Hike Lamma Island, but Avoid the Crowds – Explore Yung Shue Ha Beach or Sham Wan Beach
If you’re keen to hike Lamma Island, but you want to avoid the crowds, head to Yung Shue Ha beach, and on your way back make sure to loop up to Ling Kok Shan (mountain). Alternatively, if you want to see one of the last remaining places in Southern China where green sea turtles lay their eggs, you’ll want to check out Sham Wan Beach. A word of WARNING. Sham Wan is closed from June 1st to October 31st to ensure the turtles nesting there are not disturbed. Violators face a HK$50,000 (~US$6,300) fine for disobeying this regulation. For your own sake, as well as for sake of the turtles laying their eggs, please obey this rule. Yung Shue Ha on the other hand is open year round.
No matter which place you choose to go however, we have all the details for you below, so get reading, grab your gear, and then get hiking!
If you’d prefer a guided tour of Lamma Island, click below to let us know, and we’ll get back to you ASAP!
We also recommend that if you visit either beach that you bring a garbage bag or two and do a bit of a beach clean up during your visit. If we all do a little bit each time, these beaches will remain as spectacular as they currently are!
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What You’ll Need to Bring when you Hike Lamma Island
Like we just mentioned, bring a trash bag or two, and carry out some trash you may find on the beach. You’ll get good karma for it, and if you end up cleaning garbage off Sham Wan beach, you’ll be making the turtles happy too!
Day Hiking Gear
Some of the routes we list below for either Yung Shue Ha or Sham Wan beach don’t have much shade. On a hot, sunny, summer day here in Hong Kong, this means you’ll need to be prepared.
When you hike to either Yung Shue Ha or Sham Wan beach you’ll want to bring AT LEAST 2 liters of water per person.
We use these Hydro Flask water bottles. They are rugged, clearly reusable, and insulated.* In the summer months we usually fill them with cold water and/or ice, and in the winter we fill them with something warm. We also feel as though we’re being environmental stewards by using them too, as we realize how it’s ever important to always be living greener lives here in Hong Kong.
There are some public toilets along one of the routes (with sinks of course), so if you have a water filtration device such as this one , you can safely refill your bottles along the way or use it to drink right from the tap! Without a filter however, I would not recommend drinking from the sinks in the bathrooms. On the weekends you might be able to buy some water/sodas from the villagers in either Tung O or Yung Shue Ha, but make sure you have enough to drink in the event that they aren’t selling anything
There is really not much shade along our routes. So, if you hike Lamma Island and either Yung Shue Ha or Sham Wan, you will definitely want a sun umbrella. We use something like this, and it gives us a good bit of shade.
Make sure to put on some sunscreen before you hit the trail, and also make sure to bring some extra so you can reapply it once you’ve started to sweat it off!
We usually hike with these poles, but on both of these routes, which don’t have intense downhills, we’d say they are optional.
In the warm weather, we consider rain jackets optional. However, if you hike at night or in the cooler months, you’ll definitely want your raincoat/wind breaking layer. Women, we recommend this Marmot raincoat*, and men, this Marmot raincoat is what we recommend.
On the topic of night hiking, if you do decide to hike Lamma Island and either Yung Shue Ha or Sham Wan beach at night, you’ll need a head torch. We use these ones. Definitely bring a spare torch as well as extra batteries.
If you’re using your phone to navigate, bring a power bank. We often use our phones out on the trails to look at Google Maps, so we seldom leave home without our power bank.
No matter the time of year you hike Lamma Island and either Yung Shue Ha or Sham Wan beach, you’ll want bug repellent. Anything with a good bit of DEET will do!
Difficulty and Distance – Hike Lamma Island
We mentioned this above, but given its importance, we will mention it again. Sham Wan beach is closed from June 1st to October 31st to ensure the turtles nesting there are not disturbed. Violators face a HK$50,000 (~US$6,300) fine for disobeying this regulation. For your own sake, as well as for sake of the turtles laying their eggs, please obey this rule. Yung Shue Ha beach on the other hand is open year round.
EXCLUDING the bushwhacking route, (which you’ll see in our Hike Lamma Island Google Map) all of these routes are suitable for beginner/intermediate hikers. If instead of completing any of the potential loops you simply go out and back on the same trail, these would even be suitable for beginners.
Have a look at our our Hike Lamma Island Google Map, and then we’ll explain some details below. Also, don’t forget to click on the menu button to see the map legend. Once you see the legend you can tick and un-tick the boxes to see the different routes.
Yung Shue Ha Beach Loop
Distance: ~6.2 km / 3.85mi: This loop is suitable for intermediate/advanced hikers.
Elevation Gain: 376 m / 1233 ft
Formal Trail – To Sham Wan Beach (Return Trip)
~4km / 2.5mi: This trail is suitable for beginner/intermediate hikers.
Bushwhacking Trail – To Sham Wan Beach (Return Trip)
~4km / 2.5mi: This loop is suitable for advanced hikers only.
Water Along The Route – Hike Lamma Island
There are some public toilets along one of the routes (with sinks of course), so if you have a water filtration device such as this one , you can safely refill your bottles along the way or use it to drink right from the tap! Without a filter however, I would not recommend drinking from the sinks in the bathrooms. On the weekends you might be able to buy some water/sodas from the villagers in either Tung O or Yung Shue Ha beach, but make sure you have enough to drink in the event that they aren’t selling anything. We recommend at least 2 liters of water per person.
Getting There – Hike Lamma Island
(How to get to Sok Kwa Wan – The Starting Point of This Hike)
Getting to Sok Kwa Wan is quite easy! Just hop aboard the #4 Ferry from the Central Ferry Pier, and ~35 minutes later, you’ll be there. Here is the timetable for the #4 ferry.
Alternatively, you can get to Sok Kwa Wan by taking the ferry at the Aberdeen Ferry Pier, and of course, you’ll want to look at the Aberdeen ferry timetable if you choose to depart from here.
Follow our Hike Lamma Island Google Map
Once you’ve reached Sok Kwa Wan, just follow our hike Lamma Island Google Map, and you’ll be good to go!
Again however, if you’d prefer for us to show you all the nooks and crannies of Lamma, click below, and we’ll start making arrangements with you ASAP!
The Sights that Await You!
We don’t want to be total spoilers, so here are just a few of the sites you’ll see along the way! Some of these come from the Yung Shue Ha Beach Loop, some come from the Sham Wan Beach Formal trail, and others come from the Sham Wan Beach Bushwhacking trail! They are all beautiful, so give them all a go!
Go Hike Lamma Island
Now you have all you need to go hike Lamma Island, and this one is spectacular! The costal views, the lush jungle and the desolate beaches make it one of my favorites! And, if this hike has wet your whistle for the spectacular, you will definitely want to check out our piece on the Ng Tung Chai Waterfall Hike up in Tai Po or if you’re not too scared of heights Suicide Cliff over in Kowloon!
Whatever you do, leave us a comment below or drop us a line here letting us know what you think about all of this!
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thanks to articles like this and people like you, these beaches will be ruined. Hopefully the endangered turtles will be OK.
Thanks guys, an excellent job.
Thanks for you comment, and I’m sorry if we’ve upset you. We strongly believe in peoples good nature, thus we’re confident that people will not visit the beach during the closed season we’ve mentioned in the article above. We’re also confident that people will bring trash bags, also as we’ve mentioned, and partake in the very important task of helping to clean up the beach. If you’d like to chat further, we welcome it here or via e-mail at email@example.com
Well, I also don’t believe the beaches will be ruined by hikers; nor that daytime visitors are much of a threat to turtles, which favour nesting at night. [Just found this article while I’m writing a piece on S Lamma hike]
Boat traffic, however, may well disturb turtles thinking of nesting at Sham Wan. Pretty much uncontrolled right now; no anchoring areas could surely help, but none just now.
And this marine project is still being planned for se Lamma; surely a threat http://marinaprojects.com/projects/other-projects/the-baroque-on-lamma
Thanks for your comment here! 🙂 Your idea about the no anchoring areas is a GREAT one! Sounds like letter to the editor fodder! Cheers!
2 years late, but came across your article. Thanks for sharing. Really helpful.
Also, can’t help but give my own 2 cent regarding Steve and his comment. He sounds like the typical selfish hypocrite who isn’t so much concern about the turtles, but is more concern that the beach might now get more traffic and HE, who loves the beach for its serenity, is afraid that his sanctuary might be ruined by more people visiting the beach. So now, he’s just hating you for sharing information.
And yes, like you, I believe people who sought out a secluded beach like this are generally more aware of cleanliness. Fingers crossed that they do.
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Thank you for your kind words Jade!