Shek Kwu Chau is a quirky island

shek wu chau statueJust west of Cheung Chau, Shek Kwu Chau (石鼓洲) is one of the quirkier HK islands.

Just west of Cheung Chau, Shek Kwu Chau (石鼓洲) is one of the quirkier HK islands.

shek kwu chau

Lying just west of Cheung Chau, off the southern coast of Lantau, Shek Kwu Chau (石鼓洲) is one of the quirkier islands in Hong Kong.

This is largely thanks to the efforts of people in the Shek Kwu Chau Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre: both staff, and reforming drug addicts staying there. Especially under former superintendent Dr Barrie Hollinrake, they built various statues, shrines, a pool like a Roman bath, and various other sometimes fanciful structures.

Roman Bath, Shek Kwu Chau – former superintendent Barrie Hollinrake was especially proud of this

You need a permit to visit the island, which is just a few minutes boat ride from Cheung Chau.

I’ve visited Shek Kwu Chau three times with US-based teams of biologists, who found some interesting species including various reptiles and amphibians, and a whip scorpion that was new to science, and searched for a snake that – judging by the only one yet known – may be unique to the island. I’ve looked for birds, too; though the island’s birds haven’t proved too exciting – an oddity being a couple of Great Cormorants present in recent summers (looking at one this past July, it did not have full wings, so couldn’t fly; might even be like a pet I thought). Also one or two visits since then.

shek kwu chau view

There are paths and small roads on the islands, passing small houses where people stay during rehab; as well as statues such as these three sages, who look down past the pier, towards southeast Lantau.

shek kwu chau statues n palms

Here are more wise looking gents, atop an archway.

shek kwu chau lamppost

If statues can be distracted – or even frustrated (so near, yet so far!), what might the gents think of this lady, who serves as a lamppost?

Just behind her, in an archway, there’s a photo from one of two visits Princess Diana made to Shek Kwu Chau.

shek kwu chau church lighthouse

On a hillside to the north, there’s a small church, adorned by this “lighthouse”.

dung beetle
lime butterfly
Lime Butterfly

And here, some examples of Shek Kwu Chau creatures – a dung beetle, a large woodland spider, and a lime butterfly.


    • Permission meeded to visit Shek Kwu Chau


      Sorry, but there's not public transport there; access is restricted.

      Possible to visit with permission from the organisation running Shek Kwu ChauSARDA; though may need some reason (such as conducting wildlife surveys, as during my visits)
      – if get this permission, there's a small ferry from Cheung Chau public pier.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *