Quieter Side of HK, Lamma IslandOf all the things that someone typically hears about from people who visit Hong Kong, Lamma Island 南丫島 is a name that probably doesn't come up frequently. It is a place that can only be reached by ferry. It is an area where cars, vehicles, and metros do not run. It is a spot where bicycles and human leg strength are the only modes of transport on the island.
Everything about Lamma Island screams quiet, tranquil, and relaxed: small population, surrounded by nature and water, and not heavily commercialized. The seemingly perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the international metropolis that is Hong Kong.
The ferry ride from Central to the island's most northern pier is short and inexpensive. Yung Shue Wan is the alighting point most prefer; most of the islands' residents and shops are located here. Sok Kwu Wan is another disembarking option that is located a little further south on the island.
Rows of fresh seafood restaurants greet visitors at both docks. Eating a rustic local seafood meal by the water would seem like an obvious choice. Peeling shrimp and picking at clam meat while hearing the tide swish in and out, how picturesque. (Prices could be expensive since it is a "tourist-y" activity.)
For the non-seafood lovers, the island is home to many expats who run restaurants and shops near Yung Shue Wan. For the frugal travelers, buy some to-go eats at a local cha chaan teng 茶餐廳 or from nearby bakeries before boarding the ferry over. There are plenty of public spaces on Lamma Island to have a picnic of sorts.
I hadn't a clue what to expect prior to visiting the island. The only times I have heard Lamma Island was in the few instances it came up in TVB shows I watched as a kid. Who knew it is supposedly a popular spot for expats to move to? Who knew a lot of the houses and villages there are pretty run-down and/or abandoned? Who knew, despite that, the island is still a little hipster-y and artsy?
The hiking trail is the one thing I discovered about Lamma Island and gladly accepted with open arms. Since I travel to eat, any extra "strenuous" activity is always much needed and very appreciated. The path is well paved and marked from one major pier to the other. It is estimated to be a 1 hour and 20-minute walk, via the orange course on the map above.
The marked paths on the map do not reach the tallest point on the island. But they aren't exactly brisk walks through the park either; there are plenty of steep uphills along the way. Even though I would recommend a good pair of walking shoes, it isn't a must. Heck, when I went I saw a trio of ladies in dresses and chunky heels hiking along the same path and sometimes at a faster pace than I could.
To some, the visit could be uneventful. Scruffy dogs wander about. Run-down looking homes sprinkled throughout. Views of water, fog, and the power plant are more typical. Air-conditioned mega malls are definitely not aplenty. But this little island has its charm. I wouldn't spend a full day here if I were to visit again. Half a day is just enough to explore and still be able to fully appreciate everything.