Lamma Island (Chinese: 南丫島), also known as Pok Liu Chau (Chinese: 博寮洲) or simply Pok Liu (Chinese: 博寮), is the third largest island in Hong Kong.
Lamma Island has a very different pace of life to nearby Hong Kong island. There are no cars on the island, and all apartments must be built with a maximum 700 square feet per floor. That being said, the weekend attracts many Hong Kong people and each time the ferry docks the town gets very full quickly.
Note that although there are hoards of westerners living on the island, it is almost opposite of the sterile culture of Discovery Bay (An expatriate community on Lantau Island). People tend to come and live here for an alternative lifestyle rather than modern living, which makes it great for relaxation.
There are three villages on Lamma Island:
- Yung Shue Wan in the north is the main town where most of the island's population lives. It is connected to the central piers.
- Sok Kwu Wan in the south is basically a street lined with large seafood restaurants. It is connected by ferry to Aberdeen and the Central Piers.
- Mo Tat Wan is a tiny village to the east with a few houses and a couple of restaurants. The ferry between Aberdeen and Sok Kwu Wan actually stops here, so after eating a large lunch you can stroll over here before catching the ferry back.
The only way onto Lamma island is by boat:
- Ferries to Lamma Island leave from Hong Kong Central Piers to 1 Yung Shue Wan Pier (榕樹灣碼頭) (Hong Kong Central Pier 4). Every 20-60 minutes Mondays to Saturdays adult fare HK$17.80 and on Sundays and public holidays HK$24.70. Child (Aged under 12 years) HK$8.90 or HK$12.40.
- Ferries to Lamma Island leave from Hong Kong Central Piers to 2 Sok Kwu Wan Pier (索罟灣碼頭) (Hong Kong Central Pier 4). Every 20-90 minutes. Mondays to Saturdays adult fare is HK$22 and on Sundays and public holidays HK$31. Child (Aged under 12 years) HK$11 or HK$15.50.
- There is ferry between Aberdeen in the south of Hong Kong island and Sok Kwu Wan. Mondays to Saturdays adult fare HK$12, Sundays and public holidays HK$18.
If you don't wish to walk or bike, the only regular motorised transport links on the island are coastal ferries between Yung Shue Wan and Pak Kok and between Sok Kwu Wan and Mo Tat Wan, with both boats continuing onwards to Aberdeen. Speedboats have been known to wait at the Sok Kwu Wan pier, providing a water taxi service to any destination around the island at a higher rate than scheduled ferries, but it is best not to count on one being available.
Lamma island is not a place full of tourist attractions, but rather for peace and relaxation. However, there are plenty of restaurants, beaches and hiking trails.
- 1 Mo Tat (Old Village). Located a short walk inland from the coastal village of Mo Tat Wan, across the low ridge, Mo Tat is a rare example of an old Hong Kong village with both its original layout and traditional architecture fully intact, in contrast to many other such villages around the country where the houses have been redeveloped into more modern multi-storey units. The traditional Chinese-style houses are also surrounded by working farm fields.
- Walk between the main towns. The walk between Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan is pleasant and not too challenging. Maybe plan 60 to 90 minutes to get across. Mo Tat Wan is another 30 minutes walk. Note in summer you should wear a hat for shade and carry plenty of water. This walk takes about an hour and is well sign posted. It passes a beach which offers swimming facilities within a shark free net and great views of the power station. The walk also provides great views of the island. After the walk, you can dine at the seafood restaurants adjacent to the ferry terminal. Although the walk is not difficult, it has a few steep sections and in summer with high temperature and humidity it can feel strenuous.
- 1 Hung Shing Ye Beach (15 minutes from Yung Shue Wan). This is a nice beach close to Yung Shue Wan. It is somewhat overshadowed by having a coal fired Power Plant in the background.
- 2 Lamma Winds (南丫風采發電站) (40 minutes from Yung Shue Wan Pier). 7AM-6PM. An experimental wind farm consisting of a single wind turbine. It is the only renewable energy power plant in Hong Kong. Free entry into the exhibition centre.
- 3 Kamikaze Caves, Sok Kwu Wan (You will encounter these on the path from Yung Shue Wan). These caves near Sok Kwu Wan were apparently built by the Japanese army to hide speedboats that could attack allied ships by surprise.
- Sea Kayak Tours. Sea Kayak Hong Kong offers sea kayak tours around the coast of Lamma Island. There are 2 distinct tours around Lamma Island, both originating from Sok Kwu Wan in the centre of Lamma Island. Tour 1 - the southern Lamma Island tour which comprises paddling past stark granite hills dropping into the South China Sea with remote, unvisited beaches and Sham Wan (Turtle Beach). In contrast, the northern tour of the island tour takes you up the East Lamma Channel facing Hong Kong harbour. The contrasts between the two coasts are startling, almost surreal with Lamma being uninhabited (small local villages) while just across the channel is south Hong Kong Island with skyrise apartments towering over well-developed beaches. The trip finishes in Yung Shue Wan so kayakers can catch a ferry back to Hong Kong. More details can be found on the Sea Kayak Hong Kong website.
Generally speaking, there isn't a lot to buy on Lamma Island.
Yung Shue Wan has a variety of small shops with some art & craft. You can also buy beach supplies here, and there is even a HSBC bank branch.
Sok Kwu Wan has stores that sell dried fish.
- Peanut Candy is available in So Kwu Wan, Lamma Island.
- Yung Shue Wan has many seafood restaurants as well as western style cafes and bars.
- There is a strip of seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan. Expect to pay around $100 - 150 per head for the set meals, which will include fried clams, lobster, crab, prawns as well as fried vegetables, rice and drinks. A steamed fish will cost around $100 depending on the weight.
- There are numerous general stores on the island selling drinks, snacks, prepackaged food, everyday supplies and toys. There are several such stores in Yung Shue Wan, a few in Sok Kwu Wan, one in Mo Tat Wan and at least one in Pak Kok.
- 1 Bay, Mo Tat Wan (20 min walk east from Sok Kwu Wan). Restaurant and bar, which specialises in Western style seafood
- 2 Peach Garden. Small family owned seafood restaurant
- 3 Rainbow Restaurant. The first, last and one in between are Rainbow restaurants with great food. A small lobster cost $140 and a small Salt and Pepper Squid cost $80. They also offer a free ferry service for customers which is a great way to see the harbour.
- 4 The Bookworm Cafe, Yung Shue Wan. Great ambiance and tasty vegetarian food, it also provides free internet access.
There are some bars in Yung Shue Wan.
The best location for accommodation is Yung Shue Wan.
Internet is available on the island, although speeds are low on land lines. 4G LTE mobile phone access is available throughout the island.