For Solitude: Tai Long Wan
A deserted stretch of pristine sand in eastern Sai Kung, Tai Long Wan offers little in the way of facilities and requires commitment to reach – factors that effectively keep Hong Kong’s crowds at bay. It’s a scenic, 90-minute walk to get here from the nearest road (the drop-off point is Sai Wan Pavilion). Another method to get to the beach is via boat from Sai Kung Pier. Although it is possible to visit for the day, many opt for a night under canvas for a taste of just how peaceful Hong Kong can really be.
For a Social Life: Repulse Bay
Just 20 minutes from Central, in Hong Kong’s Southern District, Repulse Bay features a wide, curved beach with plenty of space to socialise. Spend the day swimming, sunbathing and watching the city’s sleekest yachts sail by before heading to The Pulse. This beachfront complex is home to a variety of restaurants, including the coastal-chic Limewood, which serves seafood bites alongside chilled cocktails and craft brews. It’s the perfect spot for sundowners with friends.
For a Workout: Big Wave Bay
Ringed by lush, tropical greenery and dramatic peaks, Big Wave Bay in Southern District (next to Shek O) allows avid hikers to combine their beach day with a satisfying walk along the famous Dragon’s Back trail. After winding their way down to the sand, ravenous hikers are greeted with food stalls serving casual bites and cold beers. Once there, you can settle down with a good book – but the waves will beckon. As its name suggests, this is one of the city’s best surfing spots.
For Families: Stanley Main Beach and St Stephen’s Beach
The two main beaches in Stanley, at the far southern end of Hong Kong Island, benefit from clean changing rooms for rinsing sandy toes, rock pools that teem with sealife and close proximity to the bustling Stanley Plaza, where you’ll find plenty of family-friendly dining. Look for a table near the large ship-themed playground, which enables parents to enjoy a glass of wine alfresco while the kids trade pirate tales.
For Watersports: Pui O Beach
Look no further than sleepy Pui O in South Lantau for an adrenaline-fuelled beach day. You can bring your own gear to go body boarding, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or even camping on the beach, but all the necessary equipment is also available for rent at beachside shop Treasure Island. There’s a good chance of getting to watch a few of Lantau Island’s friendly, wild water buffalo roam the sand.
For Windsurfing: Kwun Yam Beach
Overlooked by most visitors to Cheung Chau, this secluded cove comes with a great view of Hong Kong Island. It’s also where Hong Kong Olympic windsurfing champion Lee Lai-shan once trained. Refuel at Hing Kee Beach Store, a seaside cafe that has been run by the same family for more than 70 years.
For Pristine Water: Hap Mun Bay
Hong Kong’s least polluted beach, according to data from the Environmental Protection Department, this crescent-shaped stretch of sand on Sharp Island in Sai Kung has crystal-clear azure water.