Home > What's On > Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands: What to do and where to eat
Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands: What to do and where to eat

Here’s our pick of four lesser-explored outlying islands — and how to make the most of your day on each!

The term “outlying islands” actually refers to all the islands that make up Hong Kong, with the exception of Hong Kong Island. Believe it or not, there are 263 in total! And while these days the majority of them are sparsely populated, some beautiful traditional villages and towns still exist on a few offshore islands.

We know you’re already familiar with Lamma and Cheung Chau, so here’s our pick of four lesser-explored outlying islands to try — perfect for a day trip.

Peng Chau

While it’s not as off the beaten path as its peers, Peng Chau is still considerably non-commercial, making it ideal for your next getaway. This tiny island — less than one square kilometer in size — was once fairly industrial and is still home to the remains of a theatre and factories, including the abandoned Sing Lei Hap Gei Lime Kiln Factory, established in the 19th century, and the Great China Match Company Factory — built in 1938 and once the largest factory of its kind in the region.

How to get there

From Central, you the option of both fast and slow ferries from Pier No. 6. You can also take ferries from Discovery Bay and Mui Wo-Cheung Chau.

Where to eat

Hong Kong-style eateries

We love all the little eateries on Peng Chau, some favourites include the picturesque Island Table Grocer Cafe; HoHo Kitchen (serving Hong Kong-style dishes and seafood); the very popular Hoi King Seafood Restaurant (it’s always full — and for good reason); and Kee Sum Cafe (make sure to order its famous shrimp toast).

Island Table Grocer Cafe, G/F, 9C Wing Hing Street, Peng Chau; +852 6019 7694

HoHo Kitchen, G/F, 29 Wing On Street, Peng Chau; +852 2983 8218

Hoi King Seafood Restaurant, G/F, 13-15 Wing On Street, Peng Chau

Kee Sum Cafe, Shop B, G/F, 3 Wing On Street; +852 2983 0554

Bakeries and coffeeshops

If you’re not looking to sit down for an entire meal, try these bakeries and coffee shops for something light and quick or even just to grab and go:

A NOY Bakery, 11 Wing Hing Street, Peng Chau; +852 9804 3522

Chill Chill Country, G/F, 21 Wing On Street, Peng Chau

Second Serve Coffee, Shop 10, G/F, Monterey Villas, 10 Po Peng Street, Peng Chau

What to do

  • Take the scenic Family Trail to the Old Fisherman’s Rock and Lookout Pavilion, where you’ll be able to see Hong Kong Island, parts of Kowloon, Lantau, Tsing Yi and Lamma. Keep an eye out for the small hidden beach below the lookout pavilion and the three larger ones on the north side of the island, on the Peng Yu Path walk.
  • Explore the revitalised Fook Yuen Leather Factory, a Grade III historic building on Wing On Street. It’s also the site of graffiti and installations, the My Secret Garden project by Peng Chau native Sherry Lau. And check out other art spaces in the area, including pottery studios and galleries such as 5+2’s Studio.
  • Pay a visit to the Chiu Kee Porcelain Studio, first established in the 1960s, for beautiful hand-painted pottery and ceramics. Call ahead to book into a workshop (9193 8044, 9822 6506).
  • Tour the ancient temples of the island: Tin Hau Temple, Lung Mo Temple, Kam Fa “Golden Flower” Temple, and Seven Sisters Temple
  • And give some handicraft and arts space a visit: vintage and antique store A Lit Corner (formerly Sun Sat Store) and bookshop-coffeeshop Hoi Sing / Islanders Space – make sure to check out the zine it publishes!

Po Toi

The star and namesake of the Po Toi Islands — Po Toi is the southernmost island in Hong Kong, with ancient rock carvings believed to date back to the Bronze Age (1500 – 700 BC) as well as famous rock formations and seaweed. A popular camping location, you might know the island best for its deserted haunted house, Mo’s Old House.

How to get there

Take the ferry from Aberdeen or Stanley’s Blake Pier. There’s only so many ferries that make the trip during the week, so be sure to check the schedule.

Where to eat

Ming Kee Seafood Restaurant

Probably the most popular restaurant on the island, go here for premium fresh seafood in a laidback, open-air location. Signature dishes include the seaweed soup with egg and dried shrimp, and the salt and pepper deep-fried squid. Try to book a table in advance, and bring plenty of cash!

Ming Kee Seafood Restaurant, Tai Wan, Po Toi Island; +852 2849 7038

Ho Gay Grocery Store

This is more of a tuck shop-cafe than a grocery store. Located right next to the ferry pier, make sure to try the seaweed ramen noodle soup — featuring local seaweed, luncheon meat and a fried egg — as well as their homemade drinks.

Ho Gay Grocery Store, Po Toi Public Pier, Po Toi Island

What to do

  • Hiking is the main attraction on Po Toi, with trails marked out across the island. The routes will take you past rock formations and up to vantage points with sweeping views of the coast.
  • Rock formations include the Conch Rock (which you can see from the ferry pier), the Buddha Hand Rock (also known as Palm Cliff), the Tortoise Climbing up the Mountain and the Supine Monk.
  • Enjoy a beautiful view from the Nam Kok Tsui Lighthouse and check out the ancient rock carvings on the track that runs between the main harbour and the lighthouse.
  • If you dare, look for the haunted house of the island — Mo’s Old House in Chang Shek Pai. As the story goes, Mo Siu-tong was a merchant who came to island over a hundred years ago from Huiyang in Guangdong. After an attempted kidnapping by pirates during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, he fled the island and never returned.
  • Visit the Tin Hau Temple in Tai Wan, at the start of the Walking Trail Route 3. It’s unclear when the temple was first built, but it was established by 1893.
  • And if you’re looking to extend your day trip, camp out by the sea.

Sharp Island (Kiu Tsui Chau)

A 15-minute boat-ride away from Sai Kung town centre, Sharp Island is home to impressive natural beauty and geoheritage. Part of the Kiu Tsui Country Park and the “Sai Kung volcanic rock region” of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, this tiny island is best known for its clean government-registered beaches and ancient volcanic rocks and granite.

How to get there

Make your way to Sai Kung Public Pier and take a kai-to to Hap Mun Bay or Kiu Tsui Beach. To get to Sai Kung Town, you can take the KMB 92 bus from Diamond Hill Station Exit C2 and KMB bus 299X from Sha Tin New Town Plaza Bus Terminus.

What to do

  • Check out the beaches! Both are government-managed, so you’ll find kiosks, public toilets, lockers, showers, barbeque pits and picnic sites. Hap Mun Bay, also known as Half Moon Bay, has clear blue waters — in fact, the water quality here consistently ranks as some of the cleanest in Hong Kong, so pack your swimsuits and take a dip.
  • Kiu Tsui Beach is a little way off and is home to a tombolo, a 200m natural sand levee that connects the beach to the nearby Kiu Tau island. It only appears when the tide is low, so if you take a trip across, make sure to get back before the tide comes in.
  • You can also indulge in some water sports, like kayaking (which you can do by starting off in Sai Kung at the Ah Kwok Water Sports Center) and diving.
  • Explore. There is a hiking trail and geo trail marked out on the island that gives you a little tour of Hong Kong’s biodiversity and ancient geological history.
  • And don’t forget to look for the rocks all over the island that resemble Hong Kong’s popular pineapple buns!

Tap Mun (Grass Island)

Tap Mun is a now-sleepy island with a thrilling past. Also known as Grass Island (named for its green rolling hills), this outlying island is just off the coast of Sai Kung Country Park and was once a pirate haven and home to bustling fishing villages. Today you’ll still find a few Hakka and Tanka people running restaurants for tourists, plus feral cattle making their way around the island — but it’s mostly quiet, making it ideal for a trip away from the city.

How to get there

You can take a kai-to from Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier (a bus ride away from University MTR Station) or from Wong Shek Pier (in Sai Kung), depending on which pier is closer and how long you’d prefer to be on the water. You can view the full ferry schedule here.

What to do

  • Wander through Tap Mun New Fishermen’s Village and Yung Shu Village — you’ll find local produce and dried seafood on sale on Tap Mun Hoi Pong Street, as well as a few restaurants to eat at including New Hon Kee Seafood Restaurant.
  • Pay Tap Mun’s 400-year-old Tin Hau Temple a visit, where legend says there’s a hidden pirate’s tunnel that takes you to Tap Mun Cave on the other side of the island. Be sure not to miss the ceramic sculptures on the roof.
  • Explore the island — some of the sites and sights include the famous Balanced Rock, the Dragon View Pavilion and the abandoned King Lam School.
  • Hike, fly some kites and have a picnic — just keep an eye out for wandering cattle and cow dung.
(Hero image courtesy of Kdwk Leung via Unsplash, featured image courtesy of Kdwk Leung via Unsplash)

Sakina Abidi
Editorial Assistant
History graduate and poetry person, Sakina is a recovering journalism student currently in editorial. You are most likely to find her hunting down new eats on Instagram (halal please!) and lusting after K-Beauty skincare drops.