I'm ashamed to say that after over three years in Hong Kong, I'd never once been to the beach. If you've ever really looked at Victoria Harbour then you'll understand why. I've gotten too excited too many times over seeing a jellyfish swimming by only to realize it's yet another plastic bag (when I can see past the oil slick on the water's surface). But friends assured us that there are gorgeous beaches to be found, so we spent Sunday afternoon at Hap Mun Beach in Sai Kung.
If you walk down the Sai Kung promenade, especially on weekends, you'll see an endless line of colored umbrellas and will be continuously approached by people asking "boat" and twirling their finger in a circular motion (this is the sign for boat? I dunno).
The line of sampan hawkers:
These are the operators of various private ferries/sampans that will take you to one of the islands or beaches in the area - anywhere from a 10- to a 45-minute journey. We opted to visit Hap Mun Bay Beach. Don't pay more than $30 HKD for your ticket, which should include the return journey, and make sure you remember which ferry you're taking and what time the return journeys are - they fly different color flags and run all day.
From Sai Kung promenade it's a gorgeous 20-minute ferry ride to the beach. Our ferry stopped first at another beach (Sharp Beach maybe?), so make sure you know which stop is yours.
View from the ferry:
It was hot as hell, as usual, so the beach was packed. But we rented an umbrella and found a spot easily. There are also BBQ firepits, showers, toilets and changing areas, a spot to rent various equipment (we rented an umbrella - $100 HKD and a $100 deposit), and a small refreshment kiosk (note: they only stock Tsingtao and - shudder - Blue Girl, so if you want something else then bring a cooler).
Hap Mun Bay:
I'd read a lovely article in the South China Morning Post that morning about the rising incidence of flesh-eating virus in Hong Kong and how it lives primarily in warm seawater so I wan't too keen on jumping in, but it was that or heatstroke, so in I went. And the water was... clear? Rubbish-free? Not what I was expecting at all.
Hong Kong weather being what it is, a thunderstorm rolled in around 3:30:
But only lasted about ten minutes. The sun emerging afterwards:
No funny anecdotes, no exciting stories - just a recommendation to check out the beaches if you haven't already.