Despite visiting Hong Kong more times than I can remember over the years, I had never visited Lamma Island until September this year. Lamma Island is only located 3km from Hong Kong Island but is a world away from the Hong Kong we all know due to the fact it has no cars, no high buildings and a very small population. I discovered that there is an easy hike called the Family Trail between the two towns of Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan so I made my plan to visit.
The one downside to visiting when I did was the humidity – it did not make the walk difficult but it did make it uncomfortable at times. You will need a few essentials with you such as comfortable trainers (flip flops would not be a good idea), an umbrella (it rained on and off all day) and a bottle of water to stay hydrated. I would also recommend wearing long sleeves and taking plenty of mosquito repellent – I did neither of these (I honestly did not even think about mosquitos as I was in Hong Kong) and as I was wearing a vest top, I ended up with over twenty giant bites all over my arms.
Getting to Lamma Island is incredibly quick and easy as there is a regular ferry service from the Central Piers on Hong Kong Island to both Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan. To reach the Central Piers, you need to take Exit A from Central Station on the MTR and follow the signs. The ferries to Lamma Island depart from Pier 4. The adult fare is HK$14 and I paid for this using my Octopus Card.
The ferry ride from Central to Yung Shue Wan takes just under thirty minutes and before you know it, you are a world away from the craziness of Hong Kong Island. The ferry that I travelled on had outdoor as well as inside seating so I was able to enjoy the view along with a beautiful breeze making the stifling heat bearable.
Once the ferry had arrived in Yung Shue Wan, I decided to wait and let the crowds rush ahead so I would not be stuck with a big group of people for the entirety of the 3km trail to Sok Kwu Wan. I was in no rush that day and I would honestly recommend the same approach to anyone – walking the Family Trail in peace and quiet was amazing.
When I was planning on visiting Lamma Island, I remember wondering if it would be obvious where the start of the trail was in Yung Shue Wan. Again I should not have even thought about it as the village was very small and there were plenty of signs everywhere. After leaving the pier, just follow the path through the main street of Yung Shue Wan lined with shops and restaurants and you will see a sign pointing left marked “Hung Shing Yeh Beach and Sok Kwu Wan” – it really is as easy as that. Before leaving Yung Shue Wan, I bought some cold drinks from one of the shops to carry with me on the walk.
The entire Family Trail is paved which makes it a very easy walk to do. Between Yung Shue Wan and Hung Shing Yeh Beach is the road where you can walk uphill to the Lamma Winds wind turbine. It is about twenty minutes to walk uphill to it from the trail and the road is quite steep – it was also incredibly slippery the day I was there due to the rain. Given the choice again, I would not have done the walk to Lamma Winds as I did not think it was worth the effort that it took. The only thing that I found fascinating on the short detour was the sight of the biggest spider I have ever seen. I am not joking – it was bigger than a dinner plate. Sadly I could not (and did not want to) get close enough to get a good photo.
The next stop on the Family Trail is Hung Shing Yeh Beach. The view in one direction is beautiful however as soon as you turn around, your view is the Lamma Power Station – definitely not your usual beach view. I was tempted to go for a paddle in the water to try and cool down but decided against it. The beach is fitted with shark nets so you can also go for a swim if you wish and there are lifeguards on duty too. Alongside the beach are toilets, changing rooms, a (closed) cafe and a barbecue area.
The trail is at its steepest after leaving Hung Shing Yeh Beach but I did not find the walk strenous at all – the key is not to rush and to just to take your time. You will be rewarded for your efforts with some beautiful views of Hung Shing Yeh Beach below but beware there were also lots of cobwebs and giant spiders overhead in this section of the trail.
At the next stop is a Lookout Pavilion where you could sit and rest for a few minutes – there was even someone selling frozen pineapple and bottles of water. Your hard work is all done at this point as the walk to Sok Kwu Wan is all downhill from here.
You are soon greeted with an amazing view of Sok Kwu Wan in the distance. The end is now in sight and is an easy walk into the village.
You will also pass the entrances to the Kamikaze Caves where Japanese troops are said to have hidden boats during World War 2. I have seen photos online of people going inside the caves but given the giant spiders and who else knows what on the island, that’s probably not the most sensible idea.
From leaving Yung Shue Wan to arriving at Tin Hau Temple at the entrance to Sok Kwu Wan took me just under two and a half hours which included the detour to Lamma Winds as well as many stops for photos along the way. There are many seafood restaurants along the main street in Sok Kwu Wan so it only makes sense to treat yourself to lunch after completing the trail.
I decided to have lunch at the Rainbow Seafood Restaurant. It was not too busy when I arrived so did not have to wait long for my food to arrive. I ordered the Fried Prawns with Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce which were heavenly along with some Chinese tea to drink. I ate my lunch quickly as not only was I hungry but I was also aware that there was a ferry leaving for Central not long afterwards.
A great piece of advice is to know what time the ferries leave Sok Kwu Wan as you could easily miss one otherwise and there is sometimes a two hour wait for the next one – the service is much more frequent to Yung Shue Wan. Also make sure you board the right ferry as there is also a service to Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island as well as Central.
The fare from Sok Kwu Wan to Central is HK$17 and you pay when you disembark the ferry on Hong Kong Island. The journey takes just under forty minutes however the ferry was much smaller than the one I had travelled on earlier in the day and it was a very choppy and rough crossing.
I also made a little film of my trip to Lamma Island – I hope it proves useful to anyone wanting to visit and walk the Family Trail.
I would highly recommend Lamma Island and the Family Trail to anyone. It was a fantastic way to spend half a day in Hong Kong and at only HK$31 return for an adult on the ferry, very inexpensive too. I am definitely going back again but next time, it will be when the weather is much cooler!