Cliff jumping at Sheung Luk Stream in Sai Wan Village
Summer is here so take the plunge:
- Sheung Luk Stream in Sai Kung Country Park is one of the world’s most photogenic spots for cliff-jumping.
- Full How to Get There details are at the bottom of this story, including speedboat and bus numbers.
- The waterhole is famous among thrillseekers who take turns cliff-jumping off the eight-metre cliffs into the pool.
- To get there catch a cab from the country park gate at Pak Tam Chung to Sai Wan Pavilion, then hike 40 minutes, mostly downhill, on a paved path that joins the MacLehose Trail Stage 2. (See below for details).
- The walk reveals stunning views of High Island Reservoir, and glorious scenes of Tai Long Wan and its beautiful beaches.
- For a city-dweller, it’s hard to believe this is still Hong Kong.
The swimming holes and waterfalls of Sheung Luk Stream in Sai Kung Country Park. Sheung Luk translates as “double deer”, but it should be double dare (as in “I double dare you…”), because the eight-meter jumps offered by the cliffs look amazing in photos.
But Sheung Luk Pool is also a good place for romantic picnics, rock-hopping and swimming with the kids and chilling out with friends. The stream tumbles down the hill above the swathes of golden sand at Tai Long Sai Wan.
“Time for a free dose of adrenaline.
The secret is out about this place, which features on numerous blogs, YouTube, TripAdvisor and even CNN. Jumping off the cliff has become a Hong Kong rite of passage.
The eight-meter cliff looks deceptively low from the bottom, but peer over the edge at the sparkling water below and suddenly it seems very high indeed. Looking down gives me the shivers, my stomach flip-flops and I retreat from the edge. My place is soon taken by bronzed Tarzans who dive, jump and somersault into the deep green pool. I’m no Jane, however, and decide not to join them. Later, experienced cliff diver Dominic Brettell says he also had a panic attack when he first jumped.“It lasted seconds, then my friends counted down to one and shouted ‘jump’. I had nothing in my mind except what they were saying,” he says. “One minute you’re steaming hot, the next you’re jumping into the cool, refreshing water. It washes over your face and it’s just… amazing.“
Climbing and jumping off cliffs is dangerous, particularly when it’s wet and slippery. Wash sunscreen off your palms before climbing, check the water is at least two to three metres deep and that no one is below you before jumping. Don’t be pressured into taking the plunge if you’re not ready. Brettell recommends beginners jump from the smaller rocks, working up in height. And Action Asia’s editor-in-chief, Steve White, advises practising on swimming pool diving boards of different heights before cliff jumping. He does not recommend doing flips or tricks while cliff jumping as it adds unnecessary risk.
When to go
One of the biggest and most popular streams in Hong Kong, Sheung Luk is busy at weekends from May to September. The round trip takes approximately five hours.
What to pack
You will need a couple of litres of water to stay hydrated, swimsuit, towel, sunglasses, camera, a change of clothes, hiking shoes, sunblock, mobile phone.
How to get there
- From Sai Kung, minibus 29R goes to Sai Wan Pavilion at 8.30am, 9.15am, 11.30am and 3.30pm.
- If you miss the minibus, take Citibus 94 or 96R to Pak Tam Chung and catch a cab.
- From the pavilion, follow signs to Sai Wan Village. (The hike takes 40 minutes, mostly downhill, on a paved path that joins the MacLehose Trail Stage 2.)
- After dropping down the steep hill to Sai Wan, follow the path through the village. You may find it hard to walk past the beach at this point – it’s among the loveliest in Hong Kong – but keep going to the stone bridge in the far northwest corner of the beach. This is Sheung Luk Stream.
- The path to Luk Wu Hiking Trail is marked by a sign that says “Caution, deep water”.
- Scramble upstream (junk-trippers beware: you will need decent shoes on the sharp rocks) for a few minutes to find the first of the waterfalls and freshwater pools.With the roaring waterfalls, clear pools, weird insects, exotic plants and young couples indulging in public displays of affection, it’s very zen.
- Alternatively, catch a speedboat from Sai Kung waterfront to Sai Wan for $120 a head. For details, call 9800 3601.