Boat tour to the Ninepin Islands
This tour is suitable for children of age 8 and up.
The Ninepin Islands is a group of rocky outcrops at the edge of the South China Sea. Battered by
relentless waves and winds, wonderful landforms have formed. It is also the place where the hexagonal
rock columns are at their largest, with diameters of over two meters.
Due to their exposure to the ocean, only for three months of the year during the height of summer
the seas are quiet enough to provide for a safe landing here, making this a highly seasonal destination.
Besides sight-seeing from the boat, we will land on both North and South Ninepin for exploration.
Arriving at North Ninepin, a makeshift pier provides relative easy access. Concrete steps lead to a small
lighthouse, a small trail branches off, follow this to get a good look of the odd Cannon Rock (a piece of
rock column that fell flat) and the smooth rock face of the Moon Cliff.
Landing at South Ninepin is even more interesting. Lack of a pier means a rock is used instead. Some
simple cement steps help getting on and off the boat. This island has a larger area to explore, the obvious
first target is the wide open Tiger Mouth Cave, a sea arch. Above this arch is a tiny Tin Hau temple,
frequented by local fishermen praying for a safe journey.
A bit further away, and in the opposite direction, is the Rock Chamber, a large horizontal gap between
two rocks. Well above the waterline, it is obvious this chamber is at times battered by ocean waves.
After visiting the Ninepin Islands we head over to the Ung Kong Group for sight-seeing. The main sights
here are the sea arches of Bluff Island and Basalt Island, and the shoreline of Wang Chau with it's many
sea caves, a narrow sea arch and well exposed hexagonal columns. Also part of the program is a visit to the
sea arch of Jin Island - this one is wide enough for small vessels to pass through, but only if the sea is
quiet can this be done safely.
This tour takes about 4 hours, and includes at least an hour on shore of North and South Ninepin.
Note that the trails here are rough and unmaintained, so wear proper footwear. Bring enough water and maybe
a snack for on the way, there is nothing available along the route.
Start/finish: entrance to Sai Kung New Public Pier (nrs 7, 8, 9, 10).
Weather is a major factor for this tour, especially the winds influence whether the sea is calm enough
to land on the islands. Even when the sea at the shore of Sai Kung is smooth, it may be too dangerous to land
there. If so, the tour may have to be rescheduled.
Min 10, max 22 participants.
For travel to Sai Kung: advice to travel via Sha Tin MTR (bus 299x; 45-50 mins to Sai Kung),
University MTR (bus 99R; 30 mins to Sai Kung, every hour at :30, Sun/PH only) or Wu Kai Sha MTR
(bus 99; 20 mins to Sai Kung).
Travel via Po Lam/Choi Hung/Diamond Hill or other bus/minibus via Hiram's Highway: expect delays
of 1-3 hours as traffic on Hiram's Highway can be really bad and waiting times for minibuses
from Choi Hung or Po Lam may be really long.