Shui Hau n Tong Fuk on Lantau

A trip to the south Lantau coast at Shui Hau and nearby Tong Fuk makes a grand trip on a fine afternoon, especially on a hot day summer day when a swim seems a good way of cooling off.

Shui Hau

 shui hau

At Shau Hau, there's a bay with extensive shallow mudflats/sandflats (silty sand) that are exposed at low tide. You can walk there by taking a path from Shui Hau village, past small vegetable plots and through abandoned fields with some trees. Or, there's a path alongside a football pitch with a big wire fence, just east of Shui Hau.

The paths lead to the west of the bay, where small streams run in from the hills.

shui hau lantau

The flats - among the best coastal wetlands in Hong Kong - are relatively flat, and shellfish abound, attracting people to collect shellfish. Some old village ladies use traditional tools, a little like hoes, to scrape through the silt in search of cockles, each of which can be as big as a hand. Other folk might be weekend shellfish gatherers, maybe searching top layers. There's a good diversity of shellfish here, as well as crabs - including some juvenile horseshoe crabs, at one of the few Hong Kong breeding sites for this scarce and declining species; also a myriad tiny fish swim in the shallows. These in turn attract birds such as Little Egrets and, during migration seasons, a few shorebirds.

But, surely there is high pressure from human predation; so it's perhaps best if you enjoy seeing the shellfish, and savour the tranquillity, and the fine views, including Lantau hills.

shui hau snails

Yesterday, these small gastropods (snails) with spiral patterns on their shells were abundant: this scene is typical of much of the flats.

shui hau shellfish collectors

Here are people collecting shellfish, as the summer sun drops to the west.

Tong Fuk Beach

tong fuktong fuk beach path

At Tong Fuk - perhaps 10-15 mins walk to the east, or a short bus ride from Shui Hau, there is also a path from the village (by a bus terminus) through abandoned fields to the beach.

tong fuk beach

Much like the longer beach at Cheung Sha - a little further east - the Tong Fuk Beach is just below the main south Lantau road, yet seems wonderfully secluded; views inland are mainly of wooded slopes, and the main Lantau hills above. The sand is fine and silty, sloping gently; and on a fine summer afternoon there are cracking views across the South China Sea.

Martin Williams

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