Operations: Sai Kung
Sha Ha Rd – inside gate – Commercial Carpark
Sai Kung, New Territories,
Hong Kong SAR
Operations: Ocean Education Centre
16b Kei Ling Ha San Wai
Kei Ling Ha San Wai, New Territories,
Hong Kong SAR
This 6 km sea kayak trip features the British history and natural beauty of Hong Kong. It also joins the famous Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail for anyone wishing to combine a half day hike with this easy sea kayak trip.
This trip can be done in most conditions – except when the the wind is from the south-east blowing greater than 20 km per hour.
The British first settled on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island at a place called Stanley. It is a beachside village and very popular tourist destination, famous for its markets and waterfront promenade. On the northern side of Stanley is a wide, deep bay called Tai Tam (Wan). The Stanley Main Beach in Tai Tam Bay is a very busy watersports centre for windsurfing, dragonboating and water skiing. This coast of the bay is well developed with many luxury villas and even high rise buildings fronting the it.
However, the opposite coast is a total contrast. It comprises a stretch of abandoned villages dotted along a serious of small beaches and forest clad hillsides, flowing creeks and cascading waterfalls. It is this contrast that makes the easy paddle around Tai Tam Wan a beautiful and interesting sea kayak trip.
Looking south across Tai Tam Bay towards the South China Sea.
The circular route of this kayak trip starts at a semi abandoned village on the northern coast of the bay. The hike down from the road to the waterfront crosses section 7 of the Hong Kong Trail ( a hiking trail running west to east across Hong Kong Island). After a 15 minute descent, it is hard to believe that you are still in Hong Kong – its as if you have plunged back in time.
Departing the Hong Kong Sea Kayak Club HQ, we follow the coast in a westward direction, paddling inland. This takes us further into the bay, passing abandoned villages, wartime relics (piil boxes designed to defend Hong Kong against the Japanese invasion forces in WW2), traditional Taoist and Buddhist temples. As we progress deeper inland the soft white sand beaches are replaced by muddy mangrove forests and moored luxury yachts replaced by traditional sampans and fishing boats, finally ending at the face of Hong Kong’s largest dam wall – the impressive Tai Tam Reservoir wall. This was the main freshwater source for Hong Kong in the early 1900’s and is still in use today.
Returning back into the bay we follow the opposite coast passing under the ‘famous’ Redhill Apartments, built in the late 80’s. This was supposed to be the most luxurious housing development in Hong Kong but due to construction issues, beacame a bit of a white elephant. Below these “multi-million dollar mediteranean style homes” live squatters in tents and tin shacks, fishing from abandoned boats and windsurfers washed ashore in past typhoons. The contrast is staggering – but as we say here – this is Hong Kong!
If the conditions are suitable, we round the Redcliff headland, passing by the old obelisk built sometime in the 19th century, back into the main section of Tai Tam Bay. The coastline here is more eroded, pulverised by the large swells that enter the bay from the south east. Small sea caves are tempting to paddle into if the day is calm. Stanley is now back in view on our right as we change directions one more time and paddle back across the bay. Our destination is a beautiful beach on the northern coast for a brief break, snack and a swim before returning back to the sea kayak base.
The Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail runs along the ridge behind the kayak centre and is easily accessible from here. As a bonus for people wishing to start or finish their day exploring Hong Kong’s rich natural environment, combine hiking one of Hong Kong’s most famous and beautiful trails with this easy and diverse sea kayak trip.