Lamma, like other islands of Hong Kong, doesn't allow cars. So the islanders have a biking culture that might be unique in Asia since probably few places in Asia restrict vehicles. You'll love it if you love biking for exercise and sightseeing and for mountain bike adventure.
The mountain bike trails have become internationally known and are considered for a possible site for future international competitions.
- Routes: The Family Walk + off into the northern/southern hills
- For: casual bikers, families, and mountain bikers
- Kinds of trail: mountain bike trails or easy paved pathway
- Attractions: biking fun on a pedestrian/bike-only island
- Dirt track length: 15 kilometers of prepared dirt bike track.
- Family Walk length: 18 kilometers (12 miles) in total.
- Features: The Family Walk is an easy pedestrian paved path; easy access from Lamma's two ferry piers; great views; well-known seafood restaurants.
Lamma Island is known in Hong Kong as a laid back haven for pedestrians and bikers, with scenery, beaches and food. But mountain bikers have been developing tracks on the hills in the north and at the center of the island. There are also big hills on the southern side of the island where a branch of the Family Walk paved pathway goes into. You can go off the pathway there too if you wish.
You can bike anywhere you want on the streets and on the roads, on the walking trails, and off trail in extensive dirt path networks in the south on Mt. Stenhouse and in the northern part of the island through jungle. So for biking or scenic touring, it is a great getaway location in easy reach of Central.
The Two Main Mountain Bike Routes
From the Lamma Island Yung Shue Wan Pier, follow the path into main street, take the first turn to the left, and after about ten meters at the fork in the road, go left. In Tai Peng Village, find Wong's food store and turn right towards the public toilets. Continue past the toilets until you come to a wide cable road. Turn left up the steep road, and climb to the top and descend 350 meters along the road until you come up to the first of two trail entrances.
This entrance is to the single track bike loop. This loop was prepared by mountain bikers. It winds through jungle and along grassy areas near the sea. You can look across the channel at Ap Lei Chau on Hong Kong Island. There is a small beach you could head to at Luk Chau Wan on the very north point of the island.
Mountain Biking Appeal: It is a 3.5 kilometer technically challenging single-track trail that overlooks the channel between Lamma and Hong Kong Island. It is said by mountain bikers that this and the Snake trail to the south are among the most difficult and best dirt bike tracks in Hong Kong. There are steep climbs, difficult descents (watch for tree limbs and vines), and difficult rocky places as the track winds in and out of jungle.
To go directly to this route from Yung Shue Wan pier, head to the giant windmill called Lamma Winds along the Family Walk. It is south of the pier. There is a steep road there branching from the Family Walk uphill. You'll probably have to walk your dirt bike up it. Find the path there on the little knoll above the windmill. It is easy to find.
This track too has been prepared by mountain bikers. It traverses knolls going north to south. You can also access this Snake Track directly form the Northern Loop along dirt tracks that extend along the coast.
Easy Scenic Riding Family Walk Route
Yung Shue Wan – Lamma Winds – Lo So Beach – Sok Kwu Wan
This route goes on the Family Walk and is suited for older riders, children, and families. It was built for pedestrian walkers and is popular as a walking path. It was designed for bikes as well, and there are no steps, but there are steep sections that require exertion to go over.
It is very popular on holidays with hundreds or thousands of Chinese crowding the route as an island excursion. It is popular for its great scenery and because it is easy for kids and older people to walk on the pavement. The seafood restaurants at both villages at either end is one of the attractions.
It starts on the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier in the northwestern part of the island. It goes 4 kilometers across the island to another ferry pier in Sok Kwu Wan Village on the southeast part of the island. Allow extra time for a stop at the beaches and to see the windmill.
Note on no biking signs: There are signs on the Family Walk that say no bikes on holidays and weekends. However, some people still ride their bikes on those days. But it might be a better idea not to especially considering the slow pedestrian crowds on the narrow path. During the weekdays, there are few pedestrians, and you might find the path to yourself.
Stage 1: Yung Shue Wan (榕樹灣) Pier to Lamma Winds
Once off the boat, ride down the pier and turn right. You'll pass a post office. Continue down the main street. You'll see high-priced fruit and drinks for sale, and a variety of restaurants and bars.
You'll see a cross street with a big sign on a wall of the building that says "Banyan." There is also a small sign pointing to Hung Shing Yeh Beach. Turn left and follow that winding path. Big smoke stacks will come into view.
When you reach a road with the Lamma Island Police Post and signs pointing up to Lamma Winds, you can make a detour and go up on the road. It is steep, and people will probably have to get off their bikes and walk up unless they have good gears. The reward of seeing the huge wind turbine and the scenery is worth it.
Stage 2: Lamma Winds to Sok Kwu Wan (索罟湾) Village
Go back down to the intersection of the Family Walk, and continue along the Family Walk for a few minutes to Hung Shing Yeh beach. You'll see restaurants fronting the beach. It is clean and the scenery is beautiful. The tall smokestacks add oddly to the charm. Though the beach isn't long, it is wide. There are lifeguards on duty, bathrooms, and showers. You might take a break and enjoy the sea.
The Family Path continues on the other side of the beach hugging the shore. It goes up and offers great views of the beach. From this point on, the seaside and empty beach views are truly good.
Then you'll come to another path with a sign to for Lo So Shing Beach. You can take a quick ride over to this beach, or continue down to Sok Kwu Wan. The beach is even more secluded and more beautiful. With its white sand, it is one of Hong Kong's best public beaches. It has showers and lifeguards. There are remains of kilns dating from the Tang Dynasty.
The downhill part is easy. Follow the path downhill along the shore. At the point where the Family Walk reaches Sok Kwu Wan's shoreline promenade, you'll see a temple ahead, and to your right behind it is a part of the Family Walk going up Mount Stenhouse.
You could continue into Sok Kwu Wan, ride through it past the restaurants to your right and the ferry pier to your left, and follow the Family Path along the coast to Tung O. Tung O is a big empty beach area with a few houses on the south coast of Lamma. The scenery is notable. Or you can end your trip at one of the Chinese seafood restaurants next to the pier. The last ferry to Central leaves at 10:40 pm.
Family Walk Optional Hill Riding Extension
Sok Kwu Wan – Mount Stenhouse – Tung O – Sok Kwu Wan
Another little used and much more difficult way to the southern coast leads over highlands called Mount Stenhouse. Don't take this route unless you are able to carry your bike some distance up and down steps. This is a circular segment of the Family Walk that starts at the Sok Kwu Wan Village temple mentioned above, goes to the coast, and goes back eastwards along the coast to Sok Kwu Wan.
The path up is rougher. It is a 353 meter hill. The rewards are great scenery and a serene environment for enjoyment on foot or on your bike. At the top, you'll come to an area where you can dirt bike on dirt paths on empty rocky red hillsides. Be careful, since the hills are not prepared for biking. There are great views on top, and if you are there alone, the place is extraordinary. Kind of serene. This part of Lamma is quite beautiful, and you won't feel like you're in Hong Kong probably.
You can walk your bike down stairs to a nice empty beach area and follow the Family Walk path eastwards (it doesn't go the other direction) along shore and past houses and a recent big development. This is a nice ride you can do all the way back to Sok Kwu Wan.
Getting to Lamma:
Central Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan (½ hour)
Take the ferry from Central Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan. Other ferries from Central Pier 4 go to Sok Kwu Wan. You can go to either pier, but by starting from Yung Shue Wan you can enjoy the steep ride up to the Lamma Winds windmill when you are fresh. The fast ferry goes to Yung Shue Wan in about 21 minutes.
Bike Rental and Seasonal Tips
Bike rental: A great thing about Hong Kong is that there are affordable, even inexpensive shops for tourists to rent a bike for a day around Hong Kong at popular biking places. Sha Tin is a popular biking area, and you can rent mountain bikes there starting about 250 HKD (32 USD) per day. Cheap regular bikes start at less, about 50 or 60 HKD.
There are also rental places in Mui Wo. If you want a good mountain bike, look for them in other places or rent your own. The bike shop at Yung Shue Wan might not have good mountain bikes.
Season: By far the best time to go for dry track is from November to March. Other months get very much rain. Hong Kong also gets very hot in the summer. Wet tracks might be dangerous.
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There are other fine mountain bike trails used by local bikers on Tai Mo Shan, around Pui O on Lantau, in Sai Kung Country Park and other places. There are also good road bike routes suited for older people, children and families. See below.