4 Top-Rated Beaches on Hong Kong Island

Mar 9, 2017

You may not plan a beach vacation to Hong Kong, but if you are in Hong Kong on a hot, sunny day, you should definitely plan a trip to the beach. You don't have to go far from the city center to find beautiful soft-sand beaches. Despite their close proximity to each other, each beach has its own unique character. If you are looking for a beach that is trendy or casual, with big waves or no waves, you can find something to suit your mood. Kick back and relax on a laid-back beach in one of Hong Kong Island's villages, or head to the more upscale beach of Repulse Bay. All of the beaches listed here are conveniently located on Hong Kong Island and easy to access by MTR (metro), bus, or taxi.

1 Shek O Beach

Shek O Beach

Set at the base of lush mountains on the back side of Hong Kong Island, far from the bustle of the busy city, the oceanside village of Shek O offers a beautiful, wide stretch of soft sand, just perfect for relaxing on a warm and sunny day. On Shek O Beach, you can rent a beach chair and umbrella if you like, play in the gentle waves, and soak up the sun. Lifeguards watch over swimmers. Behind the beach, the village of Shek O is an unassuming little community with a maze of narrow streets, where you can find casual outdoor restaurants serving mainly Chinese dishes, along with a couple of western options. A few street-side vendors sell beach accessories, so you can pick up anything you might have forgotten to bring. The beach is nice at any time of day but the late afternoon sun here is irresistible.

Afternoon at Shek O Beach
Afternoon at Shek O Beach | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

You can easily catch a taxi to the beach from your hotel in Central Hong Kong, but on busy days catching a taxi back may require a short wait. It may be more convenient to hop on one of the large, double decker buses (#9 bus), which service Shek O regularly. These run to Shau Kei Wan MTR station. From here, you can catch the metro back to Central Hong Kong or take a taxi.

2 Big Wave Bay

Big Wave Bay

Just a short drive from Shek O Beach, Big Wave Bay has an authentic, laid-back beach town feel. And as you might have guessed by the name, this is where surfers come to get their fix. This beach is less developed than Shek O, with a small village behind it, making it feel like you are on one of the Outer Islands, rather than Hong Kong.

Waves crash on the beach and rocky headlands. Expats, travelers, and locals sunbathe on the beach or hit the waves with their boards. Behind the beach, diners in flip-flops and bare feet eat in outdoor restaurants, while fish and other meats cook on barbeques lining the pedestrian streets. The atmosphere here is completely casual. No shoes required.

Afternoon at Big Wave Bay
Afternoon at Big Wave Bay | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Hikers can combine a trip to the beach with one of Hong Kong's top hikes. The scenic Dragon's Back hike, which overlooks this beach from a ridge high above, ends at Big Wave Bay. Change rooms and other facilities are available.

Getting here is similar to accessing Shek O, with bus #9 running regularly to and from the Shau Kei Wan MTR station (every 10 minutes on weekends).

3 Repulse Bay Beach

Repulse Bay Beach
Repulse Bay Beach | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Repulse Bay Beach is a beautiful, long stretch of golden sand with fabulous views to offshore islands. Unlike the small villages of Shek O and Big Wave Bay, Repulse Bay is fully developed, with a modern two-story strip mall across the road from the beach. Here, you can find an assortment of good restaurants overlooking the ocean, as well as a sports shop selling anything you might need for a day at the beach. Behind the beach are high-rise apartment buildings.

The vibe here is trendy and chic. People come to hang out on the beach, walk their small dogs along the street, or enjoy a tasty seaside lunch. One of the best lunch options is Amalfitana, an open-air Italian pizzeria on the ground level.

Afternoon at Repulse Bay
Afternoon at Repulse Bay | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Getting to Repulse Bay became easier with the recent opening of the new South Island Line (MTR), which runs from Admiralty MTR Station in downtown Hong Kong to Ocean Park, which is just a short bus or taxi ride from Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay. From Admiralty, it is only a four-minute metro ride to Ocean Park, and only one stop, as the train runs through the mountain. The same route by taxi is well over 20 minutes. If you are staying in one of the hotels attached to Pacific Place shopping mall, like the Conrad, the JW Marriott, or Island Shangri-La, the Admiralty MRT station is on the lower level of the mall, so you don't even need to go outside to hop on the train.

There are essentially no beach resorts or hotel options at Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay, Shek O, or Big Wave Bay. If you want to stay near the beaches, one of the only options is the Stanley Oriental, which is on the south side of the island. The closest beach to this hotel is Repulse Bay but it is not within walking distance.

4 Deep Water Bay Beach

Deep Water Bay Beach
Deep Water Bay Beach | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Deep Water Bay Beach, just around a headland from Repulse Bay, is the least developed of all these beaches. You can walk to it from Repulse Bay Beach, along a scenic seaside promenade that links the two beaches. The bay is sheltered by offshore islands, and the water here is generally calm. This is a small, peaceful beach with not much going on, making it perfect if you just want a quiet day. Boats are anchored offshore in the distance, and high up on the mountain top to the right, you can see Ocean Park.

At one end of the beach is a picnic area with barbecue pits. Locals set up here, and the smell of cooking meat permeates the air on weekends. Near the road that runs in behind the beach are a couple of very casual restaurants, which look more like take-out places with a few picnic tables out front. One of the best options is Lido, an Italian restaurant serving mainly pizza and pasta.

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