5km to the river, moderate
Get wet and wild by spending an afternoon in the clean freshwater river pools of Sai Kung. Located just beyond the beachside village of Sai Wan, the pools can be found by heading up Sheung Luk stream, which is peppered with small basins and cold, clean waterfalls.
It’s an easy one-hour hike in with decent views overlooking the High Island Reservoir as the trail wraps through the East Country Park. Descend into Sai Wan, where there are a few restaurants serving up the usual beachside instant noodles and other dishes. Continue North over the small beachhead and across the next beach; at the Northwest corner of the beach, follow the river instead of crossing the bridge over the mouth of Sheung Luk stream and trudge through the thick forest trail along the river.
Heading up the river beyond the three small pools, you’ll soon arrive at a deep (very deep) river pool. You’ll know you’re there when the North (opposite) side of the river rises to a sheer cliff about eight metres high plunging into the pool. Hop in and reward yourself with a swim in the fresh waters and bask in the fact you won’t have sea salt and motorboat oil to wash off.
For those looking for a thrill, cliff jump or rock climb on the northern rock face. Otherwise, take in a lazy day and picnic amid one of Hong Kong’s great escapes.
To get home, retrace your steps back out and try your luck finding a taxi along Sai Kung Sai Wan Road. Or, cross the bridge at the mouth to Sheung Luk stream and follow the MacLehose trail to Tai Long Wan. From here, hoof it out to the bus stop at Pak Tam Au. If the waves are low at Tai Long Wan, book a speedboat (call 9800 3601) back to Sai Kung Village.
Getting there: Grab a taxi from Sai Kung village to the trailhead on Sai Kung Sai Wan Road just ten-15 minutes beyond Lady MacLehose Holiday Village. A pavillion marks the start of the trail, follow the paved path with the sign marking Sai Wan Village. Andrew James
View Sheung Luk Stream in a larger map