The natural rock pools at Sheung Luk are absolutely stunning. It’s so beautiful there, you’ll find it hard to believe such a place exists so close to the concrete jungle of Hong Kong.
This part of Hong Kong on the far side of Sai Kung however is not so easily accessible. It takes a bit of effort to get there but in return you get rewarded with less people, less pollution and more space to relax and enjoy yourself. The beaches are clean and the water is bluer than the much more easily accessible but far too crowded beaches of Hong Kong island.
Not only are the rock pools there great for swimming and cliff jumping but the scenery on the way is beautiful as well. In order to get to Sheung Luk you need to pass through a small village at Sai Wan, Sai Kung. Here you’ll find some of the cleanest and most desolate beaches in Hong Kong. The serenity and beauty of Sai Wan beach is worth the hike out there in itself!
Note: If you try to look up Sai Wan on Google Maps, make sure you search for Sai Wan, Sai Kung or Google will show you Sai Wan on HK Island. The above map gives your directions from Sai Wan Pavillion on Sai Kung Sai Wan Road to Sai Wan Village (西灣村) where you can grab a feed or go for a swim at the beach before hiking the final 15-20 minutes up to the rock pools.
As you can see on the map, Sai Wan Pavillion lies to the east of the Sai Kung township.
In early September, a large group of us shared taxis out to Sai Wan Pavillion, which is where the hike usually starts from. A taxi from TST was under HK$200, but some of our group caught public transport out to Sai Kung and then a taxi from there to make the journey even cheaper. Our taxi ride was cut a bit short and we had to hike an extra 5 kilometers due to a landslide and roadblock, so factor in a little bit extra for your taxi fare (assuming the landslide has been cleared by the time you go).
The road from the roundabout where Sai Kung Sai Wan Road and Maclehose Trail Section 1 intersect is where the road block was set up. This added about an extra hour of walking to the hike, however this section was just walking along the road and wasn’t difficult at all. The road seemed fine even past the roadblock, and by utilizing a motorbike, pushbike, or even a skateboard the roadblock could be bypassed and the hike to Sai Wan Pavillion could be done in far less time.
Sai Wan Village (西灣村)
I can’t read Chinese so I’m not sure if the above characters are correct, but if you type them in on Google Maps it will bring up the Village by the beach, just a short (but not super easy) hike from the rock pools. The video below of our day out at Sheung Luk will give you an idea of what the terrain is like for the hike.
You can see the village from about 50 seconds into the above video, which sits directly next to the beach. There are a number of restaurants in the small area that the village occupies, mostly catering to tourists. We stopped in for a feed after going for a swim in the ocean. Unfortunately (as you’ll see in the video) it wasn’t the sunniest weather, but thankfully we caught the last glimpses of summer and the day was still quite warm despite the cloudy skies.
The food at the local restaurants was quite tasty and reasonably priced for such a desolate place. Expect to pay between $80-150 for a decent meal and a drink.
The Sheung Luk Rock Pools
Just a quick stroll along the path north of the village and a bit of a climb along some rocks and you’re at the rock pools. I used the direction found here to lead everyone to the pools. These direction are quite comprehensive but there were some bit where it seems the terrain has changed slightly which got us a bit lost.
If you are looking to hike out the Sheung Luk and follow those directions, walk along the path directly to the right of the helipad (it’s hard to miss) but the signs mentioned that are supposed to be there after that are no longer there. Follow the pathway parallel to the ocean shore until you come to a T junction. Here make sure you turn left, where someone has recently built quite a large fenced off vegetable garden. Walk about the outside of the fence and follow the path up the hill towards the rocks.
You may come across some cows/bulls on the path on the way. We came across several, and while none of them were hostile some of them were quite intimidating. I’ve always heard it best to stay away from large bulls, however we came across one laying on the path and had to walk within a meter of it to get past. He didn’t seem to care though and just watched us as we swiftly walked by one at a time. I guess he is used to being in close contact with humans because of the large number of tourists who make the trek up to Sheung Luk.
After a short 5 minute hike from Sai Wan to the bottom of the rocky stream, you’ll come across some more rugged terrain. It wasn’t too difficult to bypass by some people may find it a bit challenging. The image to the left shows the extent of difficulty of the hike. All in all there is only around 50 meters of rugged terrain that needs to be passed by to get to the falls and cliff jumping pool at the top.
Once you’re here sit back and relax or climb up higher and jump in with everybody else. It’s a beautiful spot with great views down the valley and into the surrounding nature. Don’t forget to take plenty of water for the hike because one you leave the village there’s no where to get water until you go all the way back!
After a long day hiking, jumping and swimming we headed back to the village. While we considered hiking back to the roundabout and hoping to wave down a taxi, we ended up deciding to get a boat back to Sai Kung Township instead. The boats cost us HK$130 per ticket and was much faster than hiking out, although the trip was quite rough and definitely not for the feint of heart.
Below is another video one of our crew did of our trip out for the day. All in all this has to be one of my favourite places in Hong Kong and I highly recommend making the journey out to visit!