Tourists will be able to visit the Sha Tau Kok Frontier Closed Area from early 2024, as part of an initiative to open Hong Kong’s northernmost town to visitors. However, there will be no visits to Chung Ying Street, which runs along the border that the SAR shares with Mainland China.

These measures were announced by Chief Executive John Lee during his second policy address, which he delivered on Wednesday. Lee said that when the government establishes the Sha Tau Kok Cultural Tourism Zone, visitors will be able to apply for Closed Area Permits online to visit the town and its nearby outlying islands.

sha tau kok aerial view
Sha Tau Kok lies along the border of Hond Kong and Mainland China (© Derek Yung via Canva)

“We will also explore with the Shenzhen Municipal Government the feasibility of developing a cultural tourism zone in Sha Tau Kok on the Hong Kong side and Shatoujiao on the Shenzhen side, including exploring arrangements to facilitate access to the cultural tourism zone by visitors of both sides,” said Lee during his address.

Hongkongers who do not have a valid permit to enter Frontier Closed Areas are prohibited from entering Sha Tau Kok, as well as areas like Starling Inlet. Chung Ying Street is off-limits to visitors as one side of the street belongs to Hong Kong and the other comes under Mainland China. Currently, only the Sha Tau Kok Pier is open for group tours on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays

These tours began as recently as June 2022, and allow visitors to travel from Sha Tau Kok Pier to outlying islands in the northeastern part of Hong Kong, such as Lai Chi Wo and Kat O, which is also known as Crooked Island. The highlights of the tours include the Cape of Sha Tau Kok — from where participants can get panoramic views of Hong Kong and Shenzhen — and a replica of a boundary stone with an ancient poem dedicated to the scenery of this town.

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Header image credits: Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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