A Guide to Exploring High Island, Hong Kong Geopark

You Can Now Explore Hong Kong’s UNESCO Geopark High Island by Ferry & Tours

With ferry services commencing on Nov. 11, 2023, it is now more accessible and convenient to explore High Island, a remarkable outlying destination in Hong Kong. Nestled within the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, High Island beckons visitors with its diverse and breathtaking scenery.

Tin Hau temple High Island sai kung

History of High Island

High Island, known in Chinese as Leung Shuen Wan, translates to "food supply bay." In bygone days, fishing boats sought refuge on the island to replenish their food and water supplies. The name itself encapsulates the historical role of the bay as a shelter and supply station for ships, adding another layer of intrigue to the island's rich tapestry.

High Island's history is as fascinating as its landscapes. Once the largest island in the Sai Kung area, it underwent a transformation in 1969 when two dams connected it to the Sai Kung peninsula, forming the High Island Reservoir.

In fact, the island originated as a supervolcano. Traces of this geological formation can still be observed in the unique hexagonal rock formations that were created from its molten volcanic material. These rock columns have earned the distinction of being selected as one of the First 100 International Union of Geological Sciences Geological Heritage Sites.

Culture in High Island

Granting a glimpse into traditional Hong Kong culture, High Island boasts Hakka and fishing villages that still exude rustic charm. The four villages across the island include Tung A, Pak Lap, and Sha Kiu, with the first three comprising Hakka villages, while Sha Kiu is a fishing village.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the island reached its peak with about 500 Hakka residents and nearly 200 fishing boats anchored in the bay, sustaining a vibrant community of over 1,000 fishermen.

High Island Geopark Hong Kong

What to See in High Island Geopark

To complement the ferry services, the Hong Kong Geopark has also introduced a new self-guided half-day-long route for those who wish to explore the island on foot.

The High Island half-day tour covers Pak A pier to Sha Kiu and offers a two-hour scenic journey. Along this path, visitors can discover the Leung Shuen Wan Tin Hau Temple, a Grade III historic building dedicated to the ancient Chinese Goddess of the Sea (Tin Hau).

Within the temple lie four precious artefacts, each with its own historical significance. These include an ornate wood carving set dating back to the Qing Dynasty, a dragon head wood carving, a dragon sedan chair used during the traditional Tin Hau Festival’s Sea parade, and an ancient bell from the sixth year of the Qianlong reign of the Qing dynasty.

According to Leung Shuen Wan fisherman representative Cheng King-man, the bell served as a crucial timekeeping tool for fishermen in a time before watches and radios.

Click here to discover the High Island tour, and for more information on the destination.

Ferry Schedule to High Island Geopark

The ferry journey to High Island sets off from Sai Kung Pier beside Sai Kung Town Centre and requires a transfer at Kau Sai Village. Each section of the trip takes around 30 minutes, with the schedule operating in 30-minute intervals both to and from each stop. Both adult and child tickets cost HK$65 per person.

Ferry trips leaving from Sai Kung Pier begin at 9:30 AM, with the final return trip of the day leaving at 6:30 PM. While trips leaving from High Island begin at 10 AM, with a final departure at 5:30 PM.

Please note that the ferry service is only available on weekends and public holidays, visitors to the island on weekdays can find a ferry or sightseeing boat for hire from Sai Kung Pier.

For more details on the ferry schedule, visit the High Island Geopark site here, or call for inquiry at +852 2272 2022.

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