Ninepin Island: the hidden hexagonal column paradise of Hong Kong

Before we get excited over shots like this, let's see what you should be aware of!!

Last updated on May 18th, 2020 at 11:34 pm

  1. Dazzling… Dazzling Cafe
  2. 5 reasons why I ditched London and move back to Hong Kong
  3. Wine and dine at Stone Nullah Tavern
  4. Sai Kung rock pools: the 4 consecutive pools and falls
  5. The Ultimate Guide to a Sai Kung Boat trip
  6. 5 transportations to take in Hong Kong
  7. Top 5 dessert place of Hong Kong (as of Sept 2016)
  8. 5+ amazing Sai Kung beaches in Hong Kong
  9. The Ultimate First Timer’s info guide to Hong Kong
  10. The Ultimate Guide to visiting the Peak, Hong Kong
  11. Best Egg Waffle Hong Kong: tried and tested
  12. Best brunch Hong Kong: my top 5 western restaurant
  13. Night Hike in Hong Kong: Suicide Cliff, Kowloon Peak
  14. The Best Time to Visit Hong Kong
  15. Pineapple Mountain: a visit to the Hong Kong Grand Canyon
  16. Top things to do in Admiralty and Central Hong Kong
  17. The Best Place to Stay in Hong Kong for First Timers
  18. Alternative places to stay in Hong Kong
  19. The Ultimate Guide to Temples of Hong Kong (ALL free entry!)  
  20. Moreish and Malt Afternoon tea: a review
  21. West High Hill – an adventurous alternative to the Peak
  22. Ham and Sherry Brunch Review – Tapas in Hong Kong
  23. My top restaurants in Hong Kong
  24. Hiking Tsz Wan Shan: the most underrated view of Kowloon
  25. Bubble tea Hong Kong: a Laugh Travel Eat guide
  26. A Shop and Eat Guide to Mongkok Hong Kong:
  27. Tung Ping Chau Day trip: hidden Hong Kong
  28. Ninepin Island: the hidden hexagonal column paradise of Hong Kong
  29. Tai Tun Shan – the thousand islands view of Sai Kung
  30. 15+ most instagrammed place in Hong Kong that’s not the Peak and how to get there
  31. My 1 Day Itinerary in Hong Kong
  32. Best of Sai Kung’s nature: Lai Chi Chong, Sham Chung, and Yung Shue O hike
  33. MacLehose Trail Stage 4 – Shui Long Wo
  34. Wu Gau Tang to Tiu Tang Lung hike: Hong Kong’s mountain and bays
  35. Easy hikes in Hong Kong that aren’t Dragon’s Back
  36. Needle Hill Hong Kong – conquering the third sharpest peak
  37. High Junk Peak: hike the second sharpest peak of Hong Kong
  38. Lung Ha Wan Country Trail: a hike up Tai Tun Leng Hong Kong
  39. Sham Shui Po local guide: fabric, electronics, and food galore
  40. A local’s guide to Sai Kung Hong Kong
  41. Iris Hong Kong review: the annual yoga and wellness weekend festival
  42. A hike up Ma On Shan via Tiu Shau Ngam, Hong Kong
  43. Lion Rock Hike: how to hike up the iconic Hong Kong mountain
  44. Tai To Yan: a Hong Kong razor ridge hike
  45. Buffalo Hills: hike up rocky outcrops and silver grass in Hong Kong
  46. Robin’s Nest: hike between Hong Kong and Shenzhen
  47. Devil’s Peak: fortifications and urban views galore
  48. Qipao rental in Hong Kong: experience old Hong Kong charm
  49. Kai Kung Leng: the velvet trail of Yuen Long
  50. Tai O Hong Kong: a day trip from the city
  51. Hung Heung Lo Fung: shortest hike in Hong Kong with a view
  52. Top things to do in Lantau Island on a day trip (or two)
  53. Wo Yang Shan hike: frolic under Tai Mo Shan
  54. Things to do in Sheung Wan Hong Kong
  55. Things to do in Hong Kong at night
  56. Sheung Wan Restaurants: best eateries and cafes
  57. Cheung Chau Island: a Hong Kong day trip
  58. What to do in Hong Kong in 4 days – advice from a local
  59. Nui Po Shan: finding the phallic rock hike in Hong Kong
  60. Sharp Peak: conquering one of Hong Kong’s toughest trails
  61. Lui Ta Shek hike: a quiet hike in Sai Kung
  62. Hiking Middle Hill – a fly by from Kowloon Peak
  63. Kayaking in Sai Kung: where to rent and paddle to
  64. Green Egg Island – an unusual oasis in Sai Kung, Hong Kong
  65. Seeking Kam Kui Shek Teng, Sai Kung Hong Kong
  66. Ping Nam Stream: hidden waterfall in Hong Kong
  67. Madai Stream: chasing waterfalls in Ma On Shan
  68. Grass Island Tap Mun- a Sai Kung getaway
  69. Pak Lung Stream: a Lantau stream hike
  70. Top Hong Kong Staycation deals
  71. Ap Lei Pai adventure via Yuk Kwai Shan
  72. Po Kwu Wan: a hidden Sai Kung bay
  73. Wang Chung Stream: the most scenic waterfall hike
  74. Tai Shing Stream – seeking birds and dragons
  75. Basalt Island: an adventure in Sai Kung Geo Park
  76. Jin Island: a day trip to Tiu Chung Chau
  77. Rhino Rock Stanley: a short hike with a view
  78. Tsing Tam Reservoir and Ho Pui Reservoir: an easy hike
  79. Lantau Peak from Ngong Ping: the easy route
  80. Bluff Island: an island adventure in Sai Kung
  81. Lo Fu Tau Country Trail: a Lantau Island hike
  82. Wilson Trail Stage 4: Tung Yeung Shan – an unexpected silver grass heaven
  83. Middle Dog Teeth Ridge – Mid Kau Nga Ling up Lantau Peak
  84. Kau To Shan: the hidden hike in Fo Tan
  85. Lau Shui Heung Reservoir to Hok Tau Reservoir: a Fanling easy day hike
  86. Tai Mo Shan hike: 5 ways to go up the Highest peak in Hong Kong
  87. 10 best hikes Hong Kong
  88. Devil’s Fist – a Plover Cove Reservoir hike out Wong Chuk Kok Tsui
  89. Cape d’Aguilar Hike Hong Kong: a complete guide
  90. Violet Hill hike + Twins Peak
  91. Sham Shui Po Food: a tried and tested guide
  92. Thousand Islands: Reservoir Island viewpoint in Tai Lam Country Park
  93. Tai Tong: Hong Kong’s red leaves haven
  94. Mau Ping Ancient Trail: seeking the Vine King and Bamboo Tunnels
  95. Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden: a sustainable and education day trip
  96. Pat Sin Leng hike: conquering the 8 immortals peak
  97. Shek Uk Shan: highest peak in Sai Kung
  98. Nam Sang Wai: cycling to the Yuen Long scenic wetland
  99. Tsang Pang Kok Tsui: the hidden headline
  100. Seeking Devil’s Claw along Chung Hom Kok
  101. Things to do in Aberdeen Hong Kong
  102. Sok Kwu Wan: hidden Lamma Island
  103. Best Burgers in Hong Kong
  104. Wang Chau: Sai Kung’s hidden tombolo
  105. Yim Tin Tsai: the salt farming island of Sai Kung
  106. Top things to do in Tsim Sha Tsui
  107. Checkerboard Hill: a Hidden Kowloon hike
  108. Hidden Hindu Temple Fanling: low level urban exploration
  109. Shark Rock Hong Kong: a hidden Kowloon hike
  110. Cloudy Hill: the easy way to hike Wilson Trail Section 8
  111. Ngau Wu Reservoir hike: a quick trip to the forgotten Ma On Shan reservoir
  112. 134 hike Sai Kung: Sharp Peak-3 Peninsula-4 beaches
  113. Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls hike: Bali vibes in Hong Kong
  114. Little Hawaii Trail: easy waterfall hike with tropical vibes
  115. Maclehose Trail Section 3: Ka Kung Shan hike
  116. MacLehose Trail Section 2: Sai Wan, Ham Tin Beach, and Chek Keng
  117. Po Toi Island Guide: hikes, attractions, and where to eat

The first time I came across Ninepin group – a series of 29 volcanic islands in the Sai Kung Sea – was when I hiked the High Junk Peak. We could see the hexagonal columns from afar, and the dramatic formation gave them a certain exotic air. However, as a non-inhabited island, there was no way for us to visit it through public means. In fact, despite naming it a place she wants to visit, my sister hadn’t mentioned any more of it for the year since.

Luckily for her (and me), it seems that a family friend is a keen explorer and knows of a tour that sets off to the elusive Ninepin islands. And so we packed our bags, cameras, and drone, and set off for a day’s adventure!

Ninepin Island background

horzintalme back near rock chamber south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat

As mentioned above, none of the Ninepin group are inhabited. The island group is situated east of Clear Water Bay and Tung Lung Chau, and are not inhabited. The biggest islands are the North Ninpine, South Ninepin, and the East Ninepin. The islands are all volcanic in origin, forming several million years ago when Hong Kong was a volcanic zone.

western view of of south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The general rocky landscape

Aside from hexagonal columns, there are many unique formations formed due to erosion on the islands, of which many are given a name. In this post, I want to unveil some of the most spectacular sights on these islands!

North Ninepin Island

view from ferry of north ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
North Ninepin Island

The most memorable part of the North Ninepin Island is the huge hexagonal columns that you can walk over right by the pier.

birds eye view hexagonal columns and boat north ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The essential birds eye view photo

While we didn’t get to see the southern part of the island on the tour, it was amazing to see the Sunken Ship Crack, Hok Tsai Pai (a detached island) and Big Stove Arch on the northernmost point Ngan Peng Tau.

better big stove arch cove north ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The dramatic Sunken Ship Crack!
wing view of hok tsai pai ngan peng tau north ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
la sis with the Hok Tsai Pai island of hexagonal islands behind her!
lighthouse and view of hok tsai pai north ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat

Don’t worry if you don’t get any of the names, it really does do your head in with the phonetic translation.

There I also a lighthouse on the top, if anyone is keen on photographing structures.

South Ninepin Island

first glimpse of south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
First glimpse of the island – we got on at the left! It wasn’t the safest place for sure

While the hexagonal columns aren’t as dramatic, there are some interesting sights on South Ninepin Island.

For example, the smallest Tin Hau Temple in Hong Kong is on top of one of the hills, the South Nai Tau.

smallest tin hau temple south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The smallest Tin Hau Temple in HK!
king kong head north nai tang south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The King Kong head! The bottom part is the jaw

Opposite that is the North Nai Tau, which is home to the King Kong head formation and overlooks the T-rex peninsular. Interesting tidbit: the Nai Tau also means boobs…

view of northern part of south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
They say it looks like a T-rex turning – but perhaps I didn’t get the angle quite right?
view of beach at south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The – erm – north and south Nai Tau

There is also a stone arch in the middle of the island, where the sea had eroded almost all the way through to the beach!

me at stone arch south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
It seems I’m quite fond of getting photos of me on this trip than normal…

Further south, there is the Thousand-Inch Wall, a sheer cliff of hexagonal columns that faces the “Y” Cave.

me back thousand inch wall south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The thousand-inch wall in front!
The Y cave south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
And the Y caves viewed from the tiop of the Thousand-inch Wall

Directly opposite them is the Rock Chambers, which is more like a slit in the rocks!

rock chamber south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The rock chamber = silt in the rock!

There are also other structures – such as this dead fish:

dead fish rock south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
It’s a rock! hehe did I get you?

East Ninepin Island

Our tour didn’t stop on the East Ninepin island, but we did go around it and I was able to get this time-lapse by standing for 15 minutes:

How to visit the Ninepin Islands?

getting on tst ferry to north ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The tour started at Tsim Sha Tsui pier

There is no public transport to visit the Ninepin group, nor is it possible to visit outside of May to September, as the sea condition would be too rough.

going down to big stove arch at ngan peng tau north ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
But this is the level of crowd with a tour

The cheapest and safest way is to go with a tour. We went with Yau Sing Tour for 230 HKD per person, however, it is a local tour and only speaks in Chinese. We did encounter another group which speaks English, but I am unsure of the tour company.

a boat trip at south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
We saw people on chartered boats!

Another possible way to visit is to charter a boat, however, it would be expensive to rent out a boat. It’s also worth noting that most boats are too big to dock by the islands.

smaller boat for transport to ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat
The only way you can dock and land

The tour has organised a smaller boat to ferry all passengers to and from the islands, hence if you don’t have that option, the only other way is to swim.

Pointers for visiting Ninepin Islands

getting on ferry near rock chamber south ninepin island sai kung hong kong - Laugh Travel Eat

When visiting the Ninepin islands, bear in mind that it would be a completely exposed trip with no refreshment point. There will be a lot of climbing over rocks and vegetation, so dress accordingly. Some of the essentials are:

  • Enough water – I didn’t bring enough which sent my sis into an annoying rant
  • Hat and sunscreen, even umbrella
  • Proper footwear – hiking shoes if you have any
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • A change of clothes – trust me!
  • First aid equipment – there are some on the boat, but in case you slip on the island
Ninepins group are a series of 29 islands in the South China Sea in Sai Kung. It might be secluded, but here's why you have to visit:
Pin me!
Ninepins group are a series of 29 islands in the South China Sea in Sai Kung. It might be secluded, but here's why you have to visit:
Pin me!

Written by Nam Cheah

Hi, my name is Nam. I am 24 and spent half my life in Hong Kong and the other half in UK. I believe there's endless experience and beauty in the world and this is me chronicling how to experience the best at the best price.

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

me on second watch tower rock kang lau shek Tung Ping Chau hong kong horizontal

Tung Ping Chau Day trip: hidden Hong Kong

Good Food Guide Melbourne: for First Time Visitors

Scramble egg on toast and mocha, Higher Ground, Melbourne CBD, Australia