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Island Excursions: Ferry edition

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

With Hong Kong being made up of 263 islands, escaping the hustle and bustle of the city is easier than you think. If you are new to exploring the islands with your dogs, we're here with our first edition of Island Excursions, to help you navigate your way around the outlying islands, and highlight some of the must-see attractions.

1. Ma Wan (Park Island)

This little island between Tsing Yi and Lantau is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an island excursion, which is exactly why it's the perfect place to visit on your day off - because not everyone thinks to come to this spot! You can actually get to this island by road, however, there are two ferries to help you get to Ma Wan; Central Ferry Pier No. 2 for a 20 minute ferry ride, and Tsuen Wan Ferry Pier for a 12 minute boat ride.

The best part? Dogs are allowed on all ferries, at no extra cost!

Once on the island, you can hike to Tai Leng Tau, where you can get a beautiful vantage point of the Tsing Ma Bridge, or hike along the coast and uncover several secluded beaches on the island, which make for a great pit stop with the dog. If you are a fan of coffee shops, visit the quaint little coffee shop of 米九十 Cafe IKI (pictured) for some light bites and insta-worthy snaps of the cute decor and treats. For more information on the ferry schedule, check here

2. Lamma

From Central Pier No. 4, there are two ferries to take you to either ends of Lamma; Sok Kwu Wan or Yung Shue Wan. Sok Kwu Kwan, also known as Picnic Bay, is a 30 to 40 minute ferry ride, and is home to several seafood restaurants, some Japanese Kamikaae tunnels and several beautiful coastal trails on the Southern side of Lamma. You can also access Sham Wan Beach from this end, however, please note that this beach is off limits during _ due to sea turtle conservation. If you are looking for a quiet island day out, Sok Kwu Wan is idyllic. You can also get to Mo Tat Wan and Sok Kwu Wan via a ferry service disembarking from Aberdeen for a 35 minute ferry ride, and of course, dogs are welcome. If you want to visit the slightly busier Yung Shue Wan for a shorter ferry ride of 27 minutes, this populated side of Lamma can still make for a good day out, and is home to pet-friendly hotels, Concerto Inn and Bellagio Pets Friendly Resort. Both of which are a short stroll away from dog-friendly beach, Power Station Beach. Pets are allowed on all sailings of these ferries at a small fee, and are to be carried in a carrier or muzzled. For ferry pricing and schedule, check here.

3. Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau is probably the most popular and most densely populated island of the lot, and with good reason. With plenty of exciting coffee shops and eateries, bike rentals, trails and 4 dog-friendly beaches, there's plenty of activities to suit everyone. Not to mention, it is home to the famous Cheung Po Tsai Cave, where Guangdong pirate, Cheung Po Tsai, is said to have kept his treasures, adding that element of excitement and mystery to this island. Hike the gentle trail of the Mini Great Wall of Cheung Chau (pictured) and keep your eyes peeled for the interesting rock formations along the way. To get here with your dogs, you must take the slow or "ordinary ferry", which is a one hour ferry ride from Central Pier No. 5, and like most ferry services disembarking from Central, owners are required to show that they have a muzzle for their dog, on their person. However, most of the time staff do not enforce that dogs wear it onboard (unless it appears your dog is aggressive or a threat to passengers). For more information on the ferry service to Cheung Chau, check here.

4. Peng Chau

Out of all the ferries disembarking from Central, the ferry to Peng Chau seems to have the strictest rules for dogs wearing muzzles, as ferry staff enforce the rule and check to ensure that all dogs are muzzled before being allowed to board. If your dogs can last the 40 minute, ordinary (slow) ferry ride, the sleepy, laid-back island of Peng Chau, makes for a lovely and relaxing day out. Walk along the coast and take a pit-stop at any of the the dog-friendly beaches along the way, or hike up to the highest point of the island, Finger Hill, which stands at 95 m tall. Swing by the dog-friendly cafe of Island Table Grocer or Chill Chill Country, if you are just after a coffee break, to cap it off.

5. Lantau (Mui Wo)

With Lantau being the largest of the Hong Kong islands, the opportunities for exploration here are endless! If you don't plan on venturing too far, Mui Wo alone has Silver Mine Cave, Silvermine waterfall, Silvermine Bay Beach, and the gentle Olympic Trail for adventurers to explore. Not to mention, it is also home to our favourite island cafes, Pause Cafe, who always have an array of delectable snacks and drinks to re-fuel after a day of fun. If you're not opposed to venturing out further, you can even catch one of the blue taxis to Cheung Sha Beach, for a spot of dog-friendly water sporting activities or some good ol' fun in the sun. Dog owners must catch the slow or ordinary ferry from Central Pier No. 6, which takes around 50-60 minutes, and must show that they have a muzzle on their person before boarding. Check here for ferry schedule and pricing

6. Discovery Bay

Of all the islands to visit from Central, Discovery Bay is probably the easiest and most comfortable for dog owners and their pups. Ferries from Central Pier No. 3 are every half hour, and there are no restrictions on which ferries dogs can board. The ferry pier, is also conveniently connected to IFC via a footbridge, which dogs are allowed to pass through with you on foot, so long as they are leashed. The short and air-conditioned ferry ride is under 30 minutes, and once there, the adventurous can explore Lo Fu Tau - or Tiger's Head - and beyond, to Mui Wo, or venture off to one of the dog-friendly beaches nearby for a day of fun in the sun. However, do note, all DB visitors with dogs are required to fill out a form before boarding the ferry, so be sure to arrive ahead of your ferry departure time to allow time for this. If you wish to shave some time off this process, you can fill out this form online and show the staff when purchasing your tickets. For ferry schedule and pricing, please check here.

7. Tai O

For those looking to really getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can't get further afield than the quaint fishing village of Tai O on Lantau. The ferry journey from Tuen Mun, takes a whopping 87 minutes via slow ferry - which dog owners must endure should they wish to visit with their dogs - and makes pitstops along the way at Tung Chung and Sha Lo Wan, before arriving at your destination. The destination definitely makes the journey worthwhile, as the village of Tai O is a sight to behold in itself, but there are a number of natural and cultural wonders to explore once you arrive, ranging from hiking Fu Shan and Tung O Ancient trail, to exploring Yeung Hau and Kwan Tai Temple. Find yourself a dog-friendly cafe, like NAK Kafe (pictured) for refreshments, before making your way back home. Check ferry schedule here

Got a question for us? Leave a comment below, or ask our members in our forum.

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