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Yim tin Tsai

Sai Kung is the nearest thing to a seaside resort town in Hong Kong overlooking a beautiful harbour, dotted with a range of attractive and hilly islands. On a clear day there can't be many better views. Along the water front are numerous seafood restaurants, touts for harbour tours, a drummer and other entertainers and the occasional farmers' market.

Sai Kung harbour

Away from the waterfront are some interesting back streets, pubs, a fish and chip shop, temples and lanes to explore. Sai Kung's biggest problem is that it is unique in Hong Kong, getting bigger all the time and struggles to cope with the number of people and the influx of cars.

Back streets

Along the waterfront are numerous places where you can book a boat out to one of the islands in the harbour. One that I like to go to is Yim Tin Tsai. People have moved away from the smaller islands onto the mainland and into the cities in search of wealth as it has become increasingly difficult to make a decent living. Yim Tin Tsai is a perfect example of this in that people had left the island to the point that it was virtually deserted. A Catholic community decided to buy much of the property on the island and it now has a new lease of life.

The journey to the island on the rainbow ferry is pleasant and relaxing, with the captain slowing the boat down as we floated through a school of small jelly fish and other attractions.

First impressions of the island are very positive. By the pier is an old building that has been renovated to be a museum and excellent cafe...

Yim Tin Tsai pier

...which provides a wonderful outdoor seating area where you can sip coffee and admire the view back to Sai Kung town.

Cafe

A path winds up from the pier past derelict houses and houses that have been renovated and are now used for weekend camps and meeting places for the Catholic community.

Derelict houses

At the top of the hill is a small church that has been renovated well.

Church

At the top of the next hill is a grave yard with views across to the island of Kau Sai Chau, where there is a municipal golf course.

View from graveyard

The island needs an income and much of that comes from salt pans that have been claimed back from the mangroves.

Salt pans

While there is not that much to see on the island it makes for a pleasant walk and a great escape from the city. But the fun is not over as the journey back provides some extra excitement. Rather than going straight back to Sai Kung the boat heads south and round the bottom of Sharp Island where the sea is a little less calm and the boat pauses to allow passengers to look at the caves and rock formations.

Caves, Sharp Island

The rest of the journey provides good views of Sai Kung...

Ferry boat

...and Ma On Shan mountain behind it.

Ma On Shan

Highly recommended for a pleasant and relaxing afternoon out.

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