WHAT comes to mind when you think of Hong Kong?
Like most Malaysians, we link this travel destination to a fast-paced hustling city, skyscrapers, neon lights and of course, the food.
But did you know that there are some 263 outlying islands across Hong Kong?
These gems offer relaxing retreats with outdoor sights from hills to islands that are waiting to be explored, like Peng Chau, Lamma Island and Po Toi Islands – each with its own unique take on slow living.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the world over especially with its impact on the travel industry, many countries are looking into a bilateral agreement to ease travel restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
While we wait for the good news, building a travel wish list can be beneficial.
So the next time you are in Hong Kong, you could tick these outlying islands off your list as the perfect day-trip to experience the outdoors amidst an island city.
Historical and serene: Peng Chau Island
Less than an hour’s ferry ride from the central business district of Hong Kong, Peng Chau – also known as flat island – is a small 1sqkm island that offers a relaxing retreat with easy trails and a taste of real village life.
The charming island is dotted with Instagram and photo-ready spots – from remains of an old factory, quirky antique shops, beaches and temples, to street art that adds vibrancy to this tranquil community.
Be sure to drop by the former Leather Factory that has been transformed into a “secret garden”, another perfect spot for Instagrammable backdrop with artistic graffiti and creative installations made from chairs, bottles and tyres.
History buffs would relish in the knowledge that some business activities on this island dated back to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) and in some corners of the island, time seemed to have stood still.
Be sure to check out the easy trail of Finger Hill that overlooks the Tsing Ma Bridge and Hong Kong Disneyland and embrace the scenic views from Ngan Chau Tsai Pavilion known locally as the edge of the sky and corner of the sea.
Hipster land: Lamma Island
Another day-trip destination is the third largest outlying Hong Kong island, which is known for its 6,000-year fishing history.
Lamma Island has two main villages Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan that are connected by a scenic hiking 5km trail – Lamma Island Family Trail.
Popular amongst hipsters and creative souls, Yung Shue Wan has fresh seafood, white sandy beaches and is lined with indie boutiques, craft stores and quaint cafes.
On the other side of the trail, you can indulge in the fishing village culture and history at Sok Kwu Wan and sample the fresh seafood served in classic Cantonese style at one of the many restaurants along the bay.
Notable pit-stops along the island include Tin Hau Temple, historical WWII kamikaze caves and Lamma Winds.
Rocks and haunts: Po Toi Island
Just a 30-minute ferry ride from Stanley Blake Pier or one hour from Aberdeen Pier, Po Toi Island is dubbed the South Pole of Hong Kong. It is the southernmost island which lends to its enticing nature.
With a population of less than 200, Po Toi is known for its unique rock formations and natural sculptures – Monk Rock and Tortoise Rock – and large carvings dating back to the Bronze Age, which hikers can enjoy along the Po Toi Country Trail while experiencing breathtaking views of the sea to boot.
Take a break from nature and head down to the village, where a reportedly haunted joint along the eerie streets – due to the low population – serves up popular desserts at Mo’s Old House attracting daring adventurers to explore.
This article is brought to you by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
To find out more about Hong Kong’s day-trip destination islands, follow Discover Hong Kong on Facebook.