There are plenty of relatively uninhabited islands all around Hong Kong, but none closer than Tung Lung Chau (or Tung Lung Island). Located towards the east of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Tung Lung Island is a great destination for those who enjoy the outdoors.
With its unique landscape formations and history, the island is synonymous with camping, rock climbing, and hiking. That’s why it’s no surprise that its relatively uninhabited grounds are overrun by people who come to enjoy its natural attractions and historical sights over weekends.
How to get to Tung Lung Chau
Tung Lung Chau can be reached by a ferry (kaito) from both Kowloon side, and Hong Kong Island side. The ferry only runs on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays and takes about 40-45 minutes one-way.
There are two ferry piers on Tung Lung Chau, Nam Tong Pier in the south, and Fat Tong Pier in the north. Both piers are within 15 minutes walking distance from each other. Nam Tong Pier is the main pier on the island, and Fat Tong Pier is closer to the camping sites.
From Sai Wan Ho
If you’re on Hong Kong Island side, you can catch the ferry from Sai Wan Ho to Tung Lung Chau. Make sure that you don’t go to the main Sai Wan Ho ferry pier to catch the ferry.
The ferry to Tung Lung Chau leaves from the side of Grand Promenade that faces the typhoon shelter, right across from Les Saisons. I’ve marked the location on Google Maps to prevent you from ending up at the wrong location.
A round-trip kaito fare costs HK$ 55 per adult. More details on the ferry can be found on the ferry operator’s website, along with the timetable.
From Sam Ka Tsuen
Alternately, if you’re on Kowloon side, you can catch the ferry to Tung Lung Chau from Sam Ka Tsuen Pier. The closest MTR station to the pier is Yau Tong, from where it’s a 10 minute walk.
A round-trip kaito fare costs HK$ 45 per adult. More details on the ferry can be found on the ferry operator’s website, along with the timetable.
Restaurants at Tung Lung Chau
Given that Tung Lung Chau is largely uninhabited, one of the first questions people ask is – are there any restaurants on the island?
Yes, there are a couple of restaurants next to each of the two piers.
We got off at Nam Tong Pier and ate at one of the restaurants. The menu is limited and comprises of mostly local food (variety of noodles with luncheon meats), which is pretty decent. We also ended up trying a shrimp burger that was advertised outside one of the restaurants.
One thing that we learned was the restaurants next to Fat Tong Pier are more crowded as they’re closer to the campsites. They also had more variety on their menu.
Things to do in Tung Lung Chau
Quite honestly, the best way to enjoy a deserted island is to walk and admire its natural beauty. Here are a few popular activities that attract hundreds of people to Tung Lung Chau every weekend.
A largely uninhabited island in close proximity to the main city does make a great location for camping overnight or over the weekends.
There are designated camping sites in the northern part of the island that fill up pretty quickly, especially if the weather is good.
If you enjoy camping in the outdoors, but don’t want to travel too far or hike to get to a camping site, then by all means give Tung Lung Chau a try.
The best way to explore Tung Lung Chau is through a hike. Of course, you’d be hiking just to get around the island too. But if you’re interested in a serious hike, there is a circular hiking trail that encompasses the entire island.
You can start the hike at any of the piers and walk in a counter-clockwise direction. The trail passes through most of the sites on the island and goes up the hills, right to the highest point on the island, Nam Tong Peak.
The complete hiking trail is just over 8 kms, so remember to budget your time accordingly.
Although our first visit to the island was to explore its attractions (given below), we’ll definitely embark on the hike on our next visit.
3. Rock Climbing
I’m not a rock climber, but the first time I heard about Tung Lung Island was because of its association with rock climbing. As it turns out, the island is one of the best spots (if not the best) in Hong Kong for rock climbing.
There are a few natural rock walls scattered across the island. While we were at the northern end of the island, we could see plenty of climbers on two different walls. In fact, there was a climbing wall just below where we were sitting, and one close to the Naval Cave.
You can learn more about rock climbing on Tung Lung Chau on this website.
Sites to visit on Tung Lung Chau
Tung Lung island also has plenty of natural and historical sites to visit, from rock formations to an old fort. Fortunately, you can visit all these sites within a single day if you want.
3 of these 4 attractions are located in the north of the island, closer to Fat Tong Pier. Only the ancient rock carving is located in the centre of the island, a 15-20 minute walk from Nam Tong Pier.
1. Ancient Rock Carving
Measuring 180 cm by 240 cm, this is the largest ancient rock carving in Hong Kong. The design consists of complicated and tortuous lines to represent a dragon (or so it seems). Not much is known about this ancient rock carving except that it’s existed since before 1819.
To get to the ancient rock carving on Tung Lung Chau, head south from Nam Tong Pier, essentially the opposite direction from the camping sites. The trail starts from in-between the two restaurants next to the pier. The walk is just over 1 km and should take about 15 mins from the pier.
There’s a really nice lookout point just before the stairs, that takes you down to the rock carvings. It’s all fun while going down but just remember that you have to climb the same steps all the way back. That’s the only challenging part of visiting the ancient rock carving.
The rock carving is visible on the platform at the bottom of the stairs. It was declared a monument in January 1979 and is protected under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance.
There are a total of 8 rock carvings in Hong Kong. Of which, I have seen the ones at Big Wave Bay, and Lung Ha Wan. The others are located at Shek Pik, Cheung Chau, Wong Chuk Hang, Kau Sai Chau, and Po Toi.
2. Tung Lung Fort
Tung Lung Fort was declared a monument in July 1980 and is protected under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, just like the ancient rock carving.
History of Tung Lung Fort
The fort was originally known as the Fo Tang Men Fort. It is located in the strategic point in the northern corner of Tung Lung Island overlooking the narrow Fo Tang Men passage through which junk boats sailed into Hong Kong.
The history of Tung Lung Fort remains unclear. According to one record, it was built in the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662 – 1722) of the Qing dynasty to guard against pirates. However, another record states that the fort was built under Yang Lin, Viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi between 1719-1724.
The fort consists of fifteen guardhouses and eight cannons. However, owing to its location on a remote island, it became difficult to maintain the fort. It was eventually evacuated in 1810 and fell into ruins as it lies today.
In 1979, the Antiquities and Monuments Office began to record the ruins and decided to repair and display it as a historical monument. And it was finally open to the public in April 1982. The Tung Lung Fort Special Area covers 3 hectares and contains a campsite in addition to the fort.
If the history of pirates in Hong Kong fascinates you, make sure to hike your way to Devil’s Peak.
3. Rock Formations (牙鷹石)
The moment that I stepped onto Tung Lung Island, my eyes instantly landed on the large boulder, standing on top of a hill. This rock formation is visible from almost every part of the island and is surprisingly easy to get to. I’m not sure what the English name for this rock formation is, but on Google Maps it’s listed as 牙鷹石, which Google translated means Eagle Tooth Stone.
The path to the rock starts from the trail between the two piers. It’s a short trail up from where you can see the entire northern part of Tung Lung Chau. Apart from the view, the rock formation is a popular spot for your Instagram shots.
4. Naval Cave
The Naval Cave is another interesting landscape formation along the coastline of Tung Lung Island. It’s visible from the northern tip of the island, close to Tung Lung Fort.
From here, not only can you admire the endless sea in front of you, but all the rock climbing walls.
Our Guide to Tung Lung Chau
We hope that you found our guide to Tung Lung Chau helpful. Remember to carry insect repellent on your visit to the island.
If you enjoy such uninhabited islands around Hong Kong, check out Po Toi Island or Grass Island. And as always, feel free to leave a comment below or share this on the social media channel of your choice.
First time here. What a great website! Your photographs are stunningly beautiful.
Interestingly, being a local here for decades, I have always wanted to go to Tung Lung, but never did. This little island is easily forgotten. Recently with the social distancing and stuff, hiking became a great activity for many. And I was just running out of ideas where to go next.
Thanks for writing this article, which reminded me of this Island. Perhaps I should pay a visit in the coming long weekend!
Look forward to your contents! Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy!