With its fishing villages, lush green hills full of hiking trails, and pristine beaches, Sai Kung is a world away from Central Hong Kong. As a result, it's a perfect spot for Hong Kong residents and visitors alike to get outside the urban core and discover some of Hong Kong's hidden gems. In this 3-day itinerary, I'll show you what to do and where to eat in Sai Kung to have a fun-filled trip!
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A Little about Sai Kung
The Sai Kung Peninsula in the eastern New Territories region of Hong Kong is known for its quaint fishing villages and beautiful country parks with a ton of hiking trails. And Sai Kung Town is the charming jumping off point to discover these beautiful places.
Not just a transportation hub, Sai Kung Town is a fun place to explore as well. Its boutique shops, delicious seafood restaurants, and colorful street art are just some of the reasons to visit. Plus, the laidback vibe of the town is a nice change of pace from Hong Kong Island or Kowloon.
As you stroll around, you'll also notice that Sai Kung is an extremely pet-friendly town. On weekends, many people bring their dogs out to stroll the waterfront promenade or eat alfresco at the many cafes and seafood restaurants.
Getting to Sai Kung
Since Sai Kung is a bit remote, you'll likely have to take several forms of transportation (MTR -> Bus/Minibus) to get there.
Or, you could take a taxi the entire way, which is much more expensive but easier and faster.
Public Transportation to Sai Kung
Although Sai Kung is not on the MTR, many buses and minibuses run from various MTR stations to Sai Kung Town.
The bus routes I generally take to Sai Kung include:
On public transportation, it generally takes us ~1.5-hours from Kennedy Town (western HK Island) to reach Sai Kung Town.
New to Hong Kong? Check out this Guide to Using Public Transportation in Hong Kong.
Taxi to Sai Kung
On our recent staycation in Sai Kung, we caught a taxi at our apartment in Kennedy Town and took it to our hotel in Hebe Haven - just outside Sai Kung Town.
It cost us ~HK $230 (US $30) each way including tolls and 2 pieces of luggage in the trunk. But the ride only took ~45-minutes. I'd expect the cost would be similar if you were going from Central on Hong Kong Island to Sai Kung Town.
If you caught a taxi at one of the MTR stops in eastern Kowloon instead of taking the bus, you could expect to pay ~HK $100 (US $13).
Pro Tip: On a weekend or public holiday, the route to/from Sai Kung will have a lot of traffic which may add extra time (up to 30 extra minutes) to your journey. Also, the buses tend to fill up and have long queues as well so be sure to start early.
Where to Stay in Sai Kung
Because Sai Kung is a residential area so you won't find many hotels in the area. When booking our staycation in Sai Kung, we stayed at The Pier Hotel - a waterfront hotel in Hebe Haven (or Pak Sha Wan) and loved it.
If you're keen to stay in Sai Kung Town, you'll need to book through vacation rental sites like Airbnb or VRBO for accommodation options. I've included an apartment option below as an example. This vacation rental received excellent reviews, but I haven't stayed there personally.
The Pier Hotel is located just south of Sai Kung town in Hebe Haven, or Pak Sha Wan - a tranquil harbor which is home to several yacht clubs. Its spot right on the waterfront provides beautiful views from the chic and modern guest rooms.
This hotel is a great jumping off point for exploring Sai Kung's many excellent restaurants, local hikes, and beautiful beaches. If you're looking to relax at the hotel, the rooftop pool (summer only) and on-site fitness center are excellent amenities to enhance your stay.
This stylish and cozy 2-bedroom apartment in the heart of Sai Kung town would be perfect for a family or a couple to stay. Steps away from shops, restaurants, as well as the beach in Sai Kung - it's incredibly convenient for a Hong Kong weekend retreat.
Plus, it's pet-friendly so you can bring your favorite hiking companion along with you!
Still Not Sure Where to Stay?
If you're having trouble finding accommodations in Sai Kung, you could consider staying in nearby Tseung Kwan O (TKO) which is part of the Sai Kung District.
TKO is a mostly-residential neighborhood on the MTR, but it has a few hotels as well. Plus, buses run regularly between TKO and Sai Kung.
3-Day/2-Night Sai Kung Itinerary
Although most visit Sai Kung as a day trip, staying longer gives you the opportunity to better explore this beautiful area. And with how different Sai Kung is from other parts of Hong Kong, it's a great place for a staycation for Hong Kong residents.
In this 3-day, 2-night itinerary in Sai Kung, I'll show you how you can divide your time between the town and the country parks based on our recent staycation. Plus, I'll recommend some delicious places to eat. Since it rained for most of our trip, a couple of the activities I've included are things we've done on previous day trips.
Speaking of day trips, you could take any day of this itinerary's activities and use it to plan your fun-filled day trip. Just start early and plan on a late night getting back home.
Day 1 - Exploring Sai Kung Town and Trio Beach
On your first day in Sai Kung, I recommend getting a bite to eat and exploring Sai Kung Town. Then, if it's a nice day, head to the beach!
Arrival in Sai Kung
Depending on where you're staying and how much you've packed, you'll probably want to either head to your hotel or vacation rental to drop off your luggage when you arrive in Sai Kung.
We did just that at The Pier Hotel. Although we checked in upon arriving, our room was not ready until 3pm (check-in time). So we left our luggage with the concierge and headed for Sai Kung Town.
Unfortunately for us, it rained our entire first day. Otherwise we would have taken our beach gear with us for the hike/beach time that I'm including in the itinerary.
Shopping and Street Art in Sai Kung Town
In Sai Kung Town, take time to wander through the narrow roads and alleyways. As you do, you'll find lots of cute shops to stop in as you make your way around the neighborhood.
In May 2021, HK Walls - a non-profit arts organization in Hong Kong - hosted its annual street art festival in Sai Kung. As a result, many new colorful murals are popping up in town. Be sure to keep your eyes open as you wander through the streets.
Lunch at Seafood Restaurant
One of the things Sai Kung is best known for is its fresh and delicious seafood. Stroll along the waterfront and you'll see massive restaurants with dozens of tanks of live seafood.
Sit down at one of the alfresco tables and choose from dim sum, other Cantonese dishes, or go select live seafood from the tank. On our last trip to Sai Kung, we ate at the Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant and it was quite tasty.
However, seafood meals in Hong Kong can get pricey. Most charge for the seafood you pick, then also add a cooking fee. It tends to make the final bill steeper than expected.
Hike to Trio Beach
After a big seafood lunch, you'll need a bit of a workout. If it's a nice day, I recommend the hike to Trio Beach on the Pak Sha Wan Peninsula. It's an easy ~4-km hike from the Sai Kung Public Pier.
About the Hike
You'll start by walking south along the waterfront, then climbing up through the village streets. Once you get to Hong Kin Road, turn right and continue upward. At Hong Fu Rd, turn left. This road will take you into the park and eventually turn into your trail to Trio Beach.
Once on the trail, it's mostly flat and not overly rocky, until you descend to the beach. The dirt trail is easy to navigate, though I'd still recommend wearing sneakers for the hike rather than just sandals.
About midway through the hike, you'll have a beautiful view of Hebe Haven and all the boats you can see from The Pier Hotel. It's a good spot for watching the sunset too!
Relax at the Beach
Once you arrive at the beach, you can relax, swim a little, and enjoy the day.
This beach is managed by Hong Kong's Leisure and Cultural Services Department and has showers, changing rooms, and toilet facilities. There are also BBQ pits and a refreshment kiosk.
Take Sampan Back to Hebe Haven from the Beach
If you're staying in Hebe Haven, taking the sampan back to your hotel is a fun and quick option - only takes ~10 minutes! This little boat runs regularly between Pak Sha Wan Pier and Trio Beach and costs HK $10 one-way.
Even if you aren't staying in Hebe Haven, you could still take the sampan then catch a minibus to Sai Kung Town.
Rainy Day Afternoon Option - Bowling at Tikitiki Bowling Bar
If you visit Sai Kung on a rainy day like we did, head to the Tikitiki Bowling Bar! (Except on Mondays and Tuesdays when they're closed as we found out the hard way when we didn't check their hours ahead of time.)
This kitschy bowling alley/ tiki bar is a fun escape. Since I happen to love bowling, this was a perfect option for me.
The tiki cocktails are refreshing and boozy. Plus, you can order some tasty snacks to go with them while you bowl. Since I started off terribly, I was pleased that the cocktails seemed to enhance my bowling performance!
Dinner at Bones & Blades
Fellow meat-lovers will adore Bones & Blades - a combination butcher shop and restaurant! Focusing on serving quality, mouth-watering meats, their grass-fed beef and lamb and pasture-raised pork are expertly prepared. Plus, the goat cheese salad with grilled peaches was an excellent way to start off the meal.
Drinks at Momentai*
No matter how many times we visit Sai Kung, we have to stop in for a craft beer at Momentai. With its waterfront location and open-air dining, it's a great spot to chill with a drink and people-watch.
Plus, the food is also delicious, so it's great for a casual meal after a long day of hiking. Highly recommend the pulled pork quesadilla!
*Momentai closed its waterfront location in summer 2021 and is working to open a new location in summer 2022. Check out the Facebook page for more details.
Day 2 - Hiking + Beaches in Sai Kung's Country Parks
On your second day, get out to explore Sai Kung's lush natural beauty in the country parks. Follow the trails through these parks and you can find some of the best beaches in Hong Kong, in my opinion.
Since we've explored Sai Kung on several day trips over the years, I'm including two options for itinerary. Which one you pick depends on your activity preference. If you have more days, try them both!
Breakfast at Little Cove Espresso
If you're staying at The Pier Hotel like we did, you'll have breakfast included with your reservation. But if you're not, start off your second day at Little Cove Espresso for breakfast and coffee.
This coffee shop on a pedestrian square is a great spot to sit and relax and has lots of outside seating. While I thoroughly enjoy the Smoked Salmon on Sourdough Rye with za'atar and labneh, Jeremy is in heaven with the Pulled Pork Benedict.
Option 1 - Hike + Snorkeling at Hoi Ha
With its clear waters and more than 60 coral and 120 fish species, Hoi Ha Wan in northern Sai Kung West Country Park is one of the best places to go for snorkeling in Hong Kong.
While you can reach Hoi Ha by public transportation or taxi from Sai Kung Town, hiking there on the Tai Tan Country Trail provides a scenic alternative.
Getting to the trailhead
To reach the trailhead, which starts just before the Tai Tan Campsite, you can take the 94 bus from Sai Kung towards Wong Shek Pier to the Tai Tan stop.
Since the buses run infrequently, we took a taxi from our hotel in Hebe Haven to the trailhead. It cost HK $120 (US $15) and took ~25 minutes.
Overview of the Tai Tan Country Trail
The route on the Tai Tan Country Trail to Hoi Ha is a ~6.7-km (4.2-mi) relatively easy hike which takes ~2.5 hours to complete. Click here to read my full hiking guide and see a map of our hiking route.
Since it was raining on the day we hiked it, that made it slightly more difficult. The slick mud combined with slippery boulders in certain parts of the trail meant we had to use extra caution.
About the Hike to Hoi Ha
The first part of the hike is a lovely, mostly flat coastal walk around Long Harbour. In the sunshine, you'll have gorgeous turquoise water views. Even with the rain, I thought it was quite beautiful.
After hiking for 2.8-km, you'll reach a secluded beach. At this point, the trail turns inward and begins to climb. Although the highest point of this trail is only ~120 m (395 ft), in the summer, it can feel like a lot. Be sure to bring plenty of water!
Once you reach the highest point, you'll have a couple more ups and downs. Then, you'll descend the hill and reach the second beach along the hike before turning towards Hoi Ha.
As you draw closer to your destination, you'll pass the Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre as well as the lime kiln ruins.
Snorkeling and Kayaking in Hoi Ha
Once you reach Hoi Ha, grab something to eat at the local restaurant. Then you can rent snorkeling gear or a kayak and get out to enjoy the water.
Pro Tip: Especially in summer - highly recommend mosquito spray for this hike and in Hoi Ha! It was very buggy, especially at the restaurant and we got several bites before we could apply our spray.
Because there isn't much of a beach to lounge on in Hoi Ha, I'd recommend this option only if you have an interest in snorkeling or kayaking specifically. Or if you just want to try Tai Tan Country Trail as we did.
To get back to Sai Kung, just go up to the road and catch the number 7 minibus which comes ~every half hour. If you want to snorkel/kayak without the hike, you could take the bus directly to Hoi Ha from Sai Kung Town.
Option 2 - Hike + Waterfall & Ham Tin Beach
If you'd love to lounge on a pristine, white sandy beach in a gorgeous setting, then hiking to Ham Tin Beach on the far eastern side of Sai Kung is for you. In my opinion, it's one of the best beaches in Hong Kong!
Because this beach is so remote, you can only access it by hiking or by speed boat from Sai Kung Town.
Getting to trailhead
The trailhead for the hike to Ham Tin Beach is the Sai Wan Pavilion in Sai Kung East Country Park. To get there, take a taxi from Sai Kung which takes ~20 minutes, is thoroughly nauseating, and costs ~ HK $80-100 (US $10-13).
Overview of the Hike
The route to Ham Tin Beach is a ~5-km (~3-mi) easy hike on paved trails which takes ~1.5 hours to hike.
Along the way, you'll pass Sai Wan Beach as well as the Sai Kung Rock Pools - a lovely waterfall with deep pools.
About the Hike to Ham Tin Beach
The trail to Ham Tin Beach begins at the highest point of the hike so you'll be gradually walking downhill. The road is wide and flat with views of High Island Reservoir.
You'll descend into Sai Wan Tsuen after about 1.6 km (1-mi) at which point you could decide to stay at Sai Wan Beach. It's another beautiful beach and also has a boat back to Sai Kung Town.
If you decide to continue, you'll pass the turn off for the Sai Kung Rock Pools just after the second half of Sai Wan Beach. This gorgeous waterfall can be difficult to get to because of the overgrown trail. But once you make it, you can do some cliff jumping into the pools.
Afterwards, head back to the trail and start climbing (~80 m / 260 ft) for incredible views of the beaches and the turquoise sea. There's no shade here so be sure to put sunscreen on!
Relax at Ham Tin Beach
Once at Ham Tin Beach, you'll be able to kick back and relax. If you're hungry, visit one of the local restaurants at the far side of the beach. You can also rent equipment there, such as umbrellas, beach towels, even tents.
Be sure to buy your boat ticket once you arrive to ensure you get a spot unless you plan to hike back. Boats to Sai Kung depart roughly every hour and the ride back takes ~50 minutes. Tickets cost HK $160 per person.
Other Hikes in Sai Kung You Might Enjoy
If you have more days to spend in Sai Kung or if you'd like a more challenging hike in the area, I recommend trying one of these hikes:
Dinner at The Conservatory
After cleaning up from the beach, head into Sai Kung for a hearty dinner at The Conservatory. This bright and open Mediterranean restaurant serves a delicious array of small plates, pizzas, and pastas. Not to mention, their wine selection is terrific and priced very reasonably.
Day 3 - Relax before Leaving Sai Kung
Depending what your schedule looks like, you might have a full day left in Sai Kung. If that's the case, I recommend trying whichever option you didn't choose on the second day.
Since we had to get back to our kitties, we only had a half day to finish up our trip as you'll see from the itinerary.
Breakfast in Sai Kung
Our leisurely morning began with breakfast at the Pier Hotel. If you're not staying at the pier, why not try another coffee shop in Sai Kung?
A couple months ago, we enjoyed breakfast and a delicious coffee at Blacksmith Coffee Shop which I'd recommend. I enjoyed an Everything Bagel with smoked salmon (can you tell I'm obsessed?) and cream cheese while Jeremy chose the French Toast.
Finally the rain stopped - just in time for our last day in Sai Kung! So, we decided to enjoy the rooftop pool at The Pier Hotel until checkout. Honestly, I think I'd return for another staycation just to sit at this pool and swim for hours!
With the spectacular views of Hebe Haven and the mountains behind Pak Sha Wan, the rooftop area is a gorgeous spot to hang out! Although there's plenty of seating options, it's incredibly sunny. If you're up there for long, be sure to apply sunscreen.
Lunch at Padstow Restaurant & Bar
Just across the street from The Pier Hotel in Pak Sha Wan, Padstow Restaurant & Bar is a relaxed British pub with alfresco dining. Grab lunch here before you leave Sai Kung - it's a great way to end your trip.
Ask for a table on the upstairs balcony and soak in those last views of Hebe Haven as you eat.
As you can see, Sai Kung is the perfect little getaway to experience the natural beauty of the more remote parts of Hong Kong. Even if you don't want to hike, you can still enjoy a laidback time Sai Kung Town while admiring the sea and eating delicious food.
Hopefully this three-day itinerary in Sai Kung gives you some ideas for what you could do on your next trip whether it's a day trip or a longer adventure.