We’re extremely lucky to be surrounded by beautiful beaches and mountainous terrain, but did you know that conservational efforts have also coined six marine parks in Hong Kong? With a good portion of these parks available to the public to explore, we’ve put together a quick guide of highlights and how to get there.
In an effort to conserve and maintain unique ecosystems and marine life, there are a total of six designated marine parks and one marine reserve in Hong Kong. Although only four are actively accessible to the public to explore, the parks span over an incredible 4050 hectares of ocean. Teeming with colourful corals and a huge array of fish, you most likely have already dipped your toes in some of the most popular marine parks in Hong Kong; however, if you’re looking for a new adventure, read on to learn about those not so well known.
Featured and hero images courtesy of Taylor Simpson via Unsplash
The best marine parks in Hong Kong:
Highlights: Located north of Sai Kung West Country Park, Hoi Ha Wan has been a designated marine park since 1996. One of the city’s most sought-after spots for crystal clear waters and a plethora of marine life, the area spans across 260 hectares and is thriving with coral. Not just a hotspot for snorkelling and kayaking however, Hoi Ha is also home to one of Hong Kong’s most famous heritage spots – the lime kiln. Found on the eastern shore of the marine park, the relics reflect Hoi Ha Wan’s prosperous lime-refining industry that thrived between 1800 -1939.
Getting there: The easiest way to get to the marine park is either by taxi or taking no. 7 minibus from Sai Kung Pier to Hoi Ha village.
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Highlights: Yan Chau Tong Marine Park, AKA “Double Haven”, can be found on the northeast coast of Plover Cove Country Park and made up of two areas: Yan Chau Tong (Double Haven) and Lai Chi Wo. Its thriving mangroves and hot bed of seagrass activity invites a colourful array of sea life, as well as Hong Kongers taking a day trip out to marvel at the geography (think: peninsulas, rock cliffs, sand pits and beaches) and tread nearby hiking trails.
Getting there: Avid hikers can access Yan Chau Tong Marine Park in under three hours, starting by taking an MTR to Tai Po Market Station (exit A3) and taking minibus 20R to Wu Kau Tang. Reaching the pavilion, you should see signs for Double Haven Country Trail – follow these towards Sam A Tsuen. Alternatively, take the MTR to University Station (exit B) and walk roughly 15 minutes to Ma Liu Shui Pier No.3 to grab a ferry to Double Haven. The boat takes around 1 hour 30 minutes.
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Highlights: Hailing as the largest marine parks in Hong Kong, Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau span over 1,200 hectares towards the west of New Territories, Sha Chau sandbar and White Island. Linked to the Pearl River freshwater run-off, with high organic and sediment loading, it means that wildlife has adapted to thrive in this area, most iconically home to the Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin, locally known as Chinese White Dolphin – which although can be rare – can be spotted from time to time.
It’s worth noting that Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park is highly protected, and the amount of water traffic entering the area is controlled; however, if you’re hoping to explore the area and catch a glimpse of these dolphins in their natural habitat, Hong Kong Dolphinwatch run regular tours Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays year-round.
Getting there: Only accessible via boat, if you hope to visit the area, it would be best to book an tour.
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Highlights: Featuring a coral community and ecosystem that rivals that of Hoi Ha Wan, Tung Ping Chau Marine Park is celebrated for its unique rock formations that make for unbelievable sightseeing. The easternmost outlying island of Hong Kong, Tung Ping Chau is technically closer to Shenzhen than it is to Hong Kong, however once there, you’ll be rewarded with rich history and snorkel-perfect waters. Need to refuel? There are a few family-run restaurants and kiosks in the area (including a guest house should you want to spend the night), but mostly, the area is scarce of people other than day-trippers.
Getting there: Hop on one of the ferries that run between Ma Liu Shui and Tung Ping Chau by taking the MTR to University Station (exit B) and walk roughly 15 minutes to Ma Liu Shui Pier. The travel time is roughly 1 hour 40 minutes, so make sure to plan your day accordingly as there is a limited ferry schedule.