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Tap Mun Chau (Grass Island)

Northwest of Mirs Bay is yet another island known as Tap Mun Chau or Grass Island. The island is home to an affluent community of fishermen, who crowd the harbor with their boats. The harbor acts as a pivotal gathering point for fishermen all over this region. There is also a Tin Hau Temple atop the hills of the island. This 100-year-old temple has special importance because it is the last one before fishermen reach the open sea. Usually, fishermen would make a stop at this temple to pray and make offerings for a safe return from their voyages. A strange thing about this particular temple is that when the east winds roar, their sounds can be heard in a crevice under the altar. This eerie howling is interpreted by fishermen as a warning of storms to come. Tap Mun can be reached by kaido (small boats) at Wong Shek pier in the New Territories.

Kat O Chau

Labeled the Crooked Island, Kat O Chau is huge and located to the northwest of Mirs Bay. Also a gathering place for fishermen, this quiet isolated island contains small villages scattered everywhere. Islanders pass time by catching, drying, selling, and eating fish. Specialty catches around this area are fresh abalone, squid, and mussels.

The island's most beautiful features are the ancient brick houses, traditional temples, steep cliffs, and small grottoes where pirates used to hide their hidden treasures several hundred years ago. Like many places in Hong Kong, there is also a Tin Hau Temple that is adorned with perfectly preserved blue-and-green glazed ceramic friezes. Besides these, other attractions include the Tung Bay Beach, Marriage Tree, Quanyin Cave, and Flying Rat Rock.

Kat O Chau is in close proximity with China and thus visitor entry is restricted. To come in, you must go through a travel agent or be sponsored by a resident of the island. Organized tours are available, which starts from Sha Tau Kok or Ma Liu Shui piers in Kowloon, on weekends and public holidays. For inquiries, call 2679 9475.

Duck Island and Horse Bay

Ap Chau (Duck Island) is a cluster of small islands situated between Starling Inlet and Crooked Harbour off the northeastern New Territories. All these islands inherited their names because of their unique shapes: Tai Ap Chau (Big Duck Island), Sai Ap Chau (Small Duck Island), and Ap Tan (Duck Egg). Not all of these islands are inhabited, only the biggest. The populations of the islands, mostly fishermen, are believers of Christianity. All the islanders are part of the True Jesus Church congregation, a Protestant Sect whose headquarters is in Taiwan. Ap Chau is also a restricted area that can only be accessible through a local tour group. However, there are no restaurants on the island; it is better to prepare a food basket before venturing off to the island.

Ma Wan (Horse Bay), also called Kup Shui Mun Island, is famous for the rapids and reefs at the Rapid Water Gate and the Unicorn Rock, which is a rock formation in the shape of a unicorn. A Tin Hau Temple is also built on this island. Water-sports enthusiasts should visit Ma Wan to enjoy the clean beaches that are superb for windsurfing and canoeing. The kaido services (small boats that act as water taxis) are available from Sham Tseng pier in Kowloon.

Kiu Tsui Chau (Sharp Island)

Off Sai Kung in eastern New Territories is Sharp Island (Kiu Tsui Chau), which is worth a visit. A perfect beach, Hap Mun Bay, with clear water and fine sands occupy the southern side of the island. Several popular camping and barbecue spots are open to visitors. Kaido services are available from Sai Kung pier.

Kwo Chau Kwan To (Fruit Islands)

Reputed to be a diver's paradise, this island is also called the Fruit Islands or Ninepin Group, and is located to the east of Hong Kong. There is a small Tin Hau Temple and some fabulous caves on Nam Kwo Chau (South Fruit Island).

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