Especially in summer, many Hong Kong residents enjoy taking junk rides through inshore waters.
Mostly, the junks aren’t the traditional type with sails – there are only one or two of these iconic craft left here; but are motor boats, each holding maybe 20 or more people. There’s a range of “junks” – from basic wooden ones, to more glamorous pleasure cruisers. Some corporate folk book their company junks; there are also junks for hire. As well as seats and a table, even a basic junk will typically have a fridge, plus shower and toilet, making it a good base for an outing.
Aberdeen, on the west coast of Hong Kong Island, is the main base for corporate and hire junks; though it’s also possible to board junks on the north coast of HK Island.
Many junk trips involve little more than bobbing across the sea to a seafood restaurant – often one of the pricey places at Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island; then bobbing back again. Though there’s beer n wine n camaraderie, I’m not fond of such trips: partly as I live on Cheung Chau, with abundant waterfront restaurants with good food at low prices; also as there’s far more to do around coastal Hong Kong than just sit, eat and drink.
Instead, I find junk trips a great way of exploring Hong Kong’s inshore waters, visiting places that might be very difficult to reach another way, as well as chilling out with friends old and new.
High on Po Toi
Po Toi island, off southeastern Hong Kong Island, is within easy reach of Aberdeen, and popular with junk parties. As at So Kwu Wan, many folk arriving here by junk do little more than head for a seafood meal, then return to the boat. There’s also a small inlet, where junks moor to allow people to jump into the sea for a swim. But the island also has some wonderful hiking – see the Po Toi article on this site.
Westwards, beyond Lamma, Cheung Chau is another potential destination, though is also readily visited by ferry.
Rambling on Tai A Chau, Soko Islands
It’s more interesting to head on west (though maybe make quick halt at Cheung Chau), to the Soko Islands. These small islands are uninhabited; you can land on a couple, to walk short trails, as well as moor by a small, sandy beach.
The Sai Kung area is wonderful for boating, with many potential destinations in Port Shelter, which is dotted with islands. It’s relatively distant from Hong Kong Island – so you might better to board a junk in Sai Kung.
Bluff Island is a popular place; you can moor off a small beach, with the chance to snorkel over coral beside it, as well as cruise nearby to see some of the most spectacular columnar jointed rock formations in the Hong Kong Geopark. At Pak A, on the coast of High Island, there are two popular seafood restaurants.
Leaving Port Shelter, and heading up the east coast of the Sai Kung Peninsula, Tai Long Wan is relatively distant by junk, but is a popular place for outiings on fine summer days.
Further north from here, Double Haven makes for a superb outing by junk – but is also quite far from places with junks, even in Tolo Harbour; also tougher with northeast monsoon, when seas can be rough.
Junk trips to waters south of Hong Kong Island, especially, can also be productive for seabirds, including species rarely or not yet seen from land in Hong Kong.