Sai Kung – a local Hong Kong getaway

In my trip to Hong Kong in January, I wanted to make sure I hit up a few places that I had never been to. The urban cores of Hong Kong offer up an electric and fast-paced experience, but sometimes I just want something a little slower and less commercial. Sai Kung was one of these places that offered something less common place for Hong Kong.

choi hung to sai kung minibus route

To get to Sai Kung from the rest of Hong Kong, you have to get yourself to Choi Hung MTR station. It’s on the green Kwun Tong Line in Kowloon. From there, you have to find the #1A or #92 minibus. The minibus ride itself is its own adventure. These buses are like minivans outfitted with 16 seats. Once all 16 seats are filled with paying bums, the bus doesn’t take any more passengers. Remember not to take the seat with the wheel-well. You’ll have to sit scrunched up for the whole 40 minute ride if you do. Oh, and hold on tight when the minibus turns.

Sai Kung may, at one time, been a sleepy fishing village. However, it is much more than that today. It’s definitely a tourist attraction and a close getaway for locals who want to be out of the city. It’s a bustling village complete with tourist boats that can take you to outlying islands in the eastern part of Hong Kong’s territory.

One lady was trying to lure us onto one of these tourist boats. As we kindly declined and walked away, I swear she said that we were being too cheap to take her very affordable boat tour. Thanks, lady. I really want to take your tour now with that kind of attitude.  I guess this is what happens when you can understand what the locals are saying.

We walked out along the New Public Pier. I have no idea what the old Public Pier looked like, but this new pier was definitely shiny and in good condition. We could walk out and take in the salty sea breeze. There were a few old men loitering about just lazily chatting their day away.

After the pier, we walked along the waterfront promenade. There was one gentleman selling fresh seafood straight from his boat. You literally had to talk down to him because his boat was easily six feet below the level of the promenade.

 

There were also plenty of restaurants along the promenade. Of course, they were all seafood restaurants. Each restaurant had its own collection of aquariums that housed all sorts of exotic seafood. My camera seems to have been drawn to the variety of cuttlefish available. You could get the man at the water tanks to literally fish out your meal for you, right there and then. Cuttlefish, anyone?

Are those trilobites?

A few days later, we ended up coming back into Sai Kung for dinner.  The highlight of the evening’s dinner was seeing the two trilobites outside the restaurant. These prehistoric looking creatures were just meandering ever so slowly along the walkway outside the restaurant. Apparently, they were on the menu, but we didn’t have any that night. That’s okay. I’m not sure I could have stomached trilobite for dinner.

The arch marking the beginning of Seafood Street

Back to our original visit to Sai Kung, we continued along the waterfront.  Of course, being by the sea, you’d expect a lot of boats. There were just a little more boats than I expected. All these boats were all moored together so tightly. It’s still Hong Kong after all. Don’t expect to expect to escape all that density so easily.

There were some neat little shops along the waterfront promenade. There was this cheese shop called The Dutch. Sai Kung is a popular place with expats living in Hong Kong. Many of them actually live in the outlying areas where it’s a little less intense than the urban cores of Hong Kong. So it’s no surprise that you can find little shops like these in Sai Kung.

We then looped back around to the bus loop via the old market street of Sai Kung. This part of Sai Kung is made up of older 3-4 storey buildings. Most have storefronts on the first floor with a variety of shops ranging from food, knick-knacks, and more. Most of the shops are the local everyday fare while others are aiming to be a little more chic. It’s definitely an eclectic mix of stores. Too bad we couldn’t explore the shops more because we had to head back into town to meet up with family for dinner.

The pantheon of Chinese deities

On that note, I’ll leave you with this final photo from our small detour to Tui Mun Hoi Village in Sai Kung. I’m not sure who set up this little area, but it’s a pretty impressive collection of Chinese idols at the entrance to Tui Mun Hoi Village. I don’t know. Maybe it’s set up to protect the locals. Or maybe it was put there to ward off evil fumes from the nearby public toilet. No idea. Your guess is as good as mine.

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