High Island Reservoir East Dam

Top choice in Sai Kung Peninsula

Handsome architecture, the South China Sea, and 140-million-year-old volcanic rocks make this one of Hong Kong's most breathtaking places. High Island Reservoir East Dam is the most easily accessible part of Hong Kong Global Geopark and the only place where you can touch the hexagonal rock columns. The scenery is surreal and made even more so by the presence of thousands of dolosse (huge reinforced concrete blocks shaped like jacks) placed along the coast to break sea waves.

High Island was Hong Kong's second reservoir built by sealing off the coast with dams (Plover Cove was the first). This was done to provide fresh water to the territory after mainland China shut down supply during the 1967 riots. High Island was designed by Binnie & Partners of London and constructed by an Italian company, Vianini Lavori. At the southern end of East Dam, you'll see a giant light blue dolos block, a memorial to those who died on the project. Nearby is a concrete slab that commemorates, in Chinese and English, the inauguration of the reservoir in 1978. The construction of the reservoir had one unintentional effect – it made a part of what 30 years later became Hong Kong Global Geopark accessible on foot. Off the coast of the southern end of the dam is Po Pin Chau (literally, Broken-Sided Island), a massive sea stack with rock columns all over its face like a giant pipe organ.

East Dam of High Island Reservoir is in Stage 1 of the MacLehose Trail, which means you can hike here. Alternatively, you can join a Geopark tour that makes a stop at East Dam. See website for the list and to enrol.

At the time of research, a dedicated green minibus (route 9A) has just been launched to take passengers between Sai Kung's Pak Tam Chung and East Dam. During the trial period the route (HK$11.30) operated on Sundays and public holidays, between 3pm and 6pm. You could also take bus 94 from Sai Kung Bus Terminus to Pak Tam Chung, then walk 9km along Tai Mong Tsai Rd and Sai Kung Man Kee Rd, following MacLehose Trail Stage 1, to East Dam.

A taxi to East Dam from Sai Kung Town takes about 30 minutes and costs HK$160. But you may need to call a taxi service for the return trip. Try 852 8103 1189. Be prepared to offer an extra HK$50 or more when placing your request in order to land a ride.

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