With enviable views, a handy location and big business in boats, Pak Sha Wan is a bustling village with a bright future.
For a relatively small village, Pak Sha Wan has a lot going on: luxury developments and Chinese opera, multi-million-dollar yachts and by-the-hour rowing boats, upscale European cuisine and subterranean Cantonese seafood, a private yacht club and a sea scout activity centre.
It can thank its location for that. Conveniently strung along Hiram’s Highway, Pak Sha Wan is on the edge of Hebe Haven – typhoon shelter and yachtie paradise. With its green, hilly coastline and myriad boats on sparkling waters, the view is so pretty that it has attracted Sai Kung’s only boutique hotel, currently under construction at the top of the pier. (Let’s hope the hideous, long-derelict Million Karaoke bar opposite is due for demolition soon.)
For non-residents, Pak Sha Wan, or “white sand bay”, is all about the water. Its handy – and nicely renovated – pier offers easy public access to the calm waters of Port Shelter for junk trips, a sampan to Trio Beach ($20 return) or a rowing boat for mucking about in the bay.
It’s also the home of Hebe Haven Yacht Club, a friendly spot that attracts more seriously salty types with facilities for sailing and power boats of all shapes and sizes. Currently being spruced up with a brand new garden bar, terrace and playground, it’s an active club that runs frequent sail-training courses and races. During school holidays, it keeps kids happy with week-long camps, sailing lessons and other fun activities (non-members welcome; www.hhyc.org.hk).
In the club’s wake bob a host of boatyards and services, stretching along the coastline. And serving all those daytrippers are an inordinate number of restaurants for a village of this size, including bar-restaurant Hebe One O One, French restaurant Chez les Copains, Thai cuisine at Sampan, and – a personal favourite – the Chinese restaurant under the pier. Sadly, the much-loved Viking Seafood Restaurant went the way of the dodo a few years ago, along with the handy Park’n’Shop, although a few mom-and-pop shops on the highway sell cold drinks, fishing tackle and sunscreen to tourists.
The temple at the heart of the village is dedicated to Kwun Yum, the goddess of mercy, and once a year in honour of her birthday it hosts a Chinese opera performance in a temporary matshed across the road.
Like everything else about Pak Sha Wan, the property is diverse, ranging from old village houses in a few densely packed alleyways behind the temple to luxury complexes such as Habitat, Ruby Chalet and Giverny. With Hiram’s Highway occupying just about the only flat land in the village, most properties are on a hill – with the views to prove it.