6 Seriously Creepy Places in Hong Kong that You've Probably Never Heard Of


1. Yim Tin Tsai - Hong Kong's Ghost Island

Yim Tin Tsai is a little island off the coast of Sai Kung that was once home to a thriving population of Hakka villagers. The island was first inhabited in the 1800s, some 200 years ago.

The original settlers were a family named Chan from China’s Guangdong province who farmed salt – the island’s name means “Little Salt Farm” in English. The salt produced on Yim Tin Tsai was sold to other villagers in nearby Sai Kung and across Hong Kong, in general. For nigh a century, business was booming. However, in the 1900s, Yim Tin Tsai's fortunes began to change.

Cheaper salt became widely available, much of which was imported from Vietnam. With it becoming harder for villagers to make a living, the island slowly began to lose its population.

Because of this, by the 1920s, the salt pans had all vanished. Though a large number of people still resided on the island in the 1940s, residents kept on leaving in search of more lucrative opportunities and easier lives in the city. By the 1980s there were just four residents and by the '90s, it was completely abandoned; earning Yim Tin Tsai the nickname ‘Ghost Island’.

"The village may have been lost completely, if not for a group of descendants of the original villagers who returned to Yim Tin Tsai in about 2000 and started a movement to revive the island."

These days, the salt pans have been revived by volunteers and the old chapel still stands, which was constructed in 1890 as one of the first Catholic churches in Sai Kung.

Still, many of Yim Tin Tsai's traditional homes are in a state of decay, which does give off an undeniably eerie vibe. Heading away from the village settlements, the sole path on the island will bring you face-to-face, quite literally, with several golden orb-weaver spiders. If you travel here in the summer, be mindful of these.

How to Get to Yim Tin Tsai

Step 1: Get to Sai Kung

No MTR lines go directly to Sai Kung, so you have to take a bus or an MTR bus combo.

From Kowloon:

  • 1A minibus from Choi Hung MTR (exit C1)
  • 96R bus from Diamond Hill MTR station (exit C2) Sat, Sun and Public holidays only
  • 9 minibus from Ngau Tau Kok (Yee On Street)
  • Mong Kok Express red minibus (from Dundas Street)

From the New Territories:

  • 299X bus from Shatin (below New Town Plaza)
  • 101M minibus from Hang Hau MTR (exit B)

From Hong Kong Island:

  • The best way to get to Sai Kung from HK Island in the morning is to take the MTR to Hang Hau and get the 101M.
  • Causeway Bay Express red minibus: Monday-Friday: 7pm to 12:30am Weekends: 5pm to 12:30am.

Step 2: Get a Ferry From Sai Kung

The ferry leaves from Sai Kung Public Pier

  • Service days. Tuesdays - Sundays, Except Monday.
  • From Sai Kung. 10:00. 11:00. 12:00. 13:00. 14:00. 15:00.
  • From Yim TIn Tsai. 12:20. 14:20. 16:00. 17:00.

2. The Sea Ranch - Opulent 1970s Luxury Left to Rot

The Sea Ranch, perched on the southern part of Lantau Island, was once touted as one of Hong Kong's most luxurious properties in the 1970s. The premise was that the city's elite would be able to purchase a little slice of paradise far away from the hustle and bustle of the city for the genuinely affordable price of between 250,000 and 554,000 HKD plus additional management fees for ferry services, security, maintenance, etc. This was cheap even by 1970s Hong Kong standards.

What would all that money get you? Owners of The Sea Ranch properties would receive 24-hour room service, sports facilities, the largest private swimming pool in Hong Kong, private ferries to and from Hong Kong Island, a Western restaurant and even a Chinese restaurant.

Though it was a grand success for a decade, The Sea Ranch property owner Alex Lush believes that interest began to wane and people sold off their properties because more convenient luxury options started to became available.

As developers Hutchison Whampoa began to rack up debt over the property, ownership of The Sea Ranch was split between former residents and a new holding company. The residents maintained the beachfront homes, which still look great today.

However, the holding company in charge of maintaining the clubhouse let the place fall into ruin and today it has a really creepy vibe. If you find the old clubhouse, it feels almost like it's frozen in time with newspapers from decades ago, old typewriters and even the corpse of a mummified dog attesting to just how secluded and eerie this location really is.

How to Get to The Sea Ranch

You have to either hike or take a sampan (type of boat) to get there.

By Boat:

*You are not guaranteed to reach The Sea Ranch by boat.

Most people take a ferry from Central Pier 5 to Cheung Chau (ferry timetable) and then attempt to take The Sea Ranch’s private ferry from Cheung Chau pier. Unless you’re a resident or guest of The Sea Ranch, you will not be permitted to disembark at The Sea Ranch (or even board at the ferry pier) if you take the property’s private ferry.

You can try hiring a private sampan from Cheung Chau pier by calling any of the following three numbers: 90565095, 92190065 or 91038358. It’s unlikely that the private sampan operators will speak English, so it’s probably best to make this journey with someone who speaks Cantonese or Mandarin. Alternatively, ask someone at the pier to help you.

Check with the Sampan owners if you’ll be permitted to alight at The Sea Ranch or not. If you have to alight at a nearby beach, you’ll likely have to wade knee-deep or waist-deep in water. Dress and protect your valuables accordingly.

Chinese address:

The Sea Ranch’s Private Pier: 澄碧邨碼頭

Yi Long Wan (The Sea Ranch’s private beach): 二浪灣海灘

By Hike:

*You can definitely reach The Sea Ranch by hiking.

The most enjoyable route to The Sea Ranch (in my opinion) is to hike there. Check out the detailed guide below for hiking instructions.

3. Sham Chung - Five Hakka Villages Being Swallowed By Nature

Sham Chung, located in the northeast of Sai Kung, was once a collection of five Hakka settlements (Wan Tsai, Wan Du, Pao Nei Tsai, Kau Tong Tsuen and Shek Tau King) that was inhabited between 1736 and 1795.

The villagers were primarily farmers and fishermen, who would trade with one another and with other villages in the area.

While all of the settlements are still technically present to this day, four out of five of them are really hard to find because of how much they've been reclaimed by nature.

By far, the most prominent of the villages is Wan Tsai, which is home to Sham Chung Manor - a well-preserved Hakka home that's still visited on weekends by the 7th-generation descendants of the Lee Clan. Much of the land around Wan Tsai consists of a large, green field, which is actually pretty scenic.

So where's the creepy stuff, you might ask? Well, visit on a weekday and even Wan Tsai will be completely deserted.

But, the scary stuff begins pretty much the moment you venture into the nearby trees. You'll discover the skeletons of old village buildings from the other four settlements. Everything from abandoned schools to churches are all slowly being consumed by nature. The scariest buildings are the hidden deep in the jungle, but can be discovered for those who really wish to seek out what makes Sham Chung undeniably creepy.

How to Get to Sham Chung

By Ferry

You can get the ferry from either Ma Liu Shui Pier in Shatin District or from Wong Shek Pier in Sai Kung. The ferry schedule can be found here.

By Hiking

Check out the detailed hiking guide below

4. Kam Shan World War 2 Tunnel - A Mystery from a Tumultuous Era

This tunnel, located on Kam Shan, right above Kowloon Reservoir, is really difficult to find, but is pretty well-preserved. I haven't been able to find out much concrete information about it, but from what I can extrapolate, it may have been a tunnel that made up part of the Gin Drinker's Line in World War II.

The Gin Drinker's Line was a series of pill boxes, stretches of barbed wire, camoflaged trenches, interconnecting paths, weapons pits and minefields running east-west across the Kowloon Peninsula for some 18 kilometers.

Given that Kam Shan was captured by Japanese forces during the Battle of Hong Kong, it's entirely possible that this tunnel saw battle between British troops and Japanese forces.

Furthermore, the nearby Shing Mun Redoubt, which was a series of tunnels that made up the command headquarters of the Gin Drinker's Line, saw some serious battle. Of the 46 Allied forces stationed there, 3 were killed, 27 were captured, and 13 fled.

Who knows if this eerie tunnel silently echoes with the screams of dying soldiers fighting tooth and nail in a war that reshaped the future of the entire world.

How to Get to the Kam Shan World War II Tunnel

You'll have to hike to the tunnel and it's really easy to get lost. Refer to the below hiking guide on detailed instructions on how to get there.

5. Kuk Po Ancient Village - Ethereally Beautiful But Eerily Silent

Kuk Po Ancient Village is located near Starling Inlet, right on the border of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.

The area of Kuk Po has been inhabited by seven clans, the Sung (), Lee (), Ho (), Tsang (), Cheng (), Ng () and Yeung (), for over 300 years.

Most of these villages are pretty much inaccessible and have been swallowed up by nature over the centuries. Kuk Po Ancient Village is still clinging on to life, but barely. In 1911, the population of Kuk Po Lo Wai was about 250 people, today though, it's totally empty.

Walking through the ancient village is both intriguing and haunting. It's clear that this was once a beautiful place, but seeing so many of the traditional buildings falling into a state of disarray was disheartening.

Then, there was also the mystery of the preserved temples. While almost every building in the village was at least partially crumbling under the weight of time, every single temple seemed to be far better preserved.

Is this because the villagers are particularly pious, or could there be something more sinister afoot? I didn't linger around to find out.

How to Get to Kuk Po Ancient Village

You'll have to hike to get to Kuk Po Ancient Village.

The shortest route involves taking the 56K minibus from Fanling and following the below guide in reverse.

For the full abandoned village experience, follow the guide below the whole way!

6. Hei Ling Chau - An Island with a Seriously Dark History

If you've hikes some of the coastal routes in Lantau or have taken the ferry to Mui Wo, chances are, that you've unwittingly seen Hei Ling Chau.

At first glance, it's a seemingly unremarkable island near Lantau, with a typhoon shelter that often has boats docked within it. What could be so creepy about that? Let's go through a brief history lesson to outline the island's horrific past.

1890s - Home of Native Villagers

The island was settled by the Lam, Tsang, and Ng clans. Up until the 1950s, the three clans flourished, with the island’s population growing to about 100 people.

1951 - Leper Camp Established

The original villagers were relocated and a leprosarium was built to treat Hong Kong's growing leper community. Oh, and the island was renamed to "Island of Happy Healing" or "Island of Joyful Soul." Yeah, that's super creepy.

1960s - Leper Camp Gets Overcrowded

Conditions at the leprosarium were not great as the leprosarium reached its maximum capacity of 540 patients in the 1960s, but kept operating until the 1970s.

1975 - Drug Addiction Center Set Up

Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre was set up after the lepers were relocated.

1982 - Overcrowded Vietnamese Refugee Camp

Hei Ling Chau was turned into a Vietnamese Refugee Camp to cope with an influx of refugees. Conditions were so horrific that one of the inhabitants recalled, “The camp's barracks-like cinder-block buildings house 2,900 people in spaces meant for 2,400. Two meals a day and a snack are served and there is one toilet for every 90 people.”

The refugee camp was shut down in the early-mid 1990s.

1990s - Present

Today, Hei Ling Chau houses the Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre, which occupies the north-western part of the island, the Hei Ling Chau Correctional Institution, which is located on the eastern part of the island and the Lai Sun Correctional Institution, which is located on the northern side of the island.

2004 - Nearly Becomes Hong Kong's Alcatraz

Hei Ling Chau was nearly turned into the Alcatraz of Hong Kong with a massive island-wide prison plan proposed and scrapped

How to Get to Hei Ling Chau

You can take a ferry from Peng Chau to get to Hei Ling Chau, but you’ll need a special permit to enter the island. Permits are only offered to people visiting loved ones in correctional institutions or the rehabilitation center. DO NOT DISEMBARK WITHOUT A PERMIT. The ferry timetable and fare can be found here.