High Island Reservoir East Dam: A Must-Visit Hidden Gem in Hong Kong

High Island Reservoir East Dam: A Must-Visit Hidden Gem in Hong Kong

Huge dolosse blocks, volcanic columns and sea caves are just some of the gorgeous sights in the East Dam of High Island Reservoir.

If you think that Hong Kong is just a typical concrete jungle, you must not have seen the wildly amazing sight of High Island Reservoir East Dam.

high island reservoir east dam

Situated at the southeastern end of Sai Kung and built in the 1970s, High Island Reservoir is the largest reservoir in Hong Kong. It is surrounded by some of the city’s most scenic country parks and pristine beaches.

The eerily beautiful hexagonal volcanic columns visible along the coast of the East Dam of High Island Reservoir are not seen anywhere else in Hong Kong. The hexagonal columns were formed 140 million years ago due to a catastrophic volcanic eruption, in which the tuff eventually cooled and solidified to form the rock columns. Today, these remnants are one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. In fact, it is designated as one of the 12 main sites in Hong Kong’s UNESCO Global Geopark. It is the only site in the area reachable on foot; visitors have to take a guided ferry tour to explore other sites.

Sea caves, concrete dolosse blocks and stack islands complete the entire High Island Reservoir East Dam. With the seamless curtain of the azure sky and the boundless South China Sea, the place looks very much surreal.

On my trip there, I cabbed with two Hong Kongers from the taxi stand near Sai Kung Bus Terminus. The driver dropped us off at the West Dam, a walkable distance to the entrance of East Dam. I was astonished to see an amazing bird’s eye view from the West Dam which overlooks the vast coastline and magnificent mountains. Truly a beautiful sight to behold!

As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Here’s what you can expect to see at High Island Reservoir East Dam. Try spotting them while you are there!

1. Bulls

You may be surprised to be greeted by bulls near the pavilion at the entrance. It was pretty common to spot wild ones lurking around. Just be careful not to agitate them!

2. The High Island Reservoir

Here comes the part that I dreaded the most – climbing stairs (and a pretty steep one). It was an easy feat to walk down the long flight of steps but imagine the pain of climbing up later!

It took me quite a while to reach the bottom of the stairs and O-M-G, the lake of the buffer reservoir looks so impressive up close that I just want to stop and stare at this sight forever.

3. Sea Caves

high island reservoir east dam

This is one of the most well-known spots at the East Dam. The end of the wooden boardwalk reveals a mysterious cave close where you can enjoy an unobstructed view of a sea cave formation off East Dam. It’s not a surprise why the crowd flocked to this iconic spot to take photos. Though picturesque, the cave was known to be haunted by a girl who died there!

4. T/H-shaped Dolosse Blocks + Po Pin Chau

high island reservoir east dam

Every shot taken at the East Dam looked like a painting! I especially love the therapeutic feeling of walking along this wide pavement amidst the cooling breeze.

Gigantic T/H-shaped dolosse blocks pile up along one side of the East Dam, creating a chaotic yet beautiful barrier to protect the dam against the rough sea. Many warning signs along the dolosse blocks wrote “No climbing” but who cares? Being an adventurous daredevil, I climbed on the block and was immediately overwhelmed by the spectacular view overlooking the South China Sea. Sit here for a rest or recharge and enjoy the sounds of crashing waves! You can even spot the magnificent stack island known as Po Pin Chau (破邊洲) from afar.
This is a popular photo-taking spot and a recommended must-go at High Island Reservoir East Dam!

5. The Steps at the East Dam

high island reservoir east dam

Countless rows of steps beside the wide pavement form the spectacular High Island Reservoir East Dam that separate the reservoir and the South China Sea. This is a perfect spot for a picnic lunch where you can bask in the tranquil serenity under the crystal blue sky!

high island reservoir east dam

The view from the steps was absolutely stunning!

If you take a walk further down the steps, there are many clusters of huge rocks and humongous dolosse blocks near the side of the reservoir. Look at how photogenic the structures are!

Conquering this route was relatively easy and it took me around three hours. This trip to High Island Reservoir East Dam definitely left me with a different perspective and unforgettable memories of Hong Kong. I ended my day by catching the gorgeous sunset view while waiting for a taxi to Sai Kung.

Directions to High Island Reservoir East Dam

From Choi Hung Station (Exit C2) → Green minibus No. 1A (20 – 25 minutes bus ride) → Sai Kung Pier → Taxi to High Island Reservoir East Dam

Here are a few quick tips to ease your travel to High Island Reservoir East Dam!

Quick tips before you go!

Tip #1:

A useful one for travellers who cannot converse in Cantonese with the taxi driver: grab the people queuing in front of or behind you and ask politely if you can share a cab with them.

Tip #2:

If you are early, board Bus 94 from Choi Hung Station to Pak Tam Chung and take a good three-hour hike up to the East Dam. You will be rewarded with more captivating sights of the geopark.

Tip #3:

If you do not want to spend hours waiting for a cab at an ulu place like East Dam, remember to get the taxi driver’s mobile number before alighting!

I was lucky that the two Hongkongers whom I cabbed with forewarned me about the difficulty of getting a cab down to Sai Kung from the East Dam, and helped me to get the taxi driver’s mobile number before we alighted.

Tip #4:

For first-timers to the High Island Reservoir East Dam, do stop by the Volcano Discovery Centre, right beside Sai Kung Bus Terminus, to obtain more comprehensive information on Hong Kong Global Geopark. You won’t want to risk getting lost in a foreign country! You may even check out unique exhibits of the territory’s volcanic rock formations and book various guided ferry tours at the centre. Personally, I feel that the tours are really expensive and do not provide a truly satisfying experience. There is no better way to indulge in the beautiful sights than to explore on foot!

Off you go!

High Island Reservoir East Dam is perfect for nature-lovers, hikers or even photography lovers looking for a beautiful backdrop for their #ootd shots. You don’t have to be a geography lover to visit. Just arm yourself with an adventurous streak and venture out to explore one of Hong Kong’s hidden gem!

About Author

Serene Chan
Serene Chan

An adventurous daredevil, Serene finds an adrenaline rush from exploring the unknown and off-the-beaten tracks in every country she travels to. She is an advocate of solo travel and enjoys connecting with awesome travellers along the way. On a lazy Sunday, she is either binge-watching Korean and Hong Kong dramas or dancing and singing the day away.


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