My first trip to the beach here was when Helen’s sister Julia came to visit for a week, and we headed to the east to Sai Kung. Three trains, a bus and almost an hour later we arrived, and the seafront and small town was absolutely bustling. There are lots of islands within sailing distance of Sai Kung, and day trips out on boats to the islands are a big money-making industry for the locals, so there were lots of hawkers on the seafront peddling their wares and offering cheap trips out to beaches on secluded islands (well, secluded if you don’t mind going there with all the other tourists!).
Aside from boat trips, the other local industry is obviously fishing, and the seafront is lined with restaurant after restaurant offering fresh seafood; so fresh, in fact, that the fish are kept in big display tanks in front of the restaurant and taken and cooked to order when required!
As luck would have it, we had arrived on the same day as a local dragon boat festival. Away from the main harbour, many teams of 8(?) rowers were competing in a series of races in long canoes, aiming to be the fastest. There were many categories, but even so walking past them again a bit later, every team seemed to have won a massive trophy, so I’m not sure what kind of “everyone’s a winner” legislation they may have here!
We returned to Sai Kung this weekend, to take advantage of an offer we’d seen there the first time. There was a little shack on the beach offering all day kayak hire for $50 (about £4), but we’d gone too late the first time and there weren’t any boats left. Arriving a bit earlier this time, we hired a double kayak and headed out into the open sea. They didn’t seem too bothered about safety, they didn’t ask if we could swim or even offer a life jacket! It was quite refreshing actually, they just said “ok thanks for the money, here’s your boat, be back by 5 or pay a bit extra”.
It was Helen’s first time kayaking, and my first time doing it on the sea, so it took us a while to get our paddling synchronised (I say it took a while, we were still rubbish at the end!), and we zig-zagged towards one of the closer islands with a beach. After about 20 minutes, we arrived, pulled up onto the beach and enjoyed our own secluded island!
We continued for another few hours, zig-zagging across the sea to a couple of more islands, trying to avoid all the motor launch boats, and in particular not getting too scared by the massive waves they created in our tiny little sideless boat!
After an exhausting final row back from the furthest point, we high fived and treated ourselves to a delicious fresh seafood meal from one of the plentiful restaurants on the seafront, and thought about the hour journey back to Mei Foo.