Lamma Island without Llamas
Lamma Island (南丫島) is located on the southwest of Hong Kong Island. Both the English and Mandarin name of this island have interesting origins. The name “Lamma” was actually a mistake by a Scottish geographer reading a map marked in Portuguese stating the place as “Lama” (mud in Portuguese), and he thought it was the name of the island. Ever since the island had been called “Lama”. Nevertheless, again Lama was wrote incorrectly to become “Lamma” we know today. Although I find the name Lamma quite cute and is close to llama that some part of me hope there are llamas on that island, unfortunately it is a no. As for the Mandarin name, people just simply called the island 丫 due to the shape of the island. Therefore, it is also called Y island as well in English by some.
There are two ports that can take people to Lamma Island, one is on the north side, Yung Shue Wan (榕樹灣), and the other is on the south, Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣). This time, I traveled from the Yung Shue Wan port on the north. Once I got off the boat, I immediately saw a very beautiful library, North Lamma Public Library (南丫島北段公共圖書館及南丫島歷史文物室)(photo 2) with an old poem on it talking about the benefit of reading. Moreover, I went on the election day, so there are many election posters (photo 3 right) from candidates all over the place lolll. I also saw locals lining up for voting. I consider myself very lucky to have a chance to witness it within such a short period of stay in Hong Kong. Yung Shue Wan is a more popular area compared with Sok Kwu Wan, as many tourist attractions are near the place. The port has many foreign restaurants around it probably because Lamma Island is one of foreigners’ most beloved residences in Hong Kong. Even though ferries are the main transportation to get to the island, the island itself is quite small and is a good place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Nevertheless, to purchase local seafood or go to seafood restaurants, Sok Kua Wan is the right port to go.
When I was looking up information about visiting Lamma Island, Hung Shing Yeh Beach (洪聖爺灣泳灘) struck me as a must visit. Though the beach doesn’t look as fancy as that in Long Ke Wan (浪茄灣), it is my favorite beach in Hong Kong to swim in the sea. The reason is that there isn’t a big crowd of people and the seawater is so clear and clean, maybe because I went on the election day that people are busy voting instead of travelling. On my way to this beach, I passed by two popular destinations. First is the Lamma Wind (南丫風采發電站), which is the wind farm operating since 2006. The wind turbines look very modernized and professional. According to online paper, this wind farm provided 1/3 of the electricity consumption in 2017, quite an impressive figure. It was a tiny hike to go up to Lamma Wind from Yung Shue Wan, and below is the picture of the view on the way.
The second popular stop is a Douhua shop that everyone posts in their blogs called Tofu Garden (Ah Por Tofu Fa) (建興亞婆豆腐花). What I especially like about this shop is that the Douhua (a tender tofu dessert) tasted very smooth and that it was made by a very old lady who has been selling Douhua for a long period of time. However, I have also read that it depends on the time you go, sometimes it is not the old lady making it, as she is quite old and will need some break. For foreigners visiting Hong Kong, I would definitely recommend them to try local dessert such as Douhua as part of the cultural experience. After having a bowl of Douhua, my friend and I headed toward Hung Shing Yeh Beach (洪聖爺灣泳灘). I really enjoyed my time at on this beach. I swam and sun bathed there for some hours. This beach is also a great location to enjoy sunset but we saw our sunset before boarding the ferry from another port.
After visiting the wind power station and the beach, we walked to Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣) port to board the ferry. The view along the way was quite magnificent as well. We got to see the iconic Lamma Power Station (南丫發電廠) from afar, especially its three chimneys which some people also refer to as “the three incenses”. Additionally, we also saw Hong Kong Island and Lamma Power Station Beach (大灣肚沙灘), another nice beach for sunset.
After sharing two great beaches to watch sunset, I am now finally writing about the location where I saw sunset for my visit. It was at Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣) port. This sunset was just so amazing that marked a great end to the trip. This time I didn’t go to a seafood restaurant, although I am surrounded by them, due to lack of time for boarding the ferry. However, the nice sunset compensated everything in the end. Still, I would say Lamma Island is worth a visit even without llamas!