Long Ke Wan is one of my most frequented campsites due to its balance of remoteness and accessibility as well as the relatively kid friendly environment. It's a great place to spend a day or two building up camp and enjoying the beach side atmosphere. The reason its received an average rating is due to the fact that it can get VERY busy on nice weekends with boats and beach goers showing up in droves, a ferrel cow and dog issue and its slowly worsening trash problem. If you pick a weekday in the winter you'll love the peace and quiet and cool temperature, perfect for sitting by the fire and cozying up in the sleeping bag at night.
The campground is relatively easy to get to by taking a taxi to the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir. From there its a short 1.3km hike over a small mountain to the main campsite. The hike down (and back up again when you leave) is pretty steep but paved with a formal path and doable for pretty much anyone in reasonable shape including small children if you pace yourself. Once you're there you can spend your time on the beach or take some day hikes along the many trails in the area, but make sure to bring in all your supplies as there are no amenities or potable water sources at the site.
It's important to note that there is a drug rehabilitation center located at the rear of the beach, but it is set far enough back that it is not noticeable once you set up at camp, and from all my experience there it is a completely safe environment.
Another point to consider, many people choose to set up camp on the beach, though this is not technically permitted. However, if the campsite is full and/or if you are respectful with your trash and physical footprint I imagine there wouldn't be a major issue. But its IMPORTANT TO NOTE that there are a number of water sheds that cut through the beach at various sections during heavy rains due to Long Ke Wan's box canyon location. This means that if you set up in the wrong spot you could find your tent getting washed down to the water in pretty short order which is not only inconvenient but potentially quite dangerous. If your not sure then stick to the main camp area, safety first.
Final point worth note, recent typhoons (as of September 2017) have caused major damage to the formal campground and have completely transformed the beach itself, uprooting trees, covering old freshwater sand basins and carving out new watershed streams. It also washed up quite a bit of trash on the beach but thankfully Long Ke Wan is a regularly maintained site and a major clean up looks to be underway. I will update this site once things are back to normal but until then expect some issues with the basic amenities like toilets, tables and trash cans (see 'The Bad' photos below for details). The score of 3 out of 5 was NOT impacted by storm damage and related issues as I expect a clean up to resolve the damage in the next few months.
What I liked:
- The Beach: Despite a slightly worsening trash problem Long Ke Wan beach is generally pretty clean with fine sand and clear clean water. The space is open and flat allowing you to let kids run around free while you settle in at camp, and there are a number of great spots to check tide pools at low tide.
- Bushcraft Ready: There are a number of fallen trees and lots dried brush to use in small campfires or to carve up while sitting around the camp.
- The Weather: Especially in the cooler months Long Ke Wan has fun weather ranging from calm to blustery and always keeping things interesting.
What I didn't:
- Ferrel Animals: Long Ke Wan is anther spot plagued by cows and dogs. During the day the cows will walk through the camps and leave cow pies on the paths and beach. The area is large enough so that the impact doesn't feel as bad as some of the smaller sites but its noticeable and impacts the environment. There are also small packs of dogs that travel around the camps at night looking for food. They are pretty big dogs and though I haven't had any real problems with them they do make me feel a bit uneasy around the kids.
- People Impact: When the weather is nice expect Long Ke Wan to be very busy with both day visitors and campers, especially on weekends and holidays. This obviously has an impact on the environment and unfortunately the trash situation.
- Pick Off Days and Seasons: If you want a nice overall camping experience go to Long Ke Wan on off days during the cooler months. A nice campfire by the beach on a cool moonlit evening at Long Ke Wan is not to be missed.
- Bring Your Supplies: There are no amenities or portable water sources at Long Ke Wan so you need to bring all your supplies with you.
- Consider Different Access Methods: Long Ke Wan presents an exciting opportunity to take a boat straight onto the beach. If you want to bring a lot of people and or supplies consider researching boat options from San Kung.
PHOTOS & VIDEO
CAMPSITE VIDEO TOUR
THE GOOD - In Photos
Long Ke Wan is a great option for a beach camp offering nice views, plenty of firewood and big open areas for kids to play, not to mention very clear and clean water for swimming.
THE BAD - In Photos
Recent storm damage has had a big impact on Long Ke Wan but I expect the clean up will be relatively efficient so take any criticisms on this page associated with that problem as subject to change in the near future. With that said, trash is becoming a bigger problem at Long Ke Wan and there are issues with ferrel animals as well as some unsightly areas around the portable toilets as well. These things definitely detract from the site and if it were slightly more remote and less trafficked it could easily garner a 4 out of 5 or better.
Long Ke Wan is a great option for casual beach campers with kids or the more bushcraft oriented outdoors folks who don't mind setting up shop down beach. The big open spaces make it easy to keep an eye on kids while relaxing at camp and there is plenty to do over a couple of days if you want a longer stay and enjoy swimming and hiking. Because of the number of downed trees its also a nice place to practice some bushcraft skills and again the big open spaces make it possible to find some slightly more secluded spots as long as you're not there on a weekend day with really nice weather. The ferrel animal problem is a bit of an issue however and you will invariably be visited by cows and or dogs at some point during your stay. This combined with some of the trash maintenance issues make the campground and surrounding areas less desirable for those looking for pristine environments. With that said, access to the site is a great balanced hike that takes you from a reservoir over a small mountain in to Long Ke Wan. Its a pretty easy hike down and a little tougher coming back up, but the perfect amount of work to make you feel like you earned your trip without being too much for little kids or parents with heavy packs.
Once your at the site if you plan to stay at the main campground try to get one of the sites off to the far right along side the edge of the tree grove. Your less likely to have other campers on either side of you and you'll still get the beach views. Many people also choose to camp on the beach with the most secluded spots all the way down the end (West/North West of the official campground). This is not officially sanctioned as far as I understand but I assume if you clean up your trash and don't leave a foot print of your stay you won't have many troubles. With that said, I have found that many people are leaving behind disposable BBQ trash like wire grills and food skewers as well as plastic and paper trash. They tend to leave them on top of burnt out fire pits which can be a big hazard. Anyone reading this review should note a few safety points as a result of this new and unwelcome development at Long Ke Wan:
- Sand Fires - Many inexperienced campers don't realize that fires made in sand pits can preserve hot coals for extremely long periods of time if not managed properly. In order to ensure you don't burn your feet by accident I recommend wearing minimal foot protection if you plan to walk on the upper portions of the beach and only let your kids dig and build sand castles closer to the water. If you are guilty of making beach fires and unaware of the damage you may have done, for future reference always try to lay flat stones at the bottom of a beach sand fire pit, then when you leave dump a large volume of water on the area until steam stops rising and the sand stops bubbling. Just be sure to stand back when you do as steam will initially shoot up and possibly bring some hot debris with it.
- Metal and Plastic - Metal and plastic disposable BBQ items are a hazard to animals and people. it is very easy for a child to step on a used metal skewer and seriously injure themselves so please gather all your trash and dispose of it in the numerous trash recipticals provided at Long Kong Wan Camp ground. For visitors, again, be sure to wear foot protection when walking the upper portions of the beach and don't let your kids play there.
- Cleanup - Everyone can help keep these spots clean by brining trash bags with you and picking up trash left behind by others. Also don't be shy about politely chastising people you notice contributing to the littering as long as it doesn't seem like there might be a violent confrontation. It would be great if Hong Kong had park wardens to issue big fines to litter bugs but until then the more contentious campers will have to pick up the slack.
In terms of general environment, as a beach Long Ke can get some pretty strong winds so be sure to steak out your tents fully before settling in for the night even if things are calm before bed. In the summer it is pretty hot even with a breeze and the sand will stick to you and everything else so keep that in mind when choosing your season. There are also plenty of mosquitos despite the seaside location so be sure to bring the bug spray and don't hesitate to have a small smoky fire at sun down. Both the heat and bug situation are massively improved in the winter time which is my recommend season for all Hong Kong camping including Long Ke Wan.
There are portable toilets which are not very nice to have to use but they are conveniently accessed from the main campground for emergencies. There are also plenty of trashcans in the main campground to help you keep things clean, as well as the standard BBQ pits and stone seating, though all of these have sustained serious damage in the recent storms so be prepared if you plan to go in the short term.
Overall despite some of its draw backs Long Ke Wan one of the best spots to go with families and can be a relaxing spot for solo trips as well if you pick your season properly.
Long Ke Wan is a great spot for families or solo campers depending on how your choose to set up. As with most locations in Hong Kong the cooler seasons are the better bet and make sure to bring the bug spray as always. Even at an average rating of 3 I'd recommend giving this one a try if your into beach camping or just looking for a mini family adventure with the kids.
OK FOR SMALL CHILDREN: Long Ke Wan is accessed by a reasonable hike starting at the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir. The hike down to the beach (and back up when you leave) is steep but short so make sure to take your time if you have little ones with you. You also need to bring in all your supplies especially water, so keep that in mind as it relates to the steep section of the hike. I've done this camp with 3 and 4 year olds multiple times and have never had any issues and can confidently recommend it as long as you prepare well and are in reasonably good shape.
- Number of Tent Sites: 6 officially though you will see people setting up tents on the beach as well
- Site Facilities: BBQ Pits, stone benches, flat tent sites, trash bins
- Campground Facilities: Two toilets
- Fire: There is deadfall and dry scrub to be used in small fires
- Beach: Despite minor trash problems this is one of the nicer beaches in Hong Kong
- Fresh Water: No potable water, any water you may find has potential to be backwashed with sea water and or polluted by cows
- Nearby Resources: N/A - You must hike out and take taxis or long walks to any resources, bring all supplies with you
Its a short hike in and out of Long Ke Wan but it has some meaningful inclines and declines so if you plan on brining a heavier pack make sure you're up for it physically. Start with my STANDARD SOLO CAMPER GEAR LIST adding on only what you think you can carry for up and down hike bearing in mind you'll need to bring all your water and food with you.
Because its a beach and you'll want to enjoy yourself in addition to the STANDARD SOLO CAMPER GEAR LIST you may want to consider:
- Extra food and water given the lack of immediately available resources
- A soft sided cooler for cold drinks given the relatively warm environment in the hotter months
- Camping chairs
- Sand toys and swim wear for the kids
The steep sections of the hike are a bit of work but I have done this hike with a 70lb pack on several different occasions with a 4 year old in tow. I have no major injuries and am in reasonably good shape so be sure to consider your own situation before deciding on your supplies.
NOTE ON TENTS: Hong Kong is tropical which means there are lots of creepy crawlies at night and a constant possibility of heavy down pour which is why I recommend the full tent with rain fly and inner mesh. You can get away with a tarp alone but spray for mozzys before bed and don't be surprised to wake up several times a night to brush off bugs, mice and or rats even in the winter months (hammocks might be a little better but not fool proof for bugs or some snakes if not fully enclosed). Last point, Hong Kong is also home to many species of venomous insects and snakes and though I think it would be a very unlucky scenario were you to encounter one in your sleep, a fully enclosed tent removes the risk almost entirely if you keep entrances zipped. Again, I highly recommend a fully enclosed tent regardless of your level of experience outdoors.
Long Ke Wan is most easily accessed by driving to the main gate at Peak Tam Chung and parking in the free parking lot. Alternatively you can taxi or Uber to the same spot. If you are in a green taxi already you can keep driving right to the East Dam where the trail to Long Ke Wan starts, other wise get a green taxi at the taxi stand and do the same. There are other options for public transportation by taking MTR and buses. Specifically, assuming you can get to Sai Kung Town:
- Take bus 94 from Sai Kung Bus Terminal or Minibus 7 from Hoi Ha in Sai Kung Town and get off at Pak Tam Chung.
- From Pak Tam Chung take a green taxi to the East Dam, or walk 11km on Sai Kung Man Yee Road straight to the start of the trail.
- You can also take Sheung Yiu Country Trail from Pak Tam Chung which meets up with Sai Kung Man Eye Road near the west dam taking you right to the East Dam and the trail start.
- Once you reach the start of the trail to Long Ke Wan its about a 1km hike down to the campsite.
- See the map at the top of this page for details.