After experiencing the sights and sounds of local village life at Tap Mun, it was time to explore some of the uninhabited parts of Grass Island (塔門), and get on with the real reason for the trip: camping! And as with many things, Hong Kong has its own version of this popular outdoor activity.
Locals like to call it wild camping although there’s hardly anything wild about it. There is no backcountry in Hong Kong- you’re never more than an hour’s walk from civilization. Wild camping is in contrast to holiday camping which is more family-oriented and usually includes fixed accommodations and sports activities at a farm or similar facility.
Parts of Grass Island consist of relatively flat grass patches that are ideal for pitching a tent. Due to the lack of tree shelter, you are a bit exposed to the elements but it’s not a big problem. There are no officially designated campsite areas, so it’s a free-for-all… Find a location you like and stake your territory! Just watch out for the ‘presents’ left by the feral cattle that freely roam the island.
I was lucky to find a spot near the cliff edge for an unobstructed view of the ocean and shoreline. As you can tell from the pictures, weekends are very busy on the island. If you’re hoping for some privacy and quiet nature time, temper your expectations – there’s a bit of a party atmosphere here. The only thing missing are proper campfires, which are banned due to brush fire risk.
The best time is early morning at sunrise, when the camp is quiet and most people are still asleep. There’s nothing quite like watching the sun come up over the horizon, and waves crashing below. Brew a steaming mug of camp coffee and enjoy the tranquility.