One of the most remote & cute places in Hong Kong. Get ready for some complicated logistics or a really long day out hiking and swimming.
- Beauty/fun: 6.5/10 Furthermost point of the Hong Kong geopark. Interesting rocks, coastline seldom walked on, cultural heritage, contraposition of nature in HK Vs big city Shenzhen.
- Difficulty (check this link if new here, this is not your standard HK hiking web): 8/10 The coasteering can be relatively simple, same for the hiking paths. But the total distance (approx 40km), swimming and remoteness might make it a daunting challenge for most. With a support boat it is a simple day out.
Crooked, Crescent & Double islands are relatively close to the peninsula, but due to their location (far from urban areas) and lack of public transportation, are infrequently hiked on. You can simplify the outing with a public ferry to a nearby area or hiring a boat (kaito or junk). Here in my own challenge mode and alternatives explained later.
Early morning MTR to Tai Po market and taxi up to Bride’s Pool BBQ area. If you are going to try the full route without running, I would highly recommend you to start even earlier with direct taxi to this point, arriving with the sunrise.
From here I started running East direction. If you see the map you might think that there is an easier route a bit more North (marked, red, on the map). It is indeed more direct and less steep but very bushy when I went there. So I was way faster through the main path on the hill (Tai Tung). Find your way down (NE) to the coast through a faint path after the peak of Mount Newland. It was bit overgrown (May 2018) but nothing compared with the previous.
Once down you will see the first section to swim. The channel to Double island is short, 100m approx. Perfect to test your gear. Here what I was bringing on:
From top to bottom and left to right. Shoes, arm protectors, headlamp and power bank just in case, best socks (for me), cap, gloves, swimming paddles, goggles, waterproof phone casing, body glide, sunscreen, gels, bars and other edibles, thermal t-shirt & emergency blanket, mess cutter, personal locator beacon, GPS watch. Additionally, I also had a 3L water bladder & coffee + Perpetuem 0.5L bottle. Everything within my UD adventure backpack and several zipper bags for the things I wanted to keep dry.
In both shores, you will find red rocks all around.
The Northern shore is quite flat and easy to hike on. There are several sand areas,
mangrove like muddy zones with trees growing from the sea,
and tons of rocks till you arrive at the furthest point.
You could go coasteer on the South shoreline instead, green line. The route is significantly more rugged and complicated.
It is more beautiful too, cause its rocks and also the beach almost in the connection point with the Northern route.
Swin to Crescent Island. Here I hiked for very little time. But if you have the opportunity there is a really nice path from the beach up in this direction.
It takes you, through a bit bushy but not unpleasant path (2015), up to the hill from where you will have, in a clear day, really nice views of the area.
Once finished with Crescent I swam & coasteer (although you could skip the latter if in a rush and you prefer the swimming) to this point
in Crooked Island, from where I started the dry hiking path section.
There is a route well hiked and with some areas which are completely prepared for the “tourists”.
There are several companies that arrange private tours to come to the island for a day trip. Kat O (Cantonese name) has a short Nature Trail, the Geoheritage Centre, several small shops selling sweets and a couple of restaurants. I took a little rest, eat some and continue my journey. The paths in the SW side of the island are way less clear. Bit of bush walking, seeing a Chinese cobra, finding my way till finally I was able to see the shoreline.
There is a nice beach area here with quite some wild life (birds, seafood, etc). Also a little tombolo.
Time to swim again. This is the longest section and by far the most tricky. There can be quite some boats around. So after checking that there was none speeding in the distance, I swam to the two intermediate islands before landing again in the peninsula. Interesting coloured rocks,
and bit more of a muddy area before arriving at Lai Chi Wo. Three centuries old Hakka village with interesting constructions.
Another possible water and food replenishing point. There is also the possibility of taking a ferry back from here on Sundays. In my case, I did not need any of the previous two and just continued up the street
connect with hiking paths
taking you back to Bride’s Pool. Here some more pics and Instagram story videos with the timings if are helpful as a reference.
As I have mentioned several times there is another way easier option to visit most of it. I have gone once with a hiking group on a hired boat. Meet in Ma Liu Shui and do this route. Including the hike up the hill in Crescent island, visiting the beak of the “Duck island” (Ap Chau) and hiking a little part of Kat O.