We first took a trip to Cheung Sha beach in South Lantau a few months ago, in the blistering and often unbearable heat that is Hong Kong in August. We had an amazing day and absolutely loved it – but it was too hot. I remember the trip home feeling like it took many hours, when in truth it must have taken under one.
Yesterday was a gorgeous October day, not a cloud in the sky and a lovely breeze to offset the 29 degree temperature. We wanted to spend the full day together as a family before I jet off for a couple of weeks (it’s a nice feeling actually, to be the one jetting off for a change!) and decided to head back to South Lantau for a beach day.
This is one of my favourite spots in Hong Kong. I could live here, and would if we weren’t planning to make a small sea change when we eventually return home. You travel just a little to the north west of the city and feel like you have escaped to Thailand for a beach holiday. There are little restaurants on the beach which all serve fabulous food and will bring you coffees and beers to your beach towels. There is a big, wide beach for kids to play on and lots of tree coverage means you can really stay all day, unlike the beach in Australia where I can usually only last a couple of hours at best.
To get there, you need to do one of two things – take a ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, or take a train to Tung Chung. From either of those locations you take a bus to Cheung Sha. We’ve taken the ferry there both times which is a lovely 25 minute journey and much nicer I find than rabbiting down into the MTR – we have taken the train home once though and it is of course (being Hong Kong) very easy. Anyway, from Mui Wo you need to take the Number 1 bus to Tai O and alight at Chueng Sha, where there will generally be a mass exodus of white people with beach balls and flip flops. Yesterday we missed the bus and managed to get a taxi, which is apparently near impossible in South Lantau.
When we arrived we found a perfect spot next to a little children’s play area and underneath some big shady trees, and J being J he decided to hire a giant inflatable lobster to muck around with the kids. We spent the first few hours swimming and splashing around, and Heike and I took a walk to the other end of the beach to collect shells (it is an excellent beach for shell collecting!). Once we’d worked up an appetite, which frankly didn’t take long, we decided to eat at Lantana which was basically the closest restaurant to our towels. Last time we ate at the new fancy looking place near the car park (sorry, forgot name) which was lovely and they even let us lay on their sun beds before and after lunch. We would also like to try the Thai restaurant which comes highly recommended – but back to Lantana.
Lantana is an Italian restaurant with a very simple menu, mostly pizza and pasta with a few sides and salads to choose from. We ordered the bolognese for the kids to share with a side of garlic bread, the puttanesca to share and a Greek salad. J then decided he couldn’t live without the mussels and decided to order those too (I don’t eat them). We also got three juices, a beer and two coffees, and the bill came to $720HK which I thought was pretty reasonable. The quality of the food was amazing! The pasta was al dente, the salad ingredients were fresh (not to mention they used about half a block of feta!) and apparently the mussels were delicious. I would highly recommend Lantana.
After lunch J took Walter for a long walk to get him to sleep while Heike and I had a long swim. It’s always so nice to spend one on one time with her, I realise how little we get to do it and how easy she is to talk to. When Walter went to sleep J and I took turns having naps of our own while Heike played with other children on the beach. It was so relaxing and just what we all needed.
Getting home was less fun, due to the taxi/bus situation I mentioned earlier. We headed to the bus stop only to find a huge queue and full buses driving right by. Every time a taxi came there would be a mad dash to see who could hail it, which I thought was really unfair – whoever was at the front of the line should have been first to get a cab. As I always do in these situations I started to get on my moral high horse and began throwing death stares, eye rolls and moans at those who were trying to beat the line. When we were finally at the front of the line, a taxi came past and a sixty year old, single man literally darted in front of me, jumped in the taxi and slammed the door. I was furious of course and screamed DICKHEAD as loud as I could (which is loud, trust me), much to the delight of the various parents with children around me I’m sure. BUT as karma/luck would have it the car behind the taxi stopped and offered us a lift!
Turns out he was an Aussie himself and described the taxi stealer as a p!@#k which made me laugh very loudly. How nice to meet a friendly Aussie just when you need one! He had his little boy in the front seat, and they were actually on the way to pick up his mates for his birthday party! He was having a sports party and was very excited and gorgeous, if a little grumpy that his Dad was picking up strangers instead of his friends on his birthday – we actually passed his friends (one of them named “Safe”, which I am mentally adding to the list of very “Hong Kong” names) and his Dad rolled down the window and shouted that he “just had to drop some people off” and would be back. Such a funny experience and so worth the wait!
We got dropped at Mui Wo where we made the ferry by three minutes *fate* and I had to sing The Wiggles the entire journey back or Walter would inexplicably burst into tears. When we got off at Central and entered the taxi line there, we found ourselves standing behind…the taxi stealing man!!! Which I loved of course, giving him a really big smile every time he glanced in my direction. Oh life, you are a funny old thing!
What a day, what a weekend. But for now it’s bye HK, Hello AUS! I’m so excited I have butterflies.