Ma Shi Chau

Ma Shi Chau (Horse Manure Island) is situated in Tolo Harbour, a sheltered harbour in northeast New Territories of Hong Kong.

Ma Shi Chau is one of Hong Kong’s special geological sites. The area is made up of sedimentary rocks formed in the Permian, some 280 million years ago.

Ma Shi Chau was a protected special area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

This is more of an educational tour than a hike, an easy stroll on historical islands which is a good warm-up for the start of Hong Kong’s hiking season.

We met at a coffee shop near Tai Po Market MTR Station and took a bus to Sam Mun Tsai New Village, a serene fishing village.

Tai Po Market MTR Station

74K Bus

Sam Mun Tsai fishing village is located in the north of Yim Tin Tsai (Little Salt Field), an island connected to the island of Ma Shi Chau in the east by a tombolo that is only accessible when the tide is low.

Sam Mun Tsai New Village

The Beverly Hills is an upscale, private gated community in Tai Po, New Territories, situated along the coastline with a panoramic view of Tolo Harbour.

We walked through the village to catch a glimpse of life of the fishermen, checked out the geoheritage centre and exhibition gallery featuring different fishing practices, fishing tools, traditional religious beliefs and customs.

We then hiked Yim Tin Tsai, and from the top of a hill on this “cemetery” island, we have magnificent views of Ma On Shan, Tai Mo Shan, Plover Cove and the Pat Sin Leng range.

A 76-meter-tall bronze Guanyin statue in Tsz Shan Monastery, Tung Tsz, Tai Po District. The second highest in the world.

Yeung Chau is an uninhabited island of Hong Kong located in Plover Cove, Tolo Harbour, and is part of the Ma Shi Chau Special Area.

We hiked down on the eastern side of Yim Tin Tsai, to a tombolo, a narrow strip of land connecting Yim Tin Tsai to Ma Shi Chau.

Ma Shi Chau nature trail runs along the southeastern shore of the island. This special area consists of some oldest rocks in Hong Kong and is rich in geological and geomorphological features such as folding, faults, unconformities and wave-cut platforms. Some parts of the trail are submerged at high tide, so check the tide times before setting off.

Pandanus grow wild mainly in seminatural vegetation in littoral habitats throughout the tropical and subtropical Pacific, where they can withstand drought, strong winds, and salt spray.

Cheese Rock is a rock which is filled with thin layers of quartz. The quartz is harder than the surrounding sandstones, so when the rock weathers, the quartz will stick out a bit as it weathers slower. This makes the rock look like it has some molten cheese poured over it.


A walk on the island of Ma Shi Chau is a trip back in time.