mother and two sons exploring Tung Ping Chau Hong Kong
The landscape on Tung Ping Chau is surreal.

Introduction

Welcome to Tung Ping Chau, an enchanting island located in the northeastern corner of Hong Kong. Perfect for active and intrepid families, Tung Ping Chau offers a blend of unique geological formations, rich history, and exciting outdoor activities.

From the moment you step off the ferry, you’ll be greeted by azure blue water, setting the stage for the island’s breathtaking beauty. This guide will help you plan a family-friendly adventure to Tung Ping Chau, ensuring everyone in your family enjoys a fun, safe, and educational experience.

turquoise water at Tung Ping Chau
The water is truly this color on Tung Ping Chau.

If you have any questions/comments about anything, please leave them below.

Ecologically Responsible Tourism

boys standing in front of the Tung Ping Chau Marine Park sign
Tung Ping Chau is a marine park, so follow Leave No Trace principles.

When visiting Tung Ping Chau, practicing ecologically responsible tourism is essential. The island, a designated marine park, boasts delicate ecosystems and unique geological formations that need protection.

As visitors, we must minimize our impact by following a few key principles:

  • Carry out all trash
  • Avoid disturbing wildlife
  • Stay on designated trails
  • Refrain from collecting any natural souvenirs.

By respecting these guidelines, and more broadly Leave No Trace principles, we help preserve Tung Ping Chau’s natural beauty and biodiversity for future generations to enjoy.

A Brief History

Tung Ping Chau, also known simply as Ping Chau, boasts a rich history stretching back thousands of years. Originally inhabited by the Hakka people, the island was once a bustling fishing village. In later years, it became known for quarrying and farming.

Today, Tung Ping Chau is part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, renowned for its unique sedimentary rock formations and diverse marine life. As you explore the island, you’ll get a sense of its historical significance while immersing yourself in its pristine natural environment.

A Bit About The Geology

One of the most fascinating aspects of Tung Ping Chau is its geology. The island is famous for its sedimentary rock formations, which are a rarity in Hong Kong.

sedimentary rocks on Tung Ping Chau
Igneous rocks are the most common in Hong Kong overall, but on Tung Ping Chau sedimentary rocks dominate the landscape.

Comprised primarily of shale, siltstone, and chert, these rocks have been sculpted by millions of years of geological activity. The result is a stunning array of coastal cliffs, wave-cut platforms, and unique features like the Kang Lau Shek sea stacks and Lung Lok Shui, where the rocks appear to be “flowing” into the sea. This geological wonderland is a fantastic outdoor classroom for young explorers.

Of the many geological formations you can view, a few we most enjoyed were:

  • Tofu Rocks: These rectangular rock formations resemble blocks of tofu and are a result of the unique weathering patterns on the island’s sedimentary rocks.
  • Wave-Cut Platforms: Found along the coast, these flat, expansive rock surfaces are formed by the relentless action of waves, providing a fascinating look at geological processes.
wave cut platforms on Tung Ping Chau
The wave-cut platforms were very engaging for the boys.
wave cut platforms
There was plenty of room to roam.
  • Shale Cliffs: Steep and layered, these cliffs reveal the sedimentary nature of Tung Ping Chau’s geology and offer a striking contrast to the blue waters below.
mother and son resting on shale cliffs on Tung Ping Chau
The shale cliffs were easy to climb and made for a nice rest spot.

Popular Trails And Experiences

Once you arrive, you’ll find several trails catering to different interests and fitness levels. Here are some highlights:

  • Tung Ping Chau Country Trail: This main trail loops around the island, taking you through diverse landscapes, from rocky shores to lush forests. The loop is about 6 km and can be completed in 3-4 hours, depending on your pace and how often you stop to admire the views.
shaded spot on Tung Ping Chau Country Trail
There are a few shaded spots on the Tung Ping Chau Country Trail
  • Lung Lok Shui: Known as the “Dragon Spout,” this area features rock formations that look like they’re flowing into the sea. It’s a favorite spot for kids to explore and take photos.
  • Kang Lau Shek: These sea stacks are among the most photographed features on the island. The walk here is relatively easy and provides fantastic views of the rock formations and the sea.
  • Cham Keng Chau: A smaller island accessible during low tide. It’s an exciting spot for kids to explore tidal pools and discover marine life.

Points Of Interest

  • A Ma Wan: This beach area is perfect for a family picnic and some relaxation by the sea.
  • Tin Hau Temple: A small, historic temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea, reflecting the island’s fishing heritage.
Tin Hau Temple on Tung Ping Chau
Tin Hau Temple is certainly worth a visit.
  • Fossilized Coral Reefs: Along the coastline, you can find ancient coral fossils embedded in the rocks, offering a peek into the island’s prehistoric past.
  • Old Hakka Houses: Scattered around the island, these old houses give insight into the traditional way of life of the island’s original inhabitants.
ruins of Hakka houses on Tung Ping Chau
The boys really enjoyed the ruins.

Tung Ping Chau Cultural Heratige

On a trip to Tung Ping Chau, you’ll encounter a rich tapestry of cultural heritage that brings the island’s history to life.

boys looking at Hakka ruins on Tung Ping Chau
The boys were eager to explore the ruins, but for the sake of being respectful and safe, we dissuaded them from doing so.

These heritage sites, along with the serene village ambiance and remnants of past quarrying and farming activities, provide a fascinating journey through Tung Ping Chau’s cultural and historical landscape, enriching your visit beyond its natural beauty.

Tung Ping Chau Camping

If your family loves camping, Tung Ping Chau offers a fantastic opportunity to spend a night under the stars. The designated Tung Ping Chau Campsite is equipped with basic facilities such as picnic tables and toilets. We had lunch here, but we didn’t stay the night.

lunch stop at the Tung Ping Chau campsite
The Tung Ping Chau campsite was a convenient stop for our chicken pesto pasta and kimbap lunch!

Camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty, enjoy a night of stargazing, and wake up to the sound of waves. Remember to bring all necessary camping gear and supplies, as there are no large shops on the island.

Snorkeling

Tung Ping Chau’s clear, azure waters make it an excellent spot for snorkeling. The island’s marine park status ensures a rich diversity of marine life, including colorful coral reefs and various fish species. Snorkeling provides a fantastic opportunity for kids and tweens to explore the underwater world up close.

Remember to bring your snorkeling gear, and always practice eco-friendly snorkeling by avoiding contact with coral and marine creatures. This way, you can enjoy the vibrant underwater ecosystem while helping to preserve it for future generations.

Recommended Gear

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip to Tung Ping Chau, it’s crucial to be well-prepared, especially considering the island’s strong sun and limited shade. Here’s a list of essential gear to bring:

  • Sun Hats, Sunglasses, High-SPF Sunscreen, Shade Umbrella: Protect your face and eyes from the intense sun. Apply generously and frequently to prevent sunburn. Consider bringing a small, portable sunshade or umbrella to create your own shade during breaks.
  • Lightweight, Long-Sleeved Shirts and Pants: Wear breathable clothing that covers your skin to provide additional protection from the sun.
  • Sturdy Walking Shoes: Ensure everyone has proper footwear for navigating rocky terrain and trails.
  • Plenty of Water: Hydration is key. Bring enough water for the entire family, especially since there are no facilities to refill bottles on the island.
  • Snacks: Pack energy-boosting snacks to keep everyone fueled during your hike.
  • Portable First Aid Kit: Be prepared for minor injuries with band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications.
  • Insect Repellent: Keep bugs at bay, particularly if you plan to explore the more wooded areas.
  • Lightweight, Portable Chairs or Blankets: Perfect for picnics and rest breaks.
  • Trash Bags: Carry out all your waste to keep the island pristine.
  • Camera or Smartphone: Capture the beautiful scenery and memorable moments.

With these items, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy all that Tung Ping Chau has to offer while staying safe and comfortable under the strong sun.

Family-Specific Tips

  1. Plan Ahead: Check the ferry schedule and weather forecast. Pack all essentials, as there are no shops on the island. Book ferry tickets online. See below for details.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Bring plenty of water, especially on hot days. The trails here offer little shade.
  3. Consider Hold Hands: Many spots are slippery, and many also have large cracks/gaps. Holding your little’s hands may be necessary on some parts of Tung Ping Chau.
mother holding sons hands while traversing slippery rocks on Tung Ping Chau in Hong Kong
Some of the rocks were slippery enough that we held the boys’ hands.
  1. Take Breaks: The trails can be challenging for younger kids. Plan regular breaks and carry snacks to keep energy levels up.
two boys taking a break on the rocks of Tung Ping Chau
Taking breaks will help you enjoy the scenery and recharge.
Two boys sitting on sedimentary rocks on Tung Ping Chau
We tried to find a shady spot, but this was the best we could do.
  1. Explore Safely: The rocky terrain can be slippery. Ensure everyone has sturdy footwear and be cautious around cliffs and tidal areas. Spot your children if they want to climb, and make sure they climb within their ability level.
two boys climbing rocks on Tung Ping Chau
The climbing was very mellow, but make sure to spot your kids if you feel it’s necessary.
  1. Educational Fun: Encourage kids to observe and learn about the unique geology and marine life. Bring along a nature guidebook or download apps for identifying plants and animals.

Getting There

boy smiling on the the Traway Travel Limited Ferry at Mal Liu Shui Ferry pier
We bought our ferry tickets ahead of time online, so Peri was happy we didn’t have to wait in the long line.

Reaching Tung Ping Chau involves a bit of planning, but it’s all part of the adventure. To put it simply, take the Traway Travel Limited Ferry from the Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier near the University MTR Station. (Unless you read Chinese, you’ll need to translate the Traway website into a language of your choice. )

The ferry ride lasts about 1.5 hours, offering beautiful views of the sea and surrounding islands.

boy staring at the wake of the Traway 
Travel Limited Ferry boat wake
Kai loved looking at the wake on the ferry boat.
mother and sons on the ferry boat to Tung Ping Chau
There are several places on the ferry at which you can stretch your legs and enjoy the sea air!

Be sure to check the ferry schedule ahead of time, as services are limited, and at the time of writing are unavailable on weekdays.

TIP: We recommend you book your ferry tickets online ahead of time to avoid waiting in a long line at the Ma Li Shui Ferry Pier. If you choose to buy tickets on the spot, arrive early, to avoid ending up at the back of the line, or possibly not getting a ticket at all.

TIP: If you get on the boat early enough, you can secure some of the few seats that are located around a table – a small but nice luxury on the long ferry ride.

family photo on the ferry boat to Tung Ping Chau
Having the table was nice for eating and playing games.

Nearby Experiences

If you have extra time, consider exploring other nearby attractions:

  • Bride’s Pool and Mirror Pool: Located in Plover Cove Country Park, these natural pools are great for a refreshing swim.
  • Lai Chi Wo Village: A well-preserved Hakka village with heritage houses and ancient trees.
  • Kat O and Tap Mun Islands: Both offer scenic hikes and unique cultural experiences.

Conclusion

Tung Ping Chau is a remarkable destination that promises an adventurous and educational experience for the whole family. From its stunning geological formations to its rich history and diverse marine life, the island offers something for everyone. With the right preparation and an adventurous spirit, your family will create memories to last a lifetime.

FAQ

Q: How long does it take to explore Tung Ping Chau?
A: Plan for a full day to explore the main trails and points of interest. If camping, you can spread activities over two days.

Q: Are there any food and drink facilities on the island?
A: No, there are a few small shops and restaurants, but we still suggest you bring all the necessary food and water.

boy and mother sharing a cold dou fu fah on Tung Ping Chau
This cold dou fu fah (tofu pudding) was extra tasty in the hot weather.

Q: Is there mobile phone reception on the island?
A: Mobile reception can be spotty. It’s a good idea to let someone know your plans before heading out.

Q: What is the best time to visit Tung Ping Chau?
A: The best time to visit is during the cooler months, from October to April, to avoid the intense summer heat.

Q: Can I bring my pet to Tung Ping Chau?
A: Pets are allowed, but they must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.

Enjoy your adventure to Tung Ping Chau, and make the most of this unique and beautiful part of Hong Kong!

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