15 Oct Insider’s Guide to Lamma Island, Hong Kong’s Hippie Haven
Lamma Island is Hong Kong’s hippie haven. A short ferry ride away from Central, Lamma has long been a refuge for those looking for a relaxed and alternative lifestyle. You won’t find any cars or public transport here, but all the more bicycles. The island’s picturesque main village, Yung Shue Wan (‘Banyan Tree Bay’), is home to a thriving creative community and emerging arts scene. Venture out in Lamma’s narrow streets, and you’ll find a surprising selection of indie shops, quirky cafés, craft workshops and pop-up galleries.
Wondering where to go on Lamma Island? We teamed up with Lamma Art Collective to create a walking trail slash neighbourhood guide across the island to take you to its hidden gems and hotspots.
1. Lamma Library
Popular library and photo gallery
You’ll find more than just books at this Lamma landmark: this library houses a small museum that tells the unique history of the Banyan Tree Bay through old maps and photos. Its calligraphed façade resembles a book cover, a gentle nudge to all visitors to go ‘read a book by the seaside’.
1 Yung Shue Wan Main Street
2. Lamma Art Collective
Home of Lamma’s creative community
Lamma island’s unique landscape, culture and community are a continuous source of creative inspiration to its resident artists. This is where the island’s creatives—writers, sketchers, painters and poets—show their works. There’s always something going on here, from exhibitions and workshops to social events and private parties.
1/F, 23 Yung Shue Wan Main Street
3. Green Cottage
Cosy vegetarian and vegan-friendly café
This homely café and store near the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier dates back to 1997, the year of the Hong Kong handover. It was opened by Lamma local Ron Yiu, a passionate green campaigner and pioneer in wholesome veggie food. Green Cottage is a popular place for locals to grab a coffee or juice on their way to catch the morning ferry into Central. Prefer lingering over your drink? Head to the tables at the back veranda for seating with an ocean view.
26 G/F Main St, Yung Shue Wan
4. Lamma Vinyl Records Store
Relaxed vintage shop for vinyl lovers
Lamma resident and shop owner Ming Ho’s two biggest passions in life are hiking and music, both of which she gets to enjoy—and share—on the island. Ming’s customers come from far and wide to leisurely browse her unique collection of records, cassette tapes, CDs and DVDs. “There’s no rush here; people feel relaxed,” Ming says. She loves chatting about music and is happy to help you find your favourite artist or genre. “Our best-selling record is the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack!”
1/F, 45 Yung Shue Wan Main Street
5. Nick The Book Man
A long beard and a love of books
You can’t miss Nick with his long Dumbledore beard that he hasn’t shaved since he married his Finnish wife some 20 years ago. Since he moved to the island in 1982, Nick has become a bit of a Lamma celebrity. A man of many trades, he has seen Hong Kong through the lens of a student at the Diocesan Boys’ School, sports journalist and mover. Now, he spends his days by his bookstand, sharing his love for books and a good chat.
Corner Yung Shue Wan Main Street and Family Walk
6. Bookworm Café
A Lamma legend
The epitome of Lamma’s laidback hippie vibe, Bookworm Café was one of the first in Hong Kong to serve organic vegetarian cuisine. Bookworm was founded by eco-warrior Bobsy Gaia, who came to Lamma from war-torn Beirut in 1992. Bobsy later established the popular slow food chain Mana! and was also instrumental in creating the Lamma Forest, now home to more than 30,000 (!) trees. Bookworm is a relaxed café with an all-day menu that delivers on a healthy promise, such as popular Lebanese-inspired mezze dishes.
79 Yung Shue Wan Main Street
7. Lamma Brand
Lamma-inspired fashion and accessories
This stylish store is all about locally-inspired apparel and accessories, from (customisable) t-shirts, hoodies and bags, to stickers, caps and boards. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch one of Lamma Brand’s regular DJ sessions at the shop’s lovely outdoor terrace to enjoy the slow-paced island vibes to the fullest.
56 Yung Shue Wan Main Street
8. Lamma Corner
Ethical shop selling upcycled artisan products
Lamma Corner is a welcome home for artisans, environmentalists and creative entrepreneurs from all over Hong Kong. This small shop, founded by Stanley and Puk, sells unique souvenirs made with love. Puk also regularly runs workshops and beach clean-ups to help save the green turtle population on one of Lamma’s remote beaches.
92 Yung Shue Wan Main St
9. Tin Hau Temple
Lamma’s tribute to the Goddess of the Sea
There are over 100 Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong, and no fewer than three of them are found on Lamma Island. These temples are dedicated to the mighty Chinese sea goddess Tin Hau, ever-popular among the seafaring folk and Lamma’s fishermen community. Lamma’s Yung Shue Wan temple is unique in Hong Kong because of its ‘Western’ lion statues. When the temple was renovated in the 1960s—the height of the cultural revolution in China—it was difficult to find Chinese sculptors to create its statues. Instead, they were made by a local Lamma sculptor.
95 Yung Shue Wan Main Street
10. Coffee Philharmonic
Hidden coffee shop that roasts their own beans
Tucked away behind the Tin Hau temple, this newcomer on the block isn’t too easy to find, but their coffee makes it more than worth the detour. Coffee Philharmonic’s baristas pick and roast their own coffee beans on the premises. Philharmonic’s drip coffee is particularly delicious, but you can’t go wrong with ordering any of their brews.
106 Yung Shue Wan Main Street
11. Lala MaMa’s
Quirky café with an artistic touch
Tucked away in a small alleyway, this charming restaurant is a popular brunch spot amongst Lamma Island residents. More than the food, it’s the carefree, cosy atmosphere that invites for long lingering afternoons with a book and a coffee. Owner Monica Chow is a recycler at heart; she regularly roams flea markets to give unwanted stuff a new lease of life in her café.
27 Sha Po Old Village
12. Bali Tyché
Family-made Indonesian fare
Lamma was the new home of choice for Balinese Tamie and her French husband, Jean. The couple instantly fell in love with the island, which they felt was the perfect place to unwind and be close to nature. Tamie and Jean cook healthy vegetarian and vegan food inspired by their luscious surroundings. Be sure to order one of Bali Tyche’s many yummy vegan cakes and desserts on the menu!
39 Sha Po Old Village
13. The Beer Shack
The place to enjoy Lamma’s very own craft beer
What started as a small taproom on the way to Hung Shing Yeh beach is now the place-to-be to enjoy Lamma’s home-grown craft beer, The Yardley Brothers. The brainchild of long-time Lamma residents Luke and Duncan Yardley (indeed, the Yardley brothers), this haven for craft beer lovers has quite a few unique flavours on tap, including a Chili Basil Lager, Mango Sour IPA and Chocolate Fudge Stout. Not a beer lover? No problem! The Beer Shack serves coffee and kombucha, too.
10 Sha Po New Village
Vegan café and organic culinary grocery store
Lamma local Peggy Tsang shares her love for an organic lifestyle through Rawsoever, a vegan café and grocery store for plant-based offerings. Here, you’ll find honest, simple dishes made with the freshest ingredients. Peggy’s decadent desserts, like the raw vegan mousse cake, are a must-try!
Shop A, G/F, No. 18E, Dayuan Village, Lamma Island Family Walk
15. Stella Cheng – s+clicks｜PURELAB
Farm-to-face natural skincare and handcrafted jewellery
Stella’s jewellery designs put a modern spin on traditional Chinese motifs. She sells her handmade pieces in the Mandarin Oriental and, of course, here on Lamma. Always keen to experiment, Stella has also developed a natural skincare line using an original Cuban oregano copper distiller and herbs from her own garden.
Shop B, G/F, No. 18E, Dayuan Village, Lamma Island Family Walk
16. Ah Por Tofu Fa
Fresh tofu pudding in a shaded garden
This traditional family-run shop has been serving tofu puddings and soy milk for generations. Take your pick from hot or cold and enjoy your refreshing, healthy snack in the shade. Be sure to make a pit stop here early in the day: they’re only open until they sell out!
1 Tai Wan San Tsuen Village, Family Walk
17. Jim Yeung the Busker
Lamma’s spirited music lover
Every weekend, you’ll find Mr Yeung at Cable Road. Genuinely unplugged, he’ll put on impressive solo performances with vocals, guitar, ukulele, harmonica and even a foot tambourine. Jim is a free-spirited man, a passionate believer in freedom of speech, human rights and true democracy. He lived overseas for a while but is now back in his hometown.
Junction Hung Shin Yue Beach x Cable Road
18. Organic Farm
100-years-old farm perched on a hill
This massive organic farm is exemplary of the laid-back, friendly and slow-paced islander life on Lamma. Stop by to buy local organic produce, sit down for a traditional charcoal-cooked meal in a tranquil setting or stay for the night in one of the farm cabins. Saturday morning yoga classes are on offer to start your weekend fresh.
Wondering where else to go in Hong Kong?
Download our 100% free iDiscover app! Packed with locally curated walking and cycling itineraries, our app will guide you to hidden gems, popular local hotspots, surprising sites and interesting background stories in the more authentic parts of Hong Kong—and far beyond.
Prefer to explore Lamma Island with a printed map?
Click here to download this beautiful map by Lamma-based designer Annemarijn de Boer for free!