During our trip to Hong Kong Disneyland back in September, we extended our stay in Hong Kong for another 2 days and besides the usual yummy food trail that the wifey and I were craving to cover, we decided to subject the monkies to something different on one of those days. Something to work off those calories from the days of feasting in Hong Kong.
I have read a lot about the laid-back vibe that Lamma Island has to offer, along with a relatively easy hiking trail that most families could tackle.
Situated 3km off the south west coast of Hong Kong Island, Lamma Island is Hong Kong's third largest and has a population of around 5,000 of which the vast majority live in its two main villages, Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan.
Getting to Lamma Island is relatively straightforward - the ferries depart from Central Pier 4 (a 10-minute walk from Central MTR Station) and one can choose to arrive at Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan on Lamma Island. The journey time is approximately 25 minutes to Yung Shue Wan and 30-35 minutes to Sok Kwu Wan. Click HERE for the ferry timetable to Yung Shue Wan and HERE for the ferry timetable to Sok Kwu Wan.
We decided to start our trail-bashing journey at Yung Shue Wan, make our way down to Sok Kwu Wan and then return to Hong Kong Island via the ferry from there. Sok Kwu Wan is also famous for its many seafood restaurants so we figured it would be most apt to reward ourselves with a sumptuous seafood lunch after the exercise!
And when the boys first caught sight of the trail that we will be undertaking on the map, I think they nearly fainted.
The Family Trail links the two largest villages, Yung Shue Wan in the north and Sok Kwu Wan in the south and is about 3km long. There are slopes to climb along the way but the entire trail is along concrete paths so it makes the walking a tad easier. Theoretically, the trail would take us about 90 minutes to complete without rest stops. But we were not on Lamma Island to set any new records, so we took the opportunity to really soak in all the sights and sounds as we trekked to explore the island's marvelous scenery.
Yung Shue Wan was where we started, and it is a simple tiny village with one main street that is lined with cafes, food stalls and other small shops. Oh, and affordable accommodation too if you are thinking of putting up on Lamma Island.
When the wifey and I walked through the street of Yung Shue Wan, we fell in love with the place immediately. It exuded a old-world charm and has a very relaxed feel all throughout with a seemingly slower pace of life for its residents. And this was made even more so with its eclectic mix of shops in the village.
There would be quaint cafes like the one in the photo above and right beside it would be one shop such as this.
How diverse can one get? And if you are there, be sure to take a bite from the many buns and pastries at this confectionery in the village. I didn't take note of its name but you cannot miss it if you follow the trail.
At first, I bought just one polo bun to try but the entire bun was ravaged by the three monkies in the end. Yes it was that good! So I ended up having to buy more which was a lucky thing, as I discovered that the chicken pie was heavenly as well. Heh.
And if you are worried about getting lost along the trail, fret not as there are ample signage along the way. Just keep a lookout for Sok Kwu Wan and you will be fine.
At this point, the monkies were still pumped up and full of energy, no doubt fueled by the devouring of the polo bun and packets of chrysanthemum.
As we trooped along, the built-up area of Yung Shue Wan slowly disappeared as views of green fields and vegetation greeted us.
I am thankful for the many useful information panels about the various trees and plants found on the island, which served as a great distraction for the boys as they soldiered on.
And not the mention the many critters that we were able to spot throughout our walk too!
Another portion of the trail which I was extremely thankful was this little food stall we stumbled onto! 建興亞婆豆腐花 sells only soya bean curd and it was simply awesome!
Okay, perhaps the fatigue did play a part in enhancing our tastebuds but you know how powdery some soya bean curd can be, especially when it is cold? We ordered the cold version here and my word, it just melted in our mouths!
After the short recharge, we continued with our walk and passed the Lamma Police Post before descending to Hung Shing Ye Beach.
Hung Shing Ye is a sandy beach that partially sheltered by trees and as far as I could tell, it is a favourite haunt of foreign tourists. The sand is not the finest around but at least it is clean. There is a beach café overlooking the beach and barbecue area with ample shower and changing rooms.
Faced with such a beautiful landscape, it would be criminal if I didn't allow the monkies to stop and frolic in the cool water.
I kind of regretted not bringing the monkies' swimwear along but at least they had fun just splashing around knee-deep in the water and picking up seashells.
Hung Shing Ye Beach was the around the halfway point of the Family Trail and after all the revelry that we enjoyed, it was time when the trail started to get a tad tougher. I thought that this portion of the trail was the most exhausting, no thanks to its steep slopes as we had to ascend a portion of the mountain to get to the other side where the seafood restaurants of Sok Kwu Wan were waiting for us.
But as tiring as the climb was, the view was simply worth it.
It was during this part of the trail that they really pushed themselves to the limit. It was both physically and mentally draining for sure, as Ayd would tell you.
But kudos to the boys, they just kept going without any complaints. For Ale, she had the luxury of being hoisted by either the wifey or me along the way... so yes, I am pretty proud of the both of us too! And you can probably guess how happy all of us were when we finally reached the designated resting point near the top-most portion of the trail.
We spent quite some time here replenishing fluids and giving our poor legs a break, while soaking in the breathtaking views at the same time.
Simply astounding, that's what it was. And coupled with the cool breeze, I think both Ash and Ayd were feeling all proud of their climbing achievement!
Of course, there was still the small issue of continuing on with our journey but at least, the remaining portion was considerably less strenuous as the slopes were descending with the village of Sok Kwu Wan coming into full view.
We passed by some caves which were termed as Kamikaze Grottos. During World War II, the occupying Japanese troops were reputed to have hidden speedboats in the caves which would launch a suicidal attack on the Allied Forces warships if they passed by.
Ash wanted to go in for a closer look but I could hear my seafood calling for me. Actually, the real reason was the cave was partially flooded (luckily for me).
Finally, we reached Sok Kwu Wan!
At the entrance to Sok Kwu Wan lies Tin Hau Temple, which was built in 1826. It's worth stepping in to take a look, especially since it houses a super long fish skeleton that some fishermen caught off the waters at Lamma Island many years back.
Eventually, we took close to 3 hours in completing the Family Trail and this included all the rest stops we had along the way. So it was fitting that we rewarded ourselves with a seafood lunch at Sok Kwu Wan!
Sok Kwu Wan’s main street is lined with numerous waterside seafood restaurants of which the most famous is Rainbow Seafood Restaurant. We were too tired and thirsty to choose so we just settled on Rainbow.
We orderd the set lunch which had the usual suspects of crab, prawns and clams. To be honest, it was pretty tasty but nothing too spectacular. But the view while tucking into one's meal was.
We finished our lunch just in time for the next ferry departure back to Hong Kong Island. Would we do it again? Definitely! Although there were certain parts of the trail that were rather taxing, I have to say it offered us a different side of Hong Kong that we rarely see... or even in Singapore. Even the boys who were nursing aching calves the next day echoed in unison that they would love to head back to Lamma Island again, with their swimwear!
Only thing is... the next time we go back, I have to make sure Ale walks on her own.