There are 41 official camp sites located in Hong Kong’s country parks (pitching a tent anywhere other than on an officially designated site is technically forbidden), and finding a “good” one is not an easy task. You don’t want one that’s too accessible or popular, because it’s likely to be crowded and littered with garbage. Picking a more remote site assures a more peaceful getaway, but access can be tricky with long hike-ins and lack of public transportation, and the location is probably not maintained. Luckily, there are a handful of camp sites that are right in between the two extremes. Bonus is access to good hiking trails and beautiful views.
One such site is the Wan Tsai (灣仔) peninsula located on the northern part of Sai Kung West Country Park. There are actually two camp sites here, the West Camp which is quite large, and the South Camp which is smaller and located near the shore. Access to the area is via ferry (on weekends only), or you can take a minibus from Sai Kung town to nearby Hoi Ha village and hike 45 minutes to the camp. Both sites offer easy access to flush toilets, showers, and tap water supply. There are also barbeque pits set up for public use, but you’ll need to bring your own food and charcoal as there are no supply stores around.
We opted for the hike-in option, since the trail is short and easy to navigate with heavy backpacks. From Hoi Ha village and along a marine park, the Tai Tan Country Trail leads to the peninsula and the two camp sites. We set up tent near the waters edge, close to a friendly and chatty semi-permanent resident there; otherwise the site was almost empty with maybe 6 or 7 other tents set up on the far side of the open field. Our neighbour Jacko did note that some weekends can get crazy busy here, so we got lucky!
The area has only one official hiking trail, the Wan Tsai Nature Trail which loops around the southern part of the peninsula, and a couple of small hills. Another unofficial (and much more interesting) trail leads to the northern tip of the landmass, with good views of Grass Island to the east (where we camped last time), and Hoi Ha bay to the west. At the end of the trail, there are some interesting natural rock formations on the shore, most notably the massive rectangular “coffin” boulder.
If you are looking for a campsite that’s readily accessible with good views and clean facilities, Wan Tsai is highly recommended. Sometimes you might get lucky with the (lack of) crowds, and hit the jackpot with good weather. Just like last weekend!