Lamma Island, Hong Kong

Photo: Okuko at wikivoyage shared [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Okuko at wikivoyage shared [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
After a few days in Hong Kong, you need a break. You love the energy, the crowds, the bright lights, and the soaring skyscrapers—to an extent. But now, you’re starting to feel a bit dizzy. Not ill, just overwhelmed. You need to find some fresh air and green grass fast.

Luckily, Lamma Island is just a quick ferry ride from Central. Hong Kong’s third-largest island, located southwest of Hong Kong Island, is known as a peaceful escape. Fishing villages sit at the edge of the water. No building is more than three-stories high. Except for emergency and construction trucks, no vehicles are allowed. No wonder families and expats prefer to call this outlying island home.

As the ferry approaches the dock in Yung Shue Wan (Banyan Tree Bay), it looks like you’ve been transported to the Mediterranean. Lamma Island’s main village, on the northern coast, has a tropical vibe. Fishing boats bob in the bay. Seafood restaurants line the pier. A Tin Hau temple, which protects fishermen and their catch, stands guard. While green mountains loom in the background. Walk through the narrow streets. Check out the intricate jewelry over which others are haggling. Watch lobsters being hauled off the boats. Then head toward the beach.

Photo: Iflwlou拍攝 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Iflwlou拍攝 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Hung Shung Yeh Beach is the most-popular beach on the island, since it’s just a short walk from the ferry, and the swimming area is protected by a shark net. You’re ready to find your spot on the sand, strip down, and head for the water yourself, when you realize the beach overlooks the Lamma Power Station. You decide to keep moving.

Follow the Peak Trail, a four-kilometer path between Banyan Tree Bay and Sok Kwu Wan (Picnic Bay), a village on the island’s east coast. Hike through tall grass, around banana groves, and near noisy roosters. Pass caves where the Japanese once stored munitions. Stare at the South China Sea from a hilltop pagoda. Then reach Lo So Shing Beach. The nicest beach on the island has barbecue pits and a hippy feel. Most importantly, you’re just staring at the blue water and other islands.

Eventually, continue to Picnic Bay. Mount Stenhouse, the island’s tallest mountain, looms overhead. The Lamma Fisherfolk’s Village, where you can learn about the island’s fishing history and see fish-breeding rafts, sits on piers offshore. Plus, the smell of cooking seafood finally lures you to an outside table to eat. Order a half catty of prawns and a lobster to share. Salty water and soy sauce are dripping down your chin within a few minutes. You’re supposed to be catching a ferry back to Central, but you’re not ready to leave this tranquil island, since your dizziness has finally subsided.

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