are on the opposite end of the beach from the steps that you descend. Once again, both these restaurants can help you book speedboat tickets back to Sai Kung.
We ended up grabbing lunch at Hoi Fung Store, which was surprisingly good but a little expensive. Fortunately, the restaurant is really well stocked with food and drinks of all types.
After we explored Ham Tin Beach, we decided it was time to explore one more beach, Tai Wan Beach.
Tai Wan Beach
The walk from Ham Tin to Tai Wan Beach is only about 550 metres and takes roughly 10 minutes. The route starts from behind Hoi Fung Store, but you need to turn right after the first couple of houses.
Be sure to spray insect repellent before you head down this path as it passes through some marshy area. Also, don’t be scared when there’s a buffalo walking toward you. The polite thing to do is let him pass.
Tai Wan Beach is my favourite beach in Tai Long Wan. It’s big enough to never get crowded, and has no man-made structures, so it feels secluded. Yet it’s only a short walk away from the nearest restaurant.
We spent the rest of our day just relaxing on Tai Wan Beach, watching the tide recede. We’d booked our return speedboat ticket from Ham Tin Beach, so all we had to do was walk back when it was time.
Tai Lung Beach
If you’re looking for even more remoteness and seclusion, Tai Lung Beach is another 30 minute hike from Tai Wan Beach. Although we didn’t go there, I sent my drone over so that I could admire it from Tai Wan Beach.
I couldn’t see a soul on Tai Lung Beach, but I did spot a couple of tents in the back.
Tai Long Wan is a very popular destination with campers. Not just for it’s beautiful natural surroundings, but also for stargazing.
Tents and sleeping equipment can be rented at Sai Wan and Ham Tin. All you need to do is ask around. Obviously, another option is that you carry your own.
Hong Kong’s Paradise
Tai Long Wan is best visited on a clear summer day. After all, those vibrant colours are visible when the sun is shining bright.
We’re extremely fortunate to be living in a city where it’s so easy to access nature. However, Tai Long Wan isn’t just nature, it’s paradise in our own backyard.
Sadly, during our visit we did see a lot of trash floating around the bay area. We urge you to keep this bay clean. If you see trash floating around, or on the beach, pick it up and throw it in a dustbin. Or take it back to Sai Kung. We should all keep Hong Kong’s most beautiful location looking its best!