Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hong Kong: Lamma Island

Me and R on the beach in Lamma
Even though Hong Kong has such an intensely urban core, its outlying islands are still relatively undeveloped and even rural (over 75% of the territory is open space). My parents love nature and laid-back living (unlike their more urban daughter), so we decided to stay on Lamma Island.

Lamma has a population of 6,000 (mostly fishermen, old hippies or expats looking to get away from it all), no cars or buildings over three stories (they aren't permitted on the island), and one of the nicest beaches in the territory.

Getting there was a bit sticky. We flew out of Singapore in the early afternoon (so that R could nap on the plane=win). After a 4 hour flight, we ate at the airport, then took the high speed train to Central (Hong Kong's downtown district), 30 minutes. Then we had to take a ferry to Lamma (30 minutes, plus wait time). Then we had a 30 minute walk to the hotel.

By this time it was around 10:30 at night, R was exhausted and howling, and it was pouring rain (in typical tropical fashion, meaning torrentially). We slogged along the dark footpath (as Lamma has no motorized transport, we had to walk carrying all our bags, including R's stuff, like a travel crib), lit only by very feeble and occasional lights. As we fumbled along the muddy path through jungly forest echoing with the croaking of frogs, we started to wonder if we'd have to sleep in the shrubbery. We finally found the hotel, with difficulty (given the lack of clear street signs or addresses), but there was no one there (it was a small family owned place and they'd gone to bed). We had no cell phone or change. So B broke into the reception area, we used their phone to call the emergency number (sneakily covering up our break in traces), and finally the host arrived with the keys.
Main harbor/village at Lamma: lots of fishing boats
My mom was not very pleased about the whole thing (she doesn't like uncertainty or discomfort), and was even less pleased upon seeing our rooms, which were tiny, cheap-looking and funky. The location was great though, right on the beach with ocean views. We went swimming every morning in the perfectly warm, clear water.
The view from our room
In the end it was too inconvenient to have a hour of travel each way whenever we wanted to go to the main areas, given R's nap needs and that my parents had never been to Hong Kong before. And my mom hated the hotel. So after only two nights we moved to a very different location, right in central Kowloon.
R having fun on the beach (the structure in back is for the lifeguard)
I loved Lamma though, and would like to go back someday, just to hang out on the island itself. It has a really relaxed vibe, fresh seafood restaurants (selling fish locally caught that very day), cute artsy little stores, and beautiful scenery. Maybe for the Tin Hau festival (patron goddess of fishermen)?


  1. First of all, you look so beautiful in that photo! I love your suit!

    It sounds like parts of this trip were stressful, but I always admire the fact that you guys are willing to go to any lengths to get to experience more and do more.

    1. Thanks, that's so kind!

      It was a little stressful but honestly not THAT bad (at least for me, I think my mom felt differently...)