New ferry services unlock High Island’s rich geological heritage and rustic charm

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High Island once had several shops that sold food to the fishermen and some of them were built with piers for easy access.

12th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) Since yesterday, visitors to High Island, an integral part of Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark (Hong Kong Geopark), will be able to experience its stunning landscape and quaint villages more conveniently, thanks to the new ferry services and a specially recommended land route.

High Island, the largest constituent of the Sai Kung cluster until two dams linked it to the Sai Kung peninsula in 1969, boasts some of the most unique geological features. Its volcanic origin has gifted it with incredible hexagonal rock formations sculpted from magma, which have been recognised as one of the First 100 International Union of Geological Sciences Geological Heritage Sites.

Moreover, the island’s rustic allure is further enhanced by the Hakka and fishing villages peppered along the bay, preserving the island’s tranquil charm amidst the azure Sai Kung waters.

High Island is home to four villages: Tung A, Pak A, Pak Lap, and Sha Kiu. The first three are Hakka settlements, while the latter is a fishing village. During the mid-20th century, these villages were bustling with approximately 500 Hakka inhabitants and an estimated 1,000 fishermen, with roughly 200 fishing boats anchored in the bay.

The newly initiated ferry services will provide a convenient transit for visitors to these villages, ferrying passengers between Sai Kung and High Island. In addition, Hong Kong Geopark encourages exploration of the island via a recommended land route, stretching from Pak A pier to Sha Kiu, which takes about two hours to traverse. Along this route, visitors can make a detour to the Grade III historic Leung Shuen Wan Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the ancient Chinese Goddess of the Sea.

This temple holds four historic artefacts, including a Qing Dynasty wood carving set, a dragon head wood carving, a dragon sedan chair used during the Tin Hau Festival’s sea parade, and an ancient bell from the sixth year of the Qianlong reign. Cheng King-man, a representative of Leung Shuen Wan fishermen, revealed that the bell was once used to mark the time for fishermen in an era devoid of watches or radios.

High Island, known in Chinese as Leung Shuen Wan or ‘food supply bay’, once served as a crucial restocking point for seafaring vessels, indicative of its historic significance as a shelter and supply station.

“High Island is a place where stunning scenery, natural wonders, and rich cultures converge,” noted Chan Yu-nam, Senior Geopark Officer at the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department. He highlighted the natural attractions that visitors can encounter along the route from Pak A, via Tung A to Sha Kiu, including a mangrove habitat and a beach.

High Island can be accessed via land or water. Opting for the land route involves a roughly 20-minute downhill trek from the southern edge of the High Island Reservoir on Man Yee Road to reach Pak A Village on High Island. From there, an on-foot journey takes visitors through Tung A and Sha Kiu villages, offering sights of the remnants of Leung Shuen Bay School (also referred to as Leung Shuen Wan Public School), the historic Tin Hau Temple, and various village dwellings. This route also presents stunning views of picturesque bays and dispersed fish farms lining the ocean.

To reach the destination, you have several options:

Kaito Ferry Service:
First, use public transportation to reach Sai Kung town centre. From there, you can take the kaito ferry service that operates between Sai Kung Town and Kau Sai Chau / High Island from the Sai Kung Public Pier, which is the longer pier located next to the Sai Kung Promenade.

Operating Days: The service operates on Saturdays, Sundays, and Public holidays

Fare: The fare for an adult or child is $65 (single trip)
For inquiries, please contact: 2272 2000 (Tsui Wah Ferry Service (H.K.) Ltd.) The schedule is subject to the operator’s announcement.

For more details about the service, please visit the Transport Department’s website.

Please note: Passengers must pay a separate fare for each single journey when boarding the kaito ferry service.

During the Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival SKHAF (from 15th November, 2023, to 14th January, 2024), additional kaito services are available from Tuesday to Sunday and on public holidays. For more information, please visit the SKHAF website https://skhartsfestival.hk/en/island-hopping-kaito-experience/

Boat Hire:

You can hire a ferry at Sai Kung Pier or rent a sightseeing boat equipped with appropriate safety features and insurance.

Hiking:

On weekends and Public Holidays, you can take the green minibus no. 9A at Pak Tam Chung to Man Yee Road Pak A Village junction, then walk along the footpath for about 1 km to reach your destination.

Local Tours:

You can join the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region Sea Tour at the Volcano Discovery Centre. For inquiries, call: (852) 2394 1538

Alternatively, you can join a tour led by a Recommended Geopark Guide.

High Island was once a huge volcano and its molten volcanic material was transformed into spectacular hexagonal rock formations – a geological rarity that ranks as the world’s First 100 International Union of Geological Sciences Geological Heritage Sites.