South Lamma Island
The "Island of Thieves", a pirates' den
From the 1100’s to the late 1800’s pirates ruled the oceans around Hong Kong and China’s coastline. At their peak the pirate fleets were 10 times larger the the Spanish Armada, a formidablr force not to be trifiled with.
Lamma Island was known as one of “the islands of thieves” by the Portuguese sailors based on Macau, centuries before the British colonised Hong Kong island. It is not hard to understand why pirates would want to be based on this beautiful island.
Sea Kayak Hong Kong is based at Lo So Shing, an ancient walled pirate village. It makes it hard for us to forget the sea faring heritage of this amazing island, one of the 260 that make up the Hong Kong archipeligo.
Lamma is also home to scores of stone age villages and archeological sites (the most important location for archeological artifacts in southern China). It is also the 3rd largest island in Hong Kong SAR but the least populated of the larger islands. As such it has a wide variety of natural environments, incluing the only Green Sea Turtle hatchery in Hong Kong.
East Lamma Channel - the busiest shipping channel in the world by volume!
Lamma island is the closest island to Hong Kong, sperated by a deep water channel, between 28 and 35 meters deep, the deepest in all Hong Kong waters.
This is the main shipping channel that services the massive container terminalsof Hong Kong, with an ocean going container ship passing by every 9 minutes. In contrast, our little sea kayaks seem like pieces of flotsum. Its hard not to get a feeling of incredible weakness as we pass close to these moving behemoths. Man’s attempt to conquer the forces of the oceans. How silly can we be?
Paddling the East Lamma Channel impresses on so many levels, but you will never get tired of the view of Hong Kong Island, just 2 kms away, with its dominant mountains tamed by the towering skyrise that pepper the landscape. Wow.
On hot summer days, before we leave the shelter of the channel, we take a quick dip to cool off before rounding the island’s southern tip into the South China Sea.
Cliffs, caves, tunnels, beaches and pirate treasure.
Lamma Island has a surprise around every headland. The granite coast has been fractured by millenia of erosion, earthquakes, volcanoes and natural weathering.
Hidden in plain view are cliffs, caves, tunnels and coves with sheltered beaches to be enjoyed. Pirates frequented these bays and coasts. There are many legends of treasure caves and stashes. On our kayaking journeys it is easy to imagine a huge Chinese junk anchored in a hidden bay with dragon boats silently transfering loot and plunder into natural grottos and caves.
Kayaking around Lamma Island is a trip back in time when the largest pirate fleet that ever existed sailed these waters. Where we paddle on the south side of the island, the coast and her secrets and never been disturbed.
The south of Lamma Island is exposed to the vast South China Sea. These sea tunnels and caves have been created by violent sea action pounding waves against the sheer cliffs. It is not always possible to enter these incredible features by kayak (and certainly never by any other means), so please understand if your guide makes the decision not to allow entry, it is for safety reasons and his / her decision is final.
The Green Sea Turtle bay and coast.
On the southern tip of Lamma island is a remote bay known as Sham Wan. This bay opens into the South China Sea an is the only known and protected Green Sea Turtle hatchery in Hong Kong waters.
Access to this bay is by kayak or hike. The beach itself is closed to hikers from end of May until the end of October during the breeding season when the turtles can be using the beach. During this season, if the weather and waves permit, we kayak to Sham Wan, howeve, as part of our commitment to ocean conservation we do not land on the hatchery beach, rather we use a beach on the opposite side of the bay to ensure we do not disturb any nesting that may be occurring (see photo).
It is not always possible to kayak to this bay due to the open and exposed waters to the south of the island, so any people wishing to visit here in breeding season should understand that, due to safety considerations, we cannot always guarentee it is possible.
We also do Full Moon sea kayak trips if the conditions are suitable.
Email for details!
Yung Shue Ha - our south Lamma kayak base and camping ground.
South Lamma Island is bigger than the northern half, we cannot circumavigate it unless with an exceptionally expereinced group, and with the right wind, sea and tidal current conditions. Because of this, the south Lamma Island trip requires a short hike in or out, or both.
Our kayak base is at Yung Sue Ha, an almost deserted village (only 3 families now live there) built on the waterfront in a beautiful crescent bay with white granite sands, surrounded by exposed granite hills.
This is also where we commence our Full Moon kayaking trips to Sham Wan (Turtle Beach) and a free camping ground for anyone who wishes to get closer to nature.
This is a beautiful waterfront ‘wild camping location’ with public toilet but no shower or cooking facilities. There is a small shop for some items, but it is better to prepare.
If you do not have camping equipment, we can rent you everything you need.
South Lamma Island routes, starting and end points.
Depending on the conditions, our sea kayak journey has 3 potential starting and ending locations. These are picked on the day by the guides but our meeting place will always be the same. Our most common ending point is our base at Yung Sue Ha, an almost deserted village (only 3 families now live there) built on the waterfront in a beautiful crescent bay with white granite sands, surrounded by exposed granite hills.
The possible routes for the South Lamma Island trip are:
1. Begin at Sok Kwu Wan and end at Yung Shue Ha OR the reverse direction. Approx 8 kms.
2. Begin at Lo So Shing and end at Yung Shue Ha OR the reverse direction. Approx 11 kms. If we are able to visit Sham Wan (Turtle Bay) our journey will be extended by another 7 kms.
The Yung Shue Ha beach is an easy 90 minute hike from Sok Kwu Wan.
South Lamma Island day tour
Our most popular trip, available all year around. This trip showcases the huge number of differences that makes Hong Kong such an amazing destination
For you to isten to others who have travelled with us we invote you to read our reviews on Tripadvisor. It may help you to understand the tour further and help you decide whether you should actually book the trip. Is it for you?