Four islands. Two kayaks. Tens of meters high majestic hexagonal rock formations. Crystal clear water. Sea caves. Sitting by the fire and sleeping on the beach. Two full days of kayaking with our friends in the paradise of Ung Kong islands. “Ung” what? You won’t believe these can be found in Hong Kong.

Kayaking Po Pin Chau
Kayaking through the Po Pin Chau strait has been one of the best outdoor experiences in Hong Kong.

Not rich to buy a yacht yet? No problem! You don’t have to be rich to have experiences like 2-day kayaking expedition around Ung Kong islands. But you need to be fit to make it till the end! If you really want to have a fantastic and challenging kayaking experience in Hong Kong, keep reading!

We went for a long weekend in May 2019 and spent the first night on the Pak Lap beach. We rented our kayaks there to paddle around the breath-taking Ung Kong islands. You can find all the details and where to book kayaks at the end of the article!

Ung Kong Islands is a group of islands with the four main islands – Basalt, Bluff, Town and Wang Chau.

Perfect adventure – Ung Kong Group of islands including Basalt Island, Town Island, Bluff Island and Wang Chau island.

Po Pin Chau – spectacular sea stack

Po Pin Chau was once part of Fa Shan, but years of wave impact and erosion separated it. The rock stacks on the shore of Po Pin Chau tower almost vertically over the sea. The rock face looks just like a giant pipe organ.

These columns are beautiful from any angles you look at them. Some time ago, we hiked to the Fa Shan side to experience them from above.

FROM HERE IT LOOKS PRETTY SMALL. This is how Po Pin Chau looks from Fa Shan mainland. We were kayaking down there and we took all the drone-like pictures of kayaking in the strait from the top of Po Pin Chau by climbing it from the open sea side.
BUT IN REALITY IT IS NOT! 40 meters tall Po Pin Chau hexagonal columns with azure waters
Down in the strait fighthing with winds and a current

But this time we decided to kayak through the channel that separates Po Pin Chau from Fa Shan (mainland). We stopped at the back of Po Pin Chau and climbed up to see the beautiful and pristine channel from the top. There is a current between the rocks so it can be challenging to manipulate the kayak on a perfect spot for the photo. But as we realize it, any spot is just as breath-taking! Although it’s not in the direction of the Ung Kong islands, it’s definitely worth the extra stroke to enjoy this natural monument.

One of the best kayaking experiences not only in Hong Kong, but ever

Lagoons and hexagonal rock formations everywhere

Around 3 km of straight line kayaking, we arrived at Wang Chau. This island is the smallest from the 4 main islands, but the north of has some wonderful hexagonal rocks, caves and lagoons. Although we haven’t planned it, we spent around 1.5 hours just enjoying the lagoons, jumping in the water and some small lunch. On the south of Wan Chau, you can experience the first large caves too.

Dark azure waters in the lagoons on the north coast of Wang Chau island

Colourful caves on Basalt Island

In the afternoon, it’s time for the famous Basalt island. Although you can see some junk boats around, you will most likely have this place just for yourself. There are some beautiful caves, some of which you can paddle through on your kayak.

Colourful caves on the South of Basalt Island. Getting through a paddle-wide cave and capturing its beauty doesn’t go well together. There are current and waves coming in from the open sea making balancing and moving forward harder than it seems.

The south of Basalt island is a bit of paddling stretch as the island is exposed to an open see and stronger winds. Paddled already around 10 km on a rough sea, we start to look for beaches for camping. All the pebbles! What we realise on the way is that the Ung Kong group is a protected marine park. On some beaches, we see the “No camping” signs. No options around, we have to paddle back to Pak Lap for an amazing sunset and a good night sleep on the beach.

Rain? No. Just a place where water is leaking from the rocks and soil above. Fresh!

We ended up paddling around 16-18 km on the first day. Nice workout! The next day we wanted to finish the last of the Ung Kong main islands – Bluff island, however the windy conditions and rough sea didn’t let us around the south part of the island, we had to turn back and ended up on a beautiful beach with pristine white sand in the Ung Kong Chau bay on the north.

Sleeping under a towel half naked, raining cats and dogs and Kate: “It will pass soon. Let’s cover here under my sleeping bag”. We only lasted for a few minutes before we got totally showered and had to spend the rest of the night with a herd of nice smelling cows under the nearest roof. UNFORGETTABLE!

How to get to Basalt Island and the Ung Kong group? Where to book a kayak?

They are located south of High Island reservoir and the best spot to kick off the adventure is at Pak Lap beach. Paul Yuen, who is the owner, has a great variety of kayaks, paddle boards and other sea sports equipment. You can reach him at + 852 6355 0417 and make sure you make a booking because they often have some group tours around the beaches.

More details about the trip distances and map:

Link to the maps. The initial plan was to find a place and camp on Basalt island. We had all the food, water and gear with us, but couldn’t find a sandy beach + we learned it’s forbidden to camp on any of the islands.

Note: During the trip, we’ve seen a lot of beautiful beaches. Unfortunately, some of them were covered with litter brought by tides, currents and typhoons. It’s very sad to see such a remote place to be polluted. Paddle responsibly. Take your litter home and a bit of extra if you can!