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Photo: Mikkel Bækgaard

Lifestyle

Lamma Island – Hong Kong’s hippie retreat

A short 25-minute boat ride takes you away from the skyscrapers of downtown Hong Kong, China, to Lamma Island, a relaxed world of quiet villages, breathtaking ocean views and remote beaches. And with no cars on the island, it’s a perfect destination for a day of easily accessible hiking.

When debarking the ferry in the village of Yung Shue Wan, it’s hard to believe that you’re only a 25-minute boat ride from Hong Kong’s busy ferry terminal. In less than half an hour, you’ve gone from high rises and busy urban life to an entirely different world. Now, all of a sudden, you’re in a world of no cars and a relaxed village feeling, combining traditional Chinese rural life with a hippie-like atmosphere.

Lamma Island – the third largest of Hong Kong’s islands – is known as a laid back location. Here, you’ll find, in addition to local fishermen and commuters, a significant number of Western hippie types, settled to enjoy the tranquility and close vicinity to nature. Here, they can enjoy a quiet life, without getting too far away from all the Hong Kong bustle.

Scattered around Lamma Island, you’ll find a handful of villages, connected by walking trails. The island is so small that you can walk around it in a day, making it a perfect getaway from the metropolitan feeling of Hong Kong. Out here, you can enjoy birds singing, ocean views and remote beaches, when you’re not enjoying some of the lovely seaside restaurants offering seafood as fresh as it comes.

Photo: Mikkel Bækgaard

Lamma’s hippie village

Yung Shue Wan, the main village of Lamma Island, where most people arrive on the ferry, consists of no more than a few connected streets. Scattered around the bay, you’ll find plenty of small boats, providing a lovely backdrop for a cup of coffee or bite to eat at one of the waterfront cafés. Alongside traditional Chinese vegetable shops, you’ll find an organic convenience store, some New Age-oriented shops and even a small record store, selling mainly vinyl. Follow the road through the village to get to a small Buddhist temple, originally built in 1828.

Yung Shue Wan

Photo: Mikkel Bækgaard

Hiking trails and lookout points

A network of easy, accessible hiking trails connects the villages, making it feel like an adventure getting around the island on foot. The trails will take you along and over the island’s central mountain ridge, changing the scenery significantly as you walk, from bamboo forests with fluttering butterflies, to stunning views of hillsides and the South China sea. Lookout points are marked with traditional Chinese pavilions with small benches, offering a seat with a view before continuing the walk.

Photo: Mikkel Bækgaard

Lo So Shing Beach

Lamma Island has several lovely beaches with lifeguard services and shark nets. One of the most remote – and therefore less crowded – beaches is Lo So Shing Beach, halfway between the towns of Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan. Despite its remote location, the beach offers shower facilities and drinks to buy. You might also enjoy a relaxed barbecue here, taking advantage of the facilities installed in one part of the small beach from where you’ll also enjoy a spectacular view of the island’s rugged coastline.

Photo: Mikkel Bækgaard

Famous seafood with private ferry line

The villages of Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan offer a wide selection of restaurants. Here, you find many popular seafood restaurants with live fish waiting to be sold and cooked. The most famous, and also the largest, is Lamma Rainbow Seafood on the waterfront in Sok Kwu Wan, offering more than 800 seats for hungry guests. The menu is huge, tempting visitors with treasures of the sea of all kinds, from fresh fish to the most exclusive abalones, lobsters and oysters. Lamma Rainbow also offers visitors a private ferry, directly from downtown Hong Kong to the restaurant. Table booking is recommended.

Lamma Rainbow Seafood Restaurant

23-25 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island

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Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11.00-22.00 - Saturday-Sunday 11.00-22.30

Museum of fishing

When walking the paths of Lamma Island, you can’t help noticing the many rafts floating in the bay next to the village of Sok Kwu Wan. They are actually fishing rafts and fishing boats, making up Lamma Fisherfolk’s Village, an open air museum showcasing the culture of the island. Here you can learn about the history of fishing, marvel at a 60-year old junk and even try out your own luck with a bit of angling.

Lamma Fisherfolk’s Village

20 Sok Kwu Wan First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island

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Opening hours: 10.15-18.00, Wednesdays closed

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Last edited: December 21, 2018

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