Summary: Tsin Yue Wan is an interesting campground situated in a reasonably difficult to reach location. Its seclusion and extreme exposure to the elements are both part of its charm and downfall, though in general this could be considered a compelling location for the more hardcore camper looking for a challenge. There is no short road to the site with a walk of either 6.5km from Tai O or an 8km walk from Shek Pik bus stop, both of which require moderate stretches of off road paths and inclines/declines. On hot days the hike in is a bit rough and you need to prioritize water above all else and will be better off with a tarp for sunshade at the site. On cold/windy days you'll need to be prepared for a site with no natural shelter and would be better off avoiding this location in very strong winds. There are officially 8 tent sites which aligns with my observations, 4 of which are located at the top of the hill looking out over the ocean with the remaining 4 set down trail a bit though still all highly exposed. There is no potable water source nearby that I found though the official government site indicates seasonal stream supply, possibly in reference to some streams further down the trail towards Tai O. One dry pit toilet can be found on site though it is close das of October 1 , 2017 due to apparent damage from typhoons earlier in September 2017.
With overgrown fire pits and no natural shade or cover this is a more hardcore site for real enthusiasts. There is dead wood for small fires and some bush crafting to be found in some of the tree groves, though you need to be very cautious with open flame given the dry hillside environment. Worth a look for the more adventurous, but certainly not a family affair.
What I liked:
- Campsite Environment: With an overgrown entrance to the site and an arid slightly overgrown campground environment with big views of mountain and ocean, Tsin Yue Wan has a certain charm to it that equals more than the sum of its parts.
- Seclusion: Because it is relatively difficult to reach this site is traveled less frequently and provides a secluded environment for the adventurous camper looking to relax and recharge.
- Fire Making: Enough deadfall to make small evening fires.
What I didn't:
- The Hike: Getting to Tsin Yue Wan is a mixed bag hike which includes some beautiful stretches combined with several beach hugging sections covered in trash and plagued by stray dogs. Walking in from either Shek Pik or Tai O will produce the same results here, and though its not a show stopper you will get pretty bummed out by the trash during your approach.
- Get the Weather Right: Due to the longer hike and completely exposed environment you are better off picking calm cool winter days to make your camp at Tsin Yue Wan.
- Prioritize Water: The government website says there are seasonal streams but I didn't find any on site, and given the exposed environment I highly recommend prioritizing water and shelter above all else when hiking to Tsin Yue Wan.
- Hike in from Shek Pik: The hike from Tai O is shorter but the walk in from Shek Pik bus stop is a more pleasant journey with more picturesque trails. Watch out for packs of stray dogs as you pass through Fan Lau village (I had an 'almost' violent encounter there) and be sure to stop at some of the mountain streams to cool off its a hot day.
THE GOOD - In Photos
Tsin Yue Wan has a desolate charm similar on a lesser scale to Sunset Peak. The site appears to receive sparse maintenance as indicated by the overgrown fire pits and tent spaces, but this only adds to the feeling of the remote location and big views. Beautiful scenery runs 360 at Tsin Yue Wan and you can't really pick a bad site.
THE BAD - In Photos
Tsin Yue Wan's exposed environment is a positive in the right weather conditions but it is a pretty big negative in high winds or extreme heat. That combined with recent storm damage and a lack of dependable water sources make this a challenging camp and certainly not a family friendly spot.
Tsin Yue Wan is a barren hill top campsite located between 6 and 8km from the nearest starting point. There is little in the way or resources and no nearby amenities but the site is charming due to its big views and desolate feel. The most appealing approach is the 8km hike in from Shek Pik bus stop though you can also reach it from Tai O via a slightly shorter 6.5km hike. Regardless of your starting point you'll want to bring sufficient water and shelter due to the fully exposed location. Especially for sunny days you should consider brining a tarp for shade, and regardless of weather reports you should be prepared to stake out your tents due to unpredictable winds. Once at the site you'll have your pick of one of 4 lower slightly set back sites or 4 sites positioned right at the top of the hill overlooking the ocean. All are good options with slightly more dramatic feels to the upper sites and slightly more protected spaces in the lower sites You'll find over grown BBQ pits at each site so be careful about starting small brush fires if you plan to cookout. There is also very little in the way of seating so if you can manage the weight on the long hike it might be worth it to bring in a light weight camping chair.
The grounds are arranged in a paired site layout meaning there are four sections with two sites right next to each other in each section. Outside of some large trekking groups coming through to spend the night I'd say this layout won't present much of a problem for overcrowding given the sites remote location but its worth keeping in mind. With respect to the sites themselves, they are all relatively flat though some of the lower sites are a bit bumpy with overgrown weed patches. Each has clothes lines and fire pits and none provide any form of shade or meaningful wind protection.
There is one dry toilet pit but it is closed due to storm damage as of October 1, 2017, updates to follow if a receive information that it is reopened. There are also small groves of trees but thick with undergrowth as to prevent using them for shade.
Tsin Yue Wan's remote location and lack of amenities make this a nice challenge for hardcore campers, but pretty much rules out casual hikers or families with small kids.
If you're up for a bit of a challenge and enjoy big views then Tsin Yue Wan maybe worth a try if you haven't already tried Sunset Peak, or if you want to get really far out of the way by Hong Kong standards. You'll need to bring in all your supplies and due to its highly exposed location its important to pick a day with mild wind and ideally lower temperatures to reduce risks of exposure. Also good to bring a friend given the remote location, though experienced solo campers can make due with proper preparations.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SMALL CHILDREN: The hike out is quite long and the environment is not good for small children. Leave this one to experienced campers and check out other reviews for better family options.
- Number of Tent Sites: 8
- Site Facilities: BBQ Pits/Fire Pits, Trash Bins, Cloths Drying Lines
- Campground Facilities: Portable Toilets
- Fire: Deadfall to use for small camp fires in cooler months
- Beach: N/A
- Fresh Water: None found on my visit though the government site says there is a seasonal stream
- Nearby Resources: N/A the closest town is Tai O which is a 6.5km hike to the north
Tsin Yue Wan is an exposed hilltop campground with big views and a long challenging approach. There are no significant resources nearby and all water and food items will need to be carried in. With that in mind please first review my STANDARD SOLO CAMPER GEAR LIST for what I believe are the "must have's" for any camping excursion, followed by the specific additional items and considerations for Tsin Yue Wan.
The only item in addition to water and food I would recommend is a very light camping chair if you can manage the weight as there is no meaningful seating at the site.
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.
The best way to get to Tsin Yue Wan is by taking the Mui Wo Ferry and taking a bus or taxi to the trail head at Tai O on the western side of Lantau. You can also get there from Tung Chung by having a taxi drop you at the trail head, or by taking a bus. To make things more simple, lets assume a bus ride from Tung Chung or heading in from Mui Wo:
- From Tung Chung, leave the MTR station and find the Taxi stand outside the main exit.
- Directly across the main road (Tat Tung Rd) from the taxi stand is a series of bus stops outside Fu Tung Shopping Centre, find the line for bus 11 to Tai O and board when it arrives. You can pay cash but best to get an Octopus Card before you leave the MTR station.
- From Mui Wo get off the ferry and either grab a Taxi and ask them to take you to Tai O bus terminal or take bus 1 to Tai O.
- Once you arrive at Tai O make sure to stay on the bus or taxi until it reaches the bus terminal (don't get off by the Fire Station training ground). From the terminal walk east (back the way you came) on Tai O Rd and take your first right. Stay on this road bearing right until you see signs for Lantau Trail section 6. If you just stay to the right the whole way you'll end up on a seaside trail (Lantau Trail section 6) that will take you all the way to Tsin Yue Wan through small valleys and seaside trails.
- You can leave this way as well or walk out to Shek Pik which is about 8km. Entering from Shek Pik works as well, just take the same bus and get off at Shek Pik bus stop just over the reservoir and pick up Lantau Trail section 8 from Wang Pui Rd and follow it all the way to Tsin Yue Wan.