Kayaking in Sai Kung: where to rent and paddle to

Last updated on January 12th, 2022 at 03:29 pm

Kayaking in Sai Kung is one of the best summer activities to do in Hong Kong. Believe it or not, this concrete jungle has a pretty amazing coastline hidden, and I think that the best kayaking in Hong Kong is in Sai Kung. As we have a long summer here from May until basically October, it’s too hot for hiking so most people turn to kayaking.

Sai Kung kayaking is super popular and my latest adventure to the Jin Island has brought a lot of questions over on Instagram so I decided it’s time for a guide:

>Thinking ahead about what to eat after (or before)? See my Sai Kung guide!

Note: Please do your part to keep the national park clean. Do NOT catch/poke/step on sea life and bring everything back out when you leave. Use reef-safe sunscreen if possible

Things to be aware of when kayaking in Hong Kong

sai kung kayaking hong kong - laugh travel eat

You don’t need to have a kayaking license or have received training to rent a kayak in Hong Kong, and for the most part, there is no dangerous current to look out for. That said, you can encounter strong wind therefore if you are a kayaking novice, it’s best to know your ability and not overexert yourself. Here is a quick checklist:

  • Get the phone number of the watersports center/kayak rental place in case of emergency
  • Bring minimum of 1L of water depending on how long you plan to kayak for – I recommend 2-3L
  • Hat, long sleeves shirt and trousers for full day excursion since it’s easy to get sunburned without realising
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Snack and maybe lunch
  • Life jacket should be provided by all rental place and you should wear it at all times (at minimum have it with you)
  • Waterproof bag for your valuables and belongings. Some center let you leave your bag there but usually security is minimal so you should only leave a change of clothes etc 
  • An app to check windspeed on the day – this one seems pretty good (I’m guilty of not doing it but it is very helpful to)

If you just want some relaxing time, head over to my top 5 beaches in Sai Kung and how to get there!

How much to rent kayak in Sai Kung?

Kayak rental in Hong Kong starts around 100 HKD on weekdays and go up to around 200 HKD on the weekend for the day. If you are planning to go already, it doesn’t hurt to call up in advance and reserve a kayak since they can run out. In some cases, even reserving it is not guaranteed unless you pay a deposit (Ah Kwok Watersports Center is infamous for this).

Most of these establishments are more local-orientated and usually only take bookings on the phone/WhatsApp, and usually only in Cantonese/Traditional Chinese. Do not expect a health and safety briefing or someone to guide you. If you are a complete newbie, it’s best to take a group tour or training course. At minimum, go with friends who have experience.

When to Kayak in Hong Kong?

Kayaking in Hong Kong can really be done year around, as it’s not very cold in the winter. However, if you want to go to remote islands, the optimal time is between April to November when it’s warm enough to sea kayak in Hong Kong.

Although it’s often quite warm in December sometimes, the wind around Sai Kung is very strong from mid November onwards and it can be dangerous.

Sai Kung Kayak Rental

Looking to rent kayak in Sai Kung? Or rent SUP in Sai Kung? There are quite a few places to do that in Sai Kung and it really depends on where you want to go. However, I strongly recommend you to go to Hoi Ha if you’re a beginner, as the water there is calm and there’s no boats speeding around.

While Sha Ha kayak rental is convenient, you’ll have to dodge the kaitu (the wooden ferries) and other private boats as you navigate around.

eastern coast port island from Hoi Ha sai kung hong kong - laugh travel eat

Sha Ha Beach Kayak Rental

sha ha sai kung kayaking hong kong - laugh travel eat

Sha Ha Beach in Sai Kung is the closest place to rent kayak from Sai Kung Town. It’s a good jumping point for those who want to kayak to one of the many islands inside Sai Kung Bay. That said, it’s also one of the busier areas with both privately owned boats and yachts in addition to the kaitu cruising around. So if you have never kayaked before, I won’t recommend setting off here.

Ah Kwok Watersports Center 亞郭水上活動中心

I have mixed experience with them but they are the cheapest operator in Sha Ha and consequently, I don’t have much of a choice. It’s more a collection of watersports equipment on the sand as opposed to a building with an open tent where the guys operate out of. Hence there is no showering or changing facilities on site.

My sister and I had once called to reserve two SUP here and arrived only to find that they had given it to someone else. The organiser was less than sorry and let’s just say I wasn’t impressed.

On another note, on our trip to Jin Island, we were two hours late and they waited and came to rescue part of the group. The late fee and rescue boat fee were added on at 200 HKD per kayak and 700 HKD (April 2020), which wasn’t as bad as I feared.

Note: it’s advisable to call and reserve (with a deposit) in advance for popular holidays, as otherwise there’s zero guarantees. They also speak minimum English so it’s best to find someone who knows Cantonese to help

Opening times: 9:00 – 17:00

How to book: Whatsapp 9170 7513 亞郭/ 9235 7842 WING

How to get there: it’s about 10-15 minutes’ walk from Sai Kung Town Center, or you can take the bus 99 or 299 for 2-3 stops.

Hoi Ha Kayak Rental

hoi ha from the sea sai kung kayaking hong kong - laugh travel eat

Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park is a bay nestled inside the Sai Kung Geopark. It’s a great place for snorkeling too and ideal for those who don’t have a lot of experience with watersports. Hoi Ha kayaking rentals all start on the same beach but don’t go to the wrong store when you return your kayak!

Hoi Ha Wan Hoi Store

A store is what is often used to refer to a basic restaurant in a remote part of Hong Kong that serves some simple food and drinks such as the classic instant noodles and lemon tea. In this case, it also doubles up as a watersports rental center.

Aside from kayak, SUP, you can also rent snorkeling equipment here. 

Opening times: 9:30 – 17:00

Phone number:  2328 2169

How to get there: if you want to drive in, you can call the store owner to see if it can be arranged. Otherwise, you need to catch the minibus 7 from Sai Kung Town Center. Taxi is also an alternative

Hoi Ha Wan Watersports Center

A newer Hoi Ha Wan kayak rental, it’s just down the road from the one above and I like their friendlier prices and staff. They’re happy for you to leave your bag there (again, rent a locker or bring your valuables with you) and have pre-booking discount.

They also accept booking via Whatsapp and you can also DM them for information on their Instagram, but it’s a Chinese-only account.

Opening times: 8:00 – 17:00 (the mosquitoes come out after that)

How to book: IG DM or Whatsapp 98817578

Address: 12 Hoi Ha Road, Sai Kung

Pak Lap Wan Kayak Rental

Another place to rent kayak in Sai Kung Geopark is Pak Lap Wan. It’s in the south where as Hoi Ha is towards the north, and close to Po Ping Chau, Town Island, Bluff Island, and Basalt Island. The beach itself is beautiful but I prefer the Pak Lap Tsai small beach nearby.

You can rent kayak and SUP from the Pak Lap Academy – the one store there. They also rent out camping gear but is known to be a bit difficult to deal with with inflated prices (I’ve never seen paddles being charged as extra).

How to book: Whatsapp 68584208

How to get there: Take a taxi from Sai Kung Town and tell the driver to drop you off at Pak Lap Wan – it’s a trail that leads down to the beach and store, ~20-30 minutes walk

Po Toi O Kayak Rental

Po Toi O is a sleep little village on the southern end of the peninsula that Clear Water Bay is on. Usually, people end up there from High Junk Peak hike or for a seafood meal. Since there’s no Clear Water Bay kayak rental place, this is the next beset place.

From here, you can go to Clear Water Bay, Ninepin Islands, Steep Island, Green Egg Island, and across to Jin Island.

Po Toi O Watersports 布袋澳秤哥水上活動中心

This my go-to watersports center in Po Toi O. They have fresh (but cold) open shower to rinse off, let you keep your bag there, and have very friendly staff. They also run tours and courses, and is a great place to learn paddle boarding in Hong Kong.

Alternatively, they also offer speedboat charter service that can take you to some of the islands in Sai Kung. My personal favourites are Bluff Island, Basalt Island, and Jin Island.

Po Toi O Watersports – check their prices on their website

Opening times: 9:30 – 17:30

Address: see on google map (inside Po Toi O village, take minibus 16 from Tseung Kwan O

Sheung Sze Wan Kayak Rental (not recommended)

Between Clear Water Bay and Po Toi O is Sheung Sze Wan, but I’ve received reader complaints that it is not a good company to go with both ethically and equipment-wise, so I’d suggest going to this place in Po Toi O.

Sai Kung Kayaking Group Tours

group tour sai kung kayaking hong kong - laugh travel eat

Finding a group tour for kayaking can be a hit or miss, and usually either a bit pricey or require booking fairly far in advance. If you are strapped for time and need an English-speaking guide as well, your best chance is to book a tour on Klook. It’s well-reviewed and takes you to some of the classic and off-the-beaten-path gems like Yim Tin Tze.

Book on Klook

Sai Kung Kayaking Destinations

Depending on where you rent your kayak in Sai Kung, there are many interesting places to visit and plenty of snorkeling to be done. If you want to SUP in Sai Kung, some of these locations are also possible!

Pak Sha Chau Kayak from Sha Ha

You can paddle to here!

A small island with a beautiful sandbank in the middle, it’s the closest interesting island from Sha Ha and popular for many kayakers to stop. There’s no kaitu (private ferry service) that goes here and tends to be quieter.

There are BBQ facilities on the island but remember to take away any rubbish with you at the end. Snorkelling in the shallows there is nice as well.

Sharp Island Kayak from Sha Ha

Sharp Island in Sai Kung is not to be confused with the Sharp Peak. It’s the biggest island near Sha Ha, Sharp Island is home to one of my favourite beaches in Sai Kung but if you are kayaking there, you should head to the tombolo side closest to Sha Ha. Since there are regular kaitu, the best time to go is during high tide in the morning so you can kayak across the tombolo that’s still covered by water and there’ll be fewer people.

Yim Tin Tsai Kayak from Sha Ha

arriving at yim tin tsai sai kung hong kong - laugh travel eat

On the other side of Sharp Island, Yim Tin Tsai is a small island with an interesting history. While nowadays the population on the island remains in single figures, it used to be a large settlement that was all baptized in the 19th century. You can visit the St Joseph’s Chapel and the salt farm here – find out more on Yim Tin Tsai in my guide here.

Kau Sai Chau Kayak from Sha Ha

view to Kau Sai Chau from twin pavilion yim tin tsai sai kung hong kong - laugh travel eat
This is the view of Kau Sai Chau from Sharp Island

A much bigger island next to Yim Tin Tsai, Kau Sai Chau is primarily occupied by a golf course which you can really see from the sea.

Whiskey Beach Hong Kong

On its west side is a beautiful beach known as Whiskey Bay. I won’t recommend going this far unless you are experienced and it’s best to turn back from this point.

Hoi Ha Wan Kayaking

SUP-hoi-ha-sai-kung-laugh-travel-eat-2-of-5

There are fewer specific places per se when it comes to Hoi Ha kayak spots. Hoi Ha itself is at the northernmost bay in Sai Kung with the area being a marine park. You can kayak around safely and I generally don’t recommend going out of the bay.

Hoi Ha pier sai kung hong kong - laugh travel eat
The beautiful Hoi Ha pier

The best snorkeling spot is right by the Hoi Ha Pier which you can see from the beach that you set off from. You can also walk there but almost all snorkellers I’ve seen kayak or SUP over there.

This is the perfect place for beginners as I’ve previously stated, with refreshments available at the store that rent watersports equipment.

Port Island Kayak from Hoi Ha

Port Island is just beyond Grass Island and a tough (but doable) kayaking trip from Hoi Ha. Its name in Chinese is Chek Chau, which means red island, a reference to the red sandstone that characterise the island.

It’s actually best explored through kayaking as well, but I want to stress that it’s a full day trip and not easy at all to cross the fairly open ocean with huge waves.

Jin Island Kayak from Po Toi O or Sheung Sze Wan

Further on from Kau Sai Chau is the Jin Island, where we naively set out during one windy day to see the archway known as a Goldfish’s Tail. It took us three hours with the tailwind on our side and that alone took three hours.

goldfish tail jin island sai kung kayaking hong kong - laugh travel eat

It’s an absolutely beautiful structure and you can kayak in, though do be careful to wave for the waves close to the rocks as being smashed against it can damage your kayak.

inside goldfish tail jin island sai kung kayaking hong kong - laugh travel eat

On the way back we were going against the wind and it took over six hours, with half of us being rescued by speedboats.

An alternative to setting out from Sha Ha is to go from Po Toi O, which is by Clear Water Bay on the other side of Sai Kung. However, it might be closer but it crosses a busy bay so you need to watch out for boats, so only experienced kayakers should attempt.

Green Egg Island Kayak from Po Toi O

sea shot green egg island hong kong - laugh travel eat

Green Egg Island kayaking is a new favourite activity. But the island is right by the shore and visible from the Lung Ha Wan Country Trail. It is near to another island that’s great for snorkeling and it has beautiful pebbly beaches. However, the island is easier to reach and hence can draw a crowd.

aerial shot green egg island hong kong - laugh travel eat

Plus, the best view of it is from the hiking trail that goes down.

*Note – it is better to hike than to kayak to Green Egg Island because kayaking there does damage the corals! And while Sheung Sze Wan is commonly closer, I’ve received reader complaints that it is not a good company to go with both ethically and equipment-wise, so I’d suggest going to this place in Po Toi O.

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.

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