Not many people associate Hong Kong with beaches; however, with over 200 islands, the territory is blessed with a host of outstanding beaches, many with world-class leisure facilities. Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department manages 41 gazetted public beaches, ensuring the presence of lifeguards and contributing to the upkeep of facilities like campgrounds and shark prevention nets.
Stanley Main Beach: Sleepy Seaside Village
Stanley is a village in Hong Kong Island’s Southern District, where many of Hong Kong’s top beaches can be found. Visitors to Stanley will find a well developed beachfront before them, with a gorgeous promenade and a host of western-style bars and restaurants lining the waterfront. The village also has two beaches: Stanley Main Beach and St. Stephen’s beach.
Boating enthusiasts converge on Stanley Main Beach in June for the biggest Dragon Boat Festival race in Hong Kong, turning this otherwise sleepy beach town into a crowded tourist hotspot.
A number of buses serve travelers from Central to Stanley, most of them picking up passengers from Queensway in front of Admiralty MTR station.
Water quality: Good, 3/5. Stanley Main Beach is reasonably clean. Although some rubbish is evident in the water, it's acceptable to most.
Facilities: Excellent. Stanley is the epitome of a seaside town. You'll find lifeguards and shark nets at the beach, both Chinese food and Western bars and restaurants in abundance nearby, a very decent market, and a number of tourist attractions.
Lo So Shing Beach: Secluded Serenity
While it may take little leg work to get here, this secluded spot on Lamma Island boasts crystal clear water and a beautiful strip of sand. Its distance from civilization ensures its low crowd density even on weekends.
If you’re determined to get to Lo So Shing, take the ferry from Central Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan, then follow the Family Walk to Lo So Shing, a 40 minute walk each way.
Water quality: Excellent, 5/5. Aside from uninhabited islands, Lo So Shing is it the cleanest beach in Hong Kong. If you want to baptize your swimming trunks, this is the place to come.
Facilities: Surprisingly good. About a 60-minute hike from Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island, Lo So Shing's location is one of its greatest attractions; however, its seclusion does mean there is little opportunity for donkey rides or sipping cocktails on the seafront. You’ll find lifeguards, shark nets, and changing rooms but little else.
Silvermine Bay Beach: Family-Friendly Stop
Out on Lantau Island in the New Territories, Silvermine Bay is a relaxed beach next to Lantau's unofficial capital, Mui Wo. Lantau is much more chilled-out than Hong Kong Island, and it's a great option for travelers with kids. The namesake silver mine—an operation that lasted for a few decades in the 19th century—can still be seen here, as well as some watchtowers built to guard against pirate attacks.
Silvermine Bay visitors can also visit other nearby Lantau attractions, among them the Ngong Ping Cable Car and the jaw-dropping Tian Tan Big Buddha. To get here, take Ferry from Central Pier to Lantau Island.
Water quality: Excellent, 5/5. Well clear of Hong Kong Island, Lantau's beaches are some of the cleanest in Hong Kong.
Shek O Beach: Take a Hike
Shek O is a beautiful beach set on the southeast of Hong Kong Island and is popular with suits on a retreat from the city. Many first-time beachgoers in Hong Kong take advantage of Shek O’s accessibility and visit it first.
Beyond the beach, Shek O also offers immediate access to the Dragon’s Back hiking trail (one of Hong Kong’s best hiking destinations), which many beachgoers also take on as a two-for-one deal (hike first, beach later). Another, adjacent beach—known as Big Wave Bay—caters to surfers, with its rough waters and tidy surf community.
To get to Shek O Beach, take the No 9 Minibus from Shau Kei Wan MTR station.
Water quality: Good, 4/5. Shek O's water quality makes it worth the extra effort to reach. Around the corner, Big Wave Bay also has excellent water quality, and it has the best surfing in Hong Kong.
Facilities: Very good. This fantastic seaside village has a wide selection of quaint restaurants that offer great al fresco seating. Changing rooms, lifeguards, and shark nets are all also in place.
Repulse Bay Beach: Luxe Life
Probably Hong Kong's most-visited beach, Repulse Bay's popularity can be attributed to its proximity to Central rather than the quality of the beach. Still, it remains Hong Kong’s top luxury beach spot, its scenic waterfront jammed with luxury restaurants, shopping and endless hordes of mainland Chinese tourists.
At Repulse Bay Beach’s southern end, you’ll find a temple built to protect local fishermen and their families—Tin Hau Temple, one of around 50 in Hong Kong dedicated to this Goddess. To get to Repulse Bay, you’ll just take a simple trip by Bus 6 or 6X from Central. It’s also located a few minutes’ walk from the Ocean Park MTR station.
Water quality: Good, 4/5. Because of its closeness to Central Hong Kong, the water around Repulse Bay is rather cloudy. Although many locals still swim in the water, you may decide not to.
Facilities: Excellent. Repulse Bay is luxury central: A short walk north of the temple, you’ll find The Pulse, a strip of dining and lifestyle outlets that cater to the luxury set. Lifeguards are on patrol most of the year, changing rooms are available, and the bay is covered by shark nets. The beach is packed on weekends.
Sai Kung’s Beaches: Take Your Pick
Sai Kung Peninsula offers no shortage of gorgeous views, which you can take in from one of the four beaches around Tai Long Wan Bay: Tai Long Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan, and Tung Wan. The beach at Ham Tin Wan is the best in Hong Kong, with finely-powdered sand and crystal-clear waters.
A great day-tripper's option, the beaches along Sai Kung Peninsula take a little more effort to reach as it is in the eastern part of the New Territories. You'll want to to take the Bus number 92 from Diamond Hill MTR in Kowloon.
Water quality: Good, 4/5. Sai Kung is a good distance from Hong Kong Island, and this helps keep its water very clean.
Facilities: Excellent. Plenty of dining and drinking available including some tasty gourmet restaurants. Sai Kung is a great option for those interested in watersports, including kayaking and windsurfing, and just up the road is the Sai Kung sail club.
Pui O Beach: Camping Country
The village and beach of Pui O, located on Lantau’s Chi Ma Wan Peninsula bordering Lantau South Country Park, is perhaps Hong Kong’s top beach for camping and otherwise roughing it. If tents on the beach aren’t your thing, you can rent village houses nearby.
The beach’s sand is both black and yellow, betraying a semi-volcanic origin. Beyond the shore, you can take on the nearby Lantau Trail Section 12, connecting Pui O and Mui Wo.
To get here, take the ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then (if you’re not hiking) ride Bus 1 to Pui O Beach.
Water quality: Good, 4/5. Quality generally hovers between good and fair, but avoid during periods of heavy rain.
Cheung Chau Island: Ride the Waves
Weekenders converge on Cheung Chau Island’s beaches, either to take up windsurfing or to relax on the golden sands. The larger of the two beaches, Tung Wan, is also the more popular, with more complete facilities and its own hotel (the Warrick) near the beachfront.
The other beach, Kwun Yam, may be smaller but retains some popularity due to its reputation as a windsurfing haven. Olympic champion and local hero Lee Lai-shan learned her craft in these waters, and a local statue of a windsurfer commemorates her accomplishment.
To get here, take the ferry from Central Pier 5 to Cheung Chau, then walk along Tung Wan Road to the beach.
Water quality: Good, 4/5. Quality generally hovers between good and fair.
Facilities: Good. Public facilities include a changing room, shower facilities, and rafting rentals.