The island of Lamma lies less than 30 minutes by ferry from Central and is known for its chill vibes, hipster community and perhaps even the presence of sea turtles.
Visitors will enjoy beautiful views, stunning beaches, and quiet trails and villages, not to mention boatloads of restaurants to enjoy a great meal. And if you are keen to do some shopping, there are places for that, too.
Devoid of chain stores and vehicles, there are two main communities on either side of the island: Yung Shue Wan, known for its beaches, bars, bakeries and quaint shops; and sleepy Sok Kwu Wan, a fishing village with seafood restaurants aplenty.
The best beaches on Lamma Island
There are plenty of beaches on Lamma. Some have shark nets and lifeguards and most have trees to offer some much-needed shade. Although some overlook the rather dystopian Springfield-esque power station, they are still worth the trip as most are relatively clean and have good facilities.
- Hung Shing Yeh Beach: Located on the Yung Shue Wan side, this is by far the most popular beach on the island and has great facilities, such as showers, restrooms, changing rooms, and stores selling drinks and snacks. As it is a government-managed beach, it also has lifeguards and a shark net during the summer.
How to get there: It is about 20 minutes on foot from Yung Shue Wan and is well signposted from the ferry pier. If you are coming from Sok Kwu Wan, simply follow the Lamma Island Family Trail, which passes Hung Shing Yeh Beach.
- Nga Kau Wan Beach (Tannery Beach): This is a small, pet-friendly beach that is popular with Lammaites and is close to Yung Shue Wan ferry pier. Despite its small size, it is great for sunsets, shade and watching ferries go by, although the water can be rocky and sometimes polluted.
How to get there: After alighting the ferry in Yung Shue Wan, head up the staircase for the Man Lai Wah Hotel and follow the Lamma Family Trail through the village. The beach will be on your left in 10-15-minutes.
- Power Station Beach: Also located on the Yung Shue Wan side, “anything goes” PSB is popular among party-goers and dog owners on the island as it is not government-managed. As the name suggests, it overlooks Lamma’s signature power station.
How to get there: Follow signs towards Hung Shing Yeh beach from Yung Shue Wan, but hang a right before the Tofu Garden eatery.
- Lo So Shing: Tucked away near Sok Kwu Wan, Lo So Shing is a quiet, clean bay. It is well worth the hike for the epic sunsets and stunning views at the BBQ pits.
How to get there: Follow signs along the Lamma Island Family Walk from Sok Kwu Wan.
- Sham Wan Beach (Turtle Beach): This is easily the most unique beach on this list and perhaps the most unique in all of Hong Kong. It closes for five months of the year from June through October to protect nesting sea turtles, but when it is open to the public, it is a lovely, peaceful beach boasting silky-white soft sand and seclusion.
How to get there: Take a sampan from Aberdeen to Mo Tat Wan. From there, walk along the beach until you reach The Bay Restaurant. Follow the stairs up until you reach Mo Tat Wan New Village. From the village, continue walking along the trail for another 25 minutes until you reach Yung Shue Ha Village. You will arrive at Lamma’s longest beach, Shek Pai Wan, which is a gorgeous stretch of coast. Walk along this beach until you reach the turn for Tung O Village. Walk through the village until you reach a fork in the road. Do not turn right, but walk straight along the path to reach Sham Wan Beach.
Hiking On Lamma Island
The Lamma Island Family Walk: This 60-minute hike is about 4.5 kilometres long and is appropriate for all ages and skill levels. Despite a couple of short, steep inclines, it is easily walkable and takes you around the island along quiet paths and past beaches. Begin at the ferry pier and turn right onto Yung Shue Wan Main Street and past the Lamma Vinyl record store (yes, it has LPs for sale, but call 6611 9102 for opening hours).
At the first corner, turn left and follow the signs towards Hung Shing Yeh Beach and Sok Kwu Wan. Eventually you will come to the beach, which looks beautiful on a sunny day (if you ignore the nuclear power plant to the right). Keep going up and along the path and pause for some incredible sea views along the way. You will encounter a couple of forks in the road along the way with no signs to guide you, but if you keep going straight you will be on the correct path.
When you see a sign that points right to Lo Sho Village, turn left towards the beach. You will come to another fork (again, no sign), but keep going left towards the beach and just around the bend you will see the water and a walkway along the shore. Turn right onto that shore path and follow it.
If you have hungry kids with you, or you need a break from the beating sun, there is a little pavilion off to the side where you can take a rest and enjoy the sea breeze.
Continue along the path and keep your eye out for the Kamikaze Grotto on the right, which was built by the Japanese during World War II when they occuppied Hong Kong. (According to the plaque outside of the grotto, the Japanese planned on hiding speedboats in these grottos to attack warships, but the war ended before they could finish making them.)
Make your way along the trail and you will eventually come to Sok Kwu Wan, where a plethora of seafood restaurants are waiting to offer the catch of the day. If you would rather head back to the city, the pier to catch the ferry to Central is just a few metres past the row of restaurants, or if you would like more exercise and more options in terms of eateries, head back the way you came to Yung Shue Wan.
Mount Stenhouse Loop: This trail is for the adventurous hiker who does not mind scrambling or a beating back a bit of bush to see the views. It is also one of the Peak Master trails, so if you are up for the challenge, add this to your list.
You can get there from Sok Kwu Wan by heading to Lo So Shing Beach and making a left at the beach, crossing an abandoned paddy field and looking for a dirt path. Hikers who have done this route say the path is often overgrown and hard to find, but if you find it, take it (apparently the path becomes clearer in time) to the top of Mount Stenhouse. There are other craggy bits around that area to discover as well.
Best restaurants on Lamma Island
Lamma is a sleepy island and none of the restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan were open when we finished our trek around 10.30 a.m. They mainly open for lunch and dinner, so plan accordingly if you want to tuck into some fresh seafood at the end of your walk. The restaurants in the main village of Yung Shue Wan open earlier and offer breakfast and snack items to get you ready for your island adventure. If in doubt, call ahead.
- We hope you are hungry for seafood because many eateries on the island are a pescatarian’s dream. The popular Lamma Rainbow Seafood Restaurant (23-27 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, 2982 8100) features just about every type of seafood you can imagine, and even offers local island and fisherman’s village tours.
- Another fan favourite, Sampan Seafood (16 Yung Shue Wan Main St, 2982 2388) has a lovely outdoor dining area near the pier.
- The Bay (No.7 Mo Tat Wan, 2982 8186) – which calls itself “Hong Kong’s Fine Mediterranean Restaurant” – is perched just above the shoreline and is totally secluded, making you feel like you have actually gone on holiday. Its menu features everything from salads to soups to pasta to mains, with a few vegetarian options as well.
- Banyan Bay Café (67 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 2982 1150) serves a quirky mix of western food, coffee and sometimes even artwork for sale and music nights but, best of all, you can treat your furry friends to Auntie Jill’s dog snacks.
- The popular Bookworm Café (79 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 2982 4838) has all-day menu items including veggie burgers, salads, pizza and more, though its menu is smaller and more expensive than in years gone by.
- Lamma Grill (36 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 2982 1447), along with its pizzeria cousin Lamma Express (44 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 6625 1972) offers a large western menu, board games and great live events.
- The Waterfront (58 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, 2982 1168) overlooks the old pier and does great Sri Lankan food.
- Dale Candela (23 Yung Shue Wan Main Street) is arguably the village’s best restaurant, though is one of the pricier options. Also known as “Carlos,” it serves authentic tapas cuisine and sometimes has live DJs and events.
- Sometimes a cold brew is in order, and The Beer Shack (10 Sha Po New Village, 6537 9046), launched by the award-winning Yardley Brothers, has ice-cold craft beer, IPAs and more, plus everything from snacks to salads and sandwiches to hearty mains to quiet your growling stomach. Stay later and you may just be in luck as it sometimes shows popular movies for free.
- Bombay Indian Restaurant (6 Yung Shue Wan Back Street) is your best bet for Indian cuisine.
- There’s also LoSo Kitchen (2982 8623) on Sok Kwu Wan’s restaurant row offering a variety of European and British beers and ciders, and “fusion style” food and snacks.
- For just a quick break, the highly rated Herb To Toe (12C Tai Wan Shan Tsuen, Yung Shue Wan, 9228 5282) is the place to grab cold brew, tea or hot and cold drinks.
Best shopping on Lamma Island
Discover the many bohemian shops, local bakeries, grocers and unique stores on the narrow Yung Shue Wan Main Street. Cars are not allowed, but do watch out for the many cyclists and the occasional “village vehicles” that zip around the narrow roads.
- Lamma Vinyl Record Store – There are only a handful of record shops across the city and Lamma Vinyl Record Store is one of them. They sell an eclectic mix of second-hand records, from country to techno. They will also purchase your old vinyl. At 1/F, 45 Yung Shue Wan Main Street.
- Lamma Honey Bee Farm – Get fresh honey from an environmentally-friendly bee farm. They sell various types of honey from set to runny and full of honeycombs. You can find the stand on Yung Shue Wan side, a quarter of the way up the Lamma Island Family Trail, just after the lookout temple.
- Lamma Brand – Specialises in locally designed and manufactured streetwear and cool souvenirs unique to Lamma Island. At 75 Yung Shue Wan Main Street.
- Nick The Bookman – An icon on Lamma Island, this well-known figure sells second-hand books from his tiny stand on the corner of the main street, just before you head left to go to Hung Shing Yeh Beach.
Hotels on Lamma Island
If you fancy turning your day trip into a staycation there are some options.
Concerto Inn is conveniently located on Hung Shing Yeh Beach on Yung Shue Wan side – ideal if you wish to wake up for a morning swim. Their rooms are clean and some have balconies overlooking the beach. You can also bring your pet for an extra HK$200. If you wish to stay on Sok Kwu Wan side, head to Wenlihua Holiday House. This budget-friendly hotel is situated not far from the ferry and is great if you prefer to hike in more secluded areas. Otherwise, AirBnB is worth checking, unless you have Lamma friends to crash with.
How To Get To Lamma Island
You can take the ferry from Central Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan. There is also a ferry from Aberdeen to Yung Shue Wan via Pak Kok.
Ferry schedules from Pier 4 in Central:
Click here for the ferry schedule from Aberdeen.
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