If you ask the majority of people what Hong Kong’s like you’ll generally be told that it’s full of giant skyscrapers and that it's turbo-paced, noisy, crowded and truly 24/7. While this isn’t at all inaccurate, it’s not the full story - a short hop outside of the city centre and you have green country parks, breathtakingly beautiful walking trails and really pretty beaches. Some of Hong Kong’s more accessible beaches can get a little dirty and crowded, Tai Long Wan, a beach up in the New Territories, is a real slice of paradise. It’s not the easiest place to get to which means that it's often really quiet, verging on deserted. The sand is fine and buttery yellow, the water’s clear and clean; you could easily mistake it for a beach on one of the calmer Thai islands.
Head out here first thing and when the sun gets too much, enjoy lunch at one of the rustic beach bars which serve up cold beers to wash down noodles, fried rice and basic seafood (don't expect lobster and scallops). While a day trip is entirely possible, for a real getaway, you can rent camping equipment for a very a reasonable price from one of the beach bars which means that you can camp right on the sand. There’s nothing nicer than ending a day of sunbathing and swimming with a few Tsing Taos around the campfire under a starry sky and then waking up the next day with the waves lapping a stone’s throw from your tent.
How to get there: the lazy route is via speedboat from Saikung – if you head to Saikung harbour you can hire a speedboat taxi which, depending on how choppy the water is, should be able to take you directly to the beach in around 30 minutes. If the water’s too rough, the boats won’t go (and having been on a moderately rough journey, I really wouldn’t recommend it). The more energetic route is to take a taxi to Saikung Country Park and hike in. The hike takes around an hour and a half and is hilly. The beach awaiting you at the end is well worth the effort though and the views on the way in are very pretty too. For the high rollers, there are helipads on the beaches and there are always a couple of Sunseekers moored just off the beach.
Google map: bit.ly/JZ0IIs
* Natalie is our local for Hong Kong. You can read all about her here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/hong-kong-local-natalie-robinson.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/natalierobinson
She also has her own blog at: www.3badmice.com/
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