|Big Waves on a Big Bay
|Shenzhen MTR to either Luohu (罗湖) or Futian Kou An (福田口岸)|
HK MTR to Diamond Hill
91, 96R or KMB94 bus from underground station to Sai Kung
Local bus up the hill to Pak Tam Au
Follow signs for Tai Long Wan (大浪灣)
Climb the ropelines o
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Alastair Dickie (more shenzhen)|
Big Waves on a Big Bay >
Big Wave Bay, or Tai Long Wan (大浪灣) in Cantonese, features huge, sandy beaches that cut swathes between surrounding mountains and cliffs encased in nearly impenetrable jungle growth. Big Wave Bay is a surfer’s paradise, a camper’s dream and a rewarding destination for hikers. It lies east of Hong Kong’s outlying territories, but is not so remote as to be inaccessible.
Getting to the beach from Shenzhen is time-consuming, but fairly simple. Pack for an overnight camp on a beach. (Dinner and breakfast, tent, rucksack, flashlight, toilet paper, etc. Tents go for about 200RMB and rucksacks for about 100RMB at Wal-Mart or Decathlon, for example.)
The total time to get from the Shenzhen border to the sands of Big Wave Bay usually is four to five hours, so leave at 8:30 or 9 a.m., or earlier, to make the most of the beach sun. Leaving early allows time for general mishaps, lunch breaks, toilet breaks, pit stops and traffic irregularities that could arise. People have done the trip in just more than three hours — probably by running the MacLehose trail — for those who want a target to beat.
Make sure you have an appropriate visa and cross the border into Hong Kong to start the journey.
The Luohu Border Crossing>
Simple border-crossing locations include the Luohu (罗湖) and Futian Kou An (福田口岸) metro stops, found at the end of the green, Luobao line and the red, Longhua line, respectively. The metro stations are linked directly with the immigration buildings – just follow the signs. Passing through customs rarely takes more than 90 minutes, but avoid crossing on Chinese holidays — few places are less fun than the Luohu immigration line at Spring Festival.
Start of the MacLehose Trail >
Once in Hong Kong, get on the metro and travel to Diamond Hill station. Changing lines at least once will be necessary, so check the maps. Once at Diamond Hill, head downstairs to the underground bus station and catch either the 91, KMB94 or 96R line, to Sai Kung. The buses run once every 15 minutes, cost about 10HKD and should arrive at Sai Kung within an hour. At Sai Kung, check the bus station’s notice board for buses to Pak Tam Au. If time allows, check out the coastal fishing village of Sai Kung first. There are several great restaurants and local spots, but in truth, most see Sai Kung as a place to stock up on last-minute supplies — such as plenty of bottled water for the upcoming hike.
Steep Hills, Scenery to Die For, Sweaty Hiker: Standard Trail Features >
The bus ride to Pak Tam Au takes about 20 minutes. From here, the journey becomes simple — just keep walking. Follow the signs for Tai Long Wan (大浪灣) and enjoy an amazing trek through the hills. The hike is not technically difficult, as the whole route is paved concrete, but there are some seriously steep hills. Most people take about two hours to finish. It might hurt a bit and the bottled water will be invaluable, but the payoff is closer with each step.
The path meanders and winds, straight through some hills and skirting the edge of others, through abandoned villages and, old derelict fishing jetties, until finally – after a gruelling descent – it reaches a beach. Unfortunately, it’s not the right beach – not yet.
There are a few restaurants here, a few places to rent surfboards and the last place to stock up on beer. Follow the curving beach to the last restaurant, behind which is an easy-to-miss trail with ropelines. Use the ropes up a short, mild incline, top a final crest and, finally, take in a breath-taking view of Big Wave Bay.
Hike Success >
The beach stretches for almost half a mile and often is nearly deserted. There’s enough driftwood and kindling for a decent fire and plenty of space to pitch a tent — no permit is needed. It’s the kind of setting that makes lukewarm beer and a packed, squashed sandwich hit the spot. Enjoy the bay and pack out everything you pack in, so the next visitors can enjoy it, too.