Hong Kong Feature
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Hong Kong has many fantastic beaches with gorgeous views of the sea dotted with small green islands. On the southern coast of the main island, the most accessible and most popular are Stanley and Repulse Bay. Just to the west is the smaller, less-crowded Deep Water Bay, and farther west is the more intimate South Bay. On the southeast coast of the island, Turtle Cove is isolated and beautiful, and Shek O's beach has a community feel. Day trips to the outlying islands can also include sunbathing on a clean beach. You can reach most beaches by bus or taxi (HK$150 and up).
The waters off beaches in the New Territories, particularly the Sai Kung Peninsula, are crystal clear. Pollution can be a problem on the Southside, though that doesn't deter the thousands who flock seaside for respite from the summer heat. Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department has set some tough guidelines and goals for cleaning up area waters. For more info, including beach-by-beach pollution ratings, check out the EPD's Web site: www.epd.gov.hk/epd.
For a scenic route to Deep Water Bay, take Bus 70 from Central's Exchange Square to Aberdeen and change to Bus 73, which passes the beach en route to Stanley.
The New Territories
Hap Mun Wan. Half Moon Bay, as Hap Mun Wan, is called in English, is a brilliant, golden-sand beach near Sai Kung Town on the Sai Kung peninsula. Sampans to Half Moon depart from the Sai Kung waterfront, beside the bus station. If you're sharing a sampan with other passengers, remember the color of the flag on the roof: that's the color you need for your return ferry. Shared sampans cost HK$40. From Central, take MTR to Hang Hau, then Exit B1 and Minibus 101M to Sai Kung Town. New Territories, Hong Kong.
Sha Ha. The sand isn't fine and golden, but the main reason people visit this beach on the Sai Kung peninsula, is for the windsurfing. Sha Ha's waters are shallow, even far from shore, and ideal for beginning windsurfers. Grab something to eat at the restaurants and bars that dot the beach. From Central, take MTR to Hang Hau, then Exit B1 and Minibus 101M to Sai Kung Town. It's a 10 min walk along the shore to Sha Ha. New Territories, Hong Kong.
Silverstrand. Though a little rocky in spots, this beach at the east end of Sai Kung has soft sand and is crowded on summer weekends. Walk down a steep set of steps to reach the small stretch of beach where families enjoy all manner of floating beds and tubes in the sea. Barbecuing is a popular beach activity, where the local style is to hold long forks laden with meats and finger food over the coals. From Central, take MTR to Hang Hau, then Exit B1 and Minibus 11M toward the University of Science and Technology. New Territories, Hong Kong.
An often-overlooked fact is that when visitors arrive, they land on Lantau Island—on a large stretch of reclaimed land purposely built for the airport called Chep Lap Kok. Twice the size of Hong Kong Island, Lantau is also home to the giant Tian Tan Buddha statue, which sits majestically on a hilltop next to the Po Lin Monastery. The Ngong Ping 360 cable car whisks you here in 25 minutes. Also on Lantau is Hong Kong Disneyland, a small version of its American counterparts, as well as the charming Tai O fishing village.
Silvermine Beach. The stretch of beach on Lantau can be seen from the ferry as you approach the island, though because of its proximity to the pier and other fishing boats, the waters aren't as clean as those at Cheung Sha. You can rent bikes at the Silvermine Beach Hotel and explore the village of Mui Wo. Take ferry from Central's Pier 6 to Mui Wo. Buses meet ferry every half hour on weekdays and Sat.; on Sun., buses leave when full. Lantau, Hong Kong.
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