8 hidden beaches in Hong Kong

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CNN  — 

Hong Kong is known to dazzle visitors with its neon skyline and urban canyons. But don’t let that glittery cosmopolitan facade fool you.

The territory is home to more than 260 outlying islands, 100-plus beaches and endless miles of raw coastline.

Sunseekers may already be familiar with popular sandy spots such as Repulse Bay, Stanley and Shek O. But it’s worth seeking out farther-flung crescents for cleaner sand and clearer water, too.

Here are some of Hong Kong’s more hidden beaches, which you might even have all to yourself when you travel:

Long Ke Wan

Long Ke Wan Beach: Soft white sands.

The sandy stretches of Sai Kung East Country Park could be straight out of the Philippines, especially the stunning soft white sands of Long Ke Wan.

Backed by forested hillsides and overlooking clear water, this beach isn’t easy to reach but it’s well worth the journey.

Hiking over the first hill from the nearby High Island Reservoir, travelers are rewarded with sweeping views of the South China Sea and a picture-perfect crescent sweep of sand, all surrounded by mountains.

The remote location in Hong Kong’s northeastern corner protects the beach from overuse. Long Ke Wan is just the beginning of a string of beautiful beaches along Tai Long Wan bay.

Getting there: From Diamond Hill MTR , a 30-minute taxi ride reaches the High Island Reservoir. From there it’s another 30-minutes on foot.

Tung Ping Chau

Tung Ping Chau is one of the best places to snorkel in Hong Kong.

Located in the northeast corner of Mirs Bay – closer to Shenzhen, China, than to Hong Kong – Tung Ping Chau is the city’s most remote island.

The sunny speck in the sea features curious rocks formations along the coastline, great snorkeling, clean water and soft, sandy beaches.

To break up the day, follow the island’s three-hour-long walking trail through the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark to explore the many natural formations and rock pools.

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Hong Kong's best beaches
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Along the way, you can stop in Tai Tong Village for refreshments, though we’d recommend coming prepared with your own supplies.

Getting there: Ferries to Tung Ping Chau depart from Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier, in northeastern Hong Kong, and take roughly 1.5 hours each way. As ferry services are limited, it’s wise to check times before the journey.

Ham Tin Wan

Ham Tin Wan: Clear water, rugged mountains.

A discussion about Hong Kong’s most beautiful beaches never fails to include a mention of Tai Long Wan.

The remote bay is home to four beaches – Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan and Tung Wan – each separated by hills.

You’ll need to set aside an entire day to hike from beach to beach. But if you prefer to focus on just one of the four, we’d recommend Ham Tin Wan.

Not only does the beach offer clear water and rugged mountain scenery, but there’s more infrastructure here – think a snack stall, bathrooms and water sport rentals.

Along the trek from Sai Wan beach to Ham Tin, you’ll come across Sheung Luk Stream, which branches into the woods. Follow this stream for about 15 minutes until you reach tiered waterfalls and a series of rock pools.

It’s the perfect place for a quick swim, picnic or bout of cliff jumping (at your own risk) before continuing on to Ham Tin.

Getting there: Departing from Central, make your way to Sai Kung Village. From there, you can either take a kaito ferry or minibus No. 29R to the trailhead at Sai Wan Pavilion. If hiking, the journey takes about 40 minutes to reach Sai Wan.

Lo So Shing

Find yourself an empty plot on Lo So Shing beach.

On the western coast of Lamma Island, this quiet beach is oft overlooked in favor of the more popular Powerstation or Hung Shing Ye beaches.

But after a short hike, you’ll be rewarded with exceptionally clean water and, quite possibly, a cove all to yourself.

The facilities are pretty bare bones here – there’s a refreshment stand, some water sports vendors and bathrooms – but the powdery sand is hard to beat.

After hitting the beach, visitors can wander up to Yung Shue Wan village for a leisurely lunch or sunset drinks.

Getting there: From Central, take the ferry to Sok Kwu Wan fishing village and follow the Family Walk for roughly 20 minutes. When you reach the hilltop pavilion, turn left and walk downhill until you reach Lo So Shing.

Turtle Cove

It’s nearly impossible to find a quiet plot of sand on Hong Kong island, but Turtle Cove might be the rare outlier.

This oft deserted beach sits on the southern side of the island, just south of Tai Tam Reservoir.

You can’t see it from above, as it’s hidden at the bottom of 200-some stairs.

Descending through the tree-fringed corridor, the beach finally comes into sight – nothing but golden sands and mountain scenery in sight.

On site, there are a few government-run facilities, including lifeguards in season, barbecue pits, toilets and a refreshment kiosk.

Getting there: From Sai Wan Ho MTR station, take Bus No. 15 to the Tai Tam Reservoir.

Hoi Ha Wan

Hoi Wa Wan beach is home to an abundance of marine life.

On the northern coast of Sai Kung East Country Park, Hoi Ha Wan usually draws kayakers, snorkelers and nature lovers.

Part of a protected marine park, the boulder-hugged beach is home to an abundance of colorful marine life, including more than 120 species of fish, 60 types of hard coral and labyrinthine mangrove forests.

Back on land, there’s a scenic village that’s home to traditional temples and a few observation points.

At the village, you can stock up on snacks, drinks and snorkeling gear before diving in.

Getting there: From Sai Kung Village, take Minibus No. 7 to Hoi Ha Tsuen Village and make your way to the beach.

Tong Fuk Beach

A small strip of sand on Lantau Island’s southern coast, Tong Fuk Beach offers the best of both worlds.

It’s within walking distance to more popular Cheung Sha beaches, where you’ll find popular beach bars such as Bathers … but just far enough that it’s nearly always deserted.

Tong Fuk Beach doesn’t provide much more than a changing room and toilets; however, what it lacks in infrastructure, it makes up for with firm gray sand, clean water and spectacular sunsets.

Getting there: Take the ferry from Central to Mui Wo, then catch Bus No. 1 to South Lantau and alight near the beach.

Hap Mun Wan

Sharp Island's "Half Moon Bay."

Meaning “Half Moon Bay,” Hap Mun Wan is one of the most remote beaches in the territory. It’s no secret to Hong Kong residents, but few travelers make the hike.

Located on Sharp Island off the coast of Sai Kung, in northeastern Hong Kong, the beach can only be accessed via a kaito (local ferry), which you can catch from the Sai Kung Town pier.

Once you reach the beach, you’ll find a brilliant stretch of golden sand, Grade 1 water (the cleanest in Hong Kong) and leafy hills on either side.

The government-run beach includes all the basic services, including snack kiosks, toilets and barbecue pits. But be sure to pack your own lunch – plus lots of sunscreen.

Also on the island, adventurous travelers may want to tackle the one-hour trek northwest through Kiu Tsui Country Park.

Part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, the western coast is home to volcanic rock formations – dubbed “pineapple bun rocks” due to their resemblance to a namesake Hong Kong baked good – and a tombolo (natural sand levee) that connects to smaller Kiu Tau island.

Getting there: At Sai Kung Village, hop on the next kaito at the pier. If you’re on a tight timeline, you can also hire a private boat.