With an effortless and laid-back charm that encourages tourists to visit and locals to stay, Lamma Island is well-known as a place for the free-spirited. The two main hubs of the island are Sok Kwu Wan and Yung Shue Wan, and the former boasts a waterfront with numerous outdoor seafood restaurants while the latter features indie boutiques, specialty stores and casual eateries. Neither over-commercialized nor pretentious, Lamma Island combines both rustic charisma and multicultural influence to deliver a captivating but humble spirit. If you're planning to hop on a ferry to pay this unique island a visit, here are our recommendations for the best things to do, eat and see while you’re there.
By Mabel Lui
Best things to do and eat in Lamma island
The caves in Sok Kwu Wan have a spooky backstory. The historic Kamikaze Caves were dug out by the Japanese military during World War II to conceal speedboats that could be used for suicide missions against the Allies’ warships. Thankfully, the explosive boats were never used. Dive into Hong Kong’s wartime history with a visit to these caves, found 10-15 minutes from the start of the Lamma Island Family Walk (Sok Kwu Wan side).
Arguably the most famous seafood restaurant in Sok Kwu Wan, Rainbow was first established on Lamma Island over 30 years ago. Because of its sheer size, the seaside eatery can cater to families and large groups with ease. The menu features endless seafood dishes – lobster, scallops, prawns, squid, you name it – as well as curated seafood sets. If you buy a meal, you can even get a free ferry ride to Central, Tsim Sha Tsui or Aberdeen on one of the Rainbow boats.
Venture off Yung Shue Wan’s Main Street to find this unassuming cha chaan teng, which serves up local favourites like satay beef instant noodles, Hong Kong-style French toast and breakfast macaroni with shredded ham. An enthusiastic waitress and a bilingual menu makes this little air-conditioned joint the perfect resting spot from Hong Kong’s unforgiving sun. Their club sandwich is simple but scrumptious, while their red bean ice is the ultimate summer drink to help you cool off.
Home to a range of endlessly fun knick-knacks and paraphernalia, Lamma Corner is the place to go if you’re looking for a unique gift or souvenir to take home. Everything in this corner has cultural significance or an intriguing story, like upcycled Hong Kong Flour Mills tote bags, old stamps (circa 1972), soy candles in porcelain Chinese teacups and even a Vitasoy lemon tea coin pouch.
It’s time to face the music: in the digital age, vinyl records are a bit of a dying breed. Thankfully, stores like Lamma Vinyl are keeping the beat alive for analog lovers, and the massive array of vinyl records and cassette tapes in this store are sure to bring you down memory lane. Gems like the original movie soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever and The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl can be found here, but if you want to go even more old-school, vinyl records of classical music including Beethoven, Bach and Vivaldi are also displayed in abundance.
If you thought self-service stores were a thing of the future, think again. The second you walk into Mush, you’ll immediately notice the lack of a storekeeper. The straightforward layout here makes the process of window shopping and buying merchandise simple and clear. Instead of a salesperson, Mush relies on bright red walls, a neon store sign and tongue-in-cheek prints to pique your interest – the caps, tees and hoodies all pay homage to the island where Mush calls home, sporting logos like ‘Lamma Brand’ or ‘Lamma Cult’.
Easily recognisable by his long beard, Nick the Bookman has become something of a Lamma Island cult figure. Along with his apprentice Tim, Nick has found a home for his outdoor bookstore just off the Main Street where he sits three days a week with a lopsided but endearing display shelf of secondhand books. When he’s not selling, Nick moonlights as a local mover and occasional DJ. If you’re lucky enough to catch him, stop by and chat – both he and Tim are friendly as can be.
The cat’s out of the bag! Visitors come far and wide to this unassuming shop for its range of cat-themed merchandise. From cat chopstick holders to cat ice cube trays, Something About Cats has anything and everything for fans of furry felines. Looking for décor? There are paintings, clocks and sculptures, as well as an array of mugs, t-shirts and cards that make for paw-sitively amazing gifts.