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.
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.
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.Geopark.gov.hk
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!