The Lesser Known Side of Lantau – Sea Ranch
It may take some effort to get to Sea Ranch Beach and Tai Long Wan (Tai Long Bay) on the south side of Lantau Island, but you'll be rewarded by peaceful beaches and a real sense of being off the beaten track. Follow this step-by-step guide and enjoy a truly memorable day in Hong Kong.
If you’re looking for Hong Kong’s cleanest, quietest and least crowded sandy beaches, you’ll definitely want to head to Sea Ranch Beach and Tai Long Wan (Tai Long Bay) on the south side of Lantau Island. Getting there will take a bit of logistical effort, but in terms of physical effort, hiking the nearly flat 9km to this area is doable for beginners and experts alike. And, no matter your hiking ability, when you first experience these remote beaches for yourself, you’ll be taken aback by their spectacular beauty, and you’ll be bathed in their abundant vibe of seaside calm. At the end of your day, you’ll be able to ride a traditional Hong Kong sampan to a delicious seafood lunch at Cheung Chau! This hike will certainly give you a Hong Kong memory that will last a lifetime, and cost you little more than a bit of time and effort!
First have a look below at what’s in store for you on this spectacular hike, and then below the pictures, I’ll give you a bit of history about Sea Ranch as well as all the logistical details (including a link to our Google Map route) you’ll need in order to get to and from this fantastic area.
A Bit of Background on Sea Ranch Beach
If you’ve ever taken the ferry to Macau, you may have have noticed an odd cluster of white buildings on Lantau Island. Those buildings are Sea Ranch. The beach in front of course is Sea Ranch Beach.
Distilled, Sea Ranch was built in 1975, and was intended to be a hyper-luxury resort. However, by 1984 the development company that created Sea Ranch was deeply in debt and decided to sell their shares of the company to a small group of folks who had already bought properties in Sea Ranch.
Fast forward to today, Sea Ranch is still standing, ~100 people live there full time, and the buildings range from some that look well-kept to others that are seemingly abandoned and look quite dilapidated. Sans the few people we saw when we were there, Sea Ranch Beach felt like a ghost town.
As there are no roads that lead to Sea Ranch as well as no shops there, the folks living there can only get to “civilization” by foot or by boat. And thus, these are the only two options you’ll have to get to Sea Ranch too. If you’re keen to make the journey, check out all the logistical details below.
Getting To And From Sea Ranch
As you can see from the map above, there are a ton of different ways you can get to Sea Ranch. The route we did, and the one we recommend is as follows:
Central Ferry Pier #6 –> Public Ferry to Mui Wo –> Hike to Tai Long Wan –> Hike to Sea Ranch Beach –> Sampan (a.k.a. Water Taxi) to Cheung Chau –> Public Ferry to Central Ferry Pier #6
If during your hike you’d like to follow our route on Google Maps, the link to our route is here! You can also see it below. (Ignore the letters “A”, “B” etc.) Also, on the map, by clicking the little arrow icon, located at the top left of the map, you’ll be able to access the checkbox menu. This checkbox menu will allow you to view any part of the route that you would like.
There is a small section of the trail between Tai Long Wan and Sea Ranch Beach; however, it is not well marked. You may have to look around for it a little bit, but there is indeed a little trail that runs between the two. Basically, walk west down Tai Long Wan, look up to your right, and eventually you’ll see a place where you can cut in from the beach up into the jungle/trees. At that spot, you’ll intersect with the trail!
Taking a sampan, water taxi, from Sea Ranch Beach to Cheung Chau cost us HK$150. That was for four people. At Sea Ranch there is a pier, and on the pier there was a man who works for the Sea Ranch management company. Fortunately, one of our hiking mates spoke Cantonese, so he was able ask the man to call us a sampan. However, I’m planning to go back here again, and even without a Cantonese speaker, I’m confident I can get a sampan too. Here’s how!
How to Get A Sampan (Water Taxi) From Sea Ranch Beach
First, you can show the man at the dock this phrase:
It means, “I’m at Sea Ranch. I need a water taxi to Cheung Chau”. (Thank you Google Translate.) However, if the man is not working there, and instead you need to call for the water taxi yourself, you’ll need to use a little bit of Cantonese. If you don’t speak Cantonese, just play the following video/audio file to the water taxi driver, it says, “I’m at Sea Ranch. I need a water taxi to Cheung Chau”, and you’ll be all set!
There are a number of sampan (water taxi) drivers, so here are the few phone numbers we were given.
- +852 9219 0065
- +852 9215 0865
- +852 9492 9754
- +852 9056 5095
We were even given an overnight sampan phone number!
- +852 9237 7501
If all else fails, and you can’t get yourself a water taxi, there are many ways to walk back to Mui Wo!
The hike from Mui Wo to Sea Ranch Beach is ~9km, so make sure you’ve got enough water. There are a few villages along the way, so if you’re brave enough, you might be able to get some water along the way, but don’t plan on it. Also, there isn’t much shade at the beach, so you’ll want sun protection. And of course, a few snacks will keep you energized throughout the day!
Lunch in Cheung Chau
By the time you get to Cheung Chau, you’ll likely be hungry. We were super hungry in fact! And given that we were on an island, we could think of nothing better than seafood! We went to Delicious Seafood Restaurant, and true to its name, it was DELICIOUS!
The food here was also VERY affordable, at ~HK$80 per dish. This was a nice change from the much more expensive seafood (of the same quality) that we’ve had before at places such as Lamma Island and Sai Kung.
Well there ya have it! If you’d like to get to Sea Ranch Beach as well as Tai Long Wan, you’ll have to put in the effort, but you’ll be well rewarded! And now, you have all the information you’ll need to do it!
Seth and Julia blog about culturally immersive adventure travel and food experiences so that their readers have the information and inspiration to craft their own adventures. Based in Hong Kong, but covering the world over, they learn and share about local cultures and foods so that their readers can avoid tourist traps, access the true essence of the places they go, and adventure as well as eat like locals. As minimalists, they both usually travel with only a school bags worth of carry-on luggage as well as their desire to take only photos and leave only footprints. Find more of their culturally immersive adventure travel/food guides at www.forsomethingmore.com.