When people think \u2018Hong Kong\u2019, they think \u2018city\u2019. And yes, there is a whole lot of that. But there are also loads and loads of beaches\u201443 to be exact\u2014both close to the city, and way in the countryside. Visitors are often surprised by Hong Kong\u2019s long, sandy bays, emerald-green water, and dramatic backdrop of tall mountains. These beaches offer a welcome respite in the summer, when the concrete jungle becomes a stifling hot box. All of Hong Kong\u2019s beaches are monitored by the government, and have facilities such as bathrooms, changing rooms, showers, picnic tables, and sometimes BBQ pits, which are free to use. You\u2019ll almost always find a few shops nearby, selling cold drinks, food, and everything you need for a beach BBQ, such as coal, skewers, matches, and so on. In this article, we focus on beaches in three main areas: The southside of Hong Kong Island; The Islands District, such as Lantau and Lamma; Sai Kung, to the east. So this summer, grab your towels, and hit these nine awesome Hong Kong beaches to beat the heat. 1. Southside: Easy access from the city Repulse Bay Probably Hong Kong\u2019s most famous beach; a long, sandy cove surrounded by some of the most expensive real estate in town, plus lots of restaurants and bars on the beach. Access: Take Bus 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 from Exchange Square bus terminus in Central, or take the MTR to Ocean Park and then grab a taxi. Shek O Beach Usually combined with a hike on the Dragon\u2019s Back, Shek O Beach is a stone\u2019s throw from chilled-out Shek O Village, where you can find lots of local and Western restaurants and cafes, and shops to buy cold drinks. Access: Take Bus 9, or a taxi, from Shau Kei Wan MTR Station. Stanley Beach Stanley Market is one of the top tourist attractions in Hong Kong, and lucky for you, there\u2019s this gorgeous beach nearby, about five minutes by walk. This beach is popular with water sports, and is the site of one of Hong Kong\u2019s biggest dragon boat races. Access: Take bus 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 from Exchange Square in Central. 2. Islands District: Awesome day trips by ferry Kwun Yam Beach, Cheung Chau A day trip to Cheung Chau will let you escape the crowds and enjoy some time on the water. Don\u2019t miss the nearby Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre, which is an awesome place to have an alfresco meal, and the rock carvings. Access: Take a ferry from Central Pier 5 to Cheung Chau, and walk to the beach. Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Lamma If you\u2019re a bit turned off by the thought of lounging next to a power station, then head to Lo So Shing Beach, which is prettier and more quiet. Access: From Central Pier 4, take the ferry to Sok Kwu Wan, and then walk about 20 minutes on the scenic Lamma Island Family Walk trail. Cheung Sha Beach, Lantau It\u2019s a bit tricky to get to, but worth it. There are two parts to this beach: 1) Lower Cheung Sha, where you can get sand between your toes at the popular al fresco restaurants, and 2) Upper Cheung Sha, which is quieter. Access: Take the ferry to Mui Wo from Central Pier 6, and New Lantau Bus 1 heading towards Tai O\u2014but don\u2019t miss your stop. Alternatively, find an elusive blue taxi to take you. 3. Sai Kung: The cleanest beaches in town Hap Mun Bay Located on Sharp Island, Hap Mun Bay is a gorgeous place to swim, and popular with water sports like kayaking. Part of Hong Kong\u2019s Global Geopark, this beach can be accessed by a short kai-to boat ride from Sai Kung Public Pier and an even shorter walk. For the fit: Sea-kayaking tours including a visit to Yim Tin Tsai, Mangrove Wetland and several caves can be booked online. Long Ke Wan This untouched bay is just for the hikers, as the only way to get there is by foot. Also part of the Geopark, the hike is amazing, taking you past a reservoir and hexagonal columns. This beach is remote with no amenities, so you need to take water and food. Access: Take a taxi from Sai Kung to the High Island Reservoir East Dam, and then hike about 30 minutes along the MacLehose Trail. Tai Long Wan Considered one of the most beautiful bays in all of Hong Kong, but again takes determination to get to as it\u2019s a bit of a hike (almost 45 minutes) and an all-day trip. Access: To make the journey easier, take a taxi from Sai Kung Town to the Sai Wan Pavilion, and then follow the trail down to Sai Wan beach, and continue along the path, passing Ham Tin and Tai Wan beaches along the way. A word of warning about Hong Kong beaches Hong Kong is, of course, highly urbanised, and with this comes a fair amount of water pollution. Nonetheless, the beaches are nice to visit, even if just to sit by the sand and relax. The more remote beaches to the east are a lot cleaner than the ones closer to the city. The government does not recommend that people swim in any Hong Kong beaches after a heavy rainfall due to run off. Check out the GovHK website for full details on beach water quality. For more ideas on how to cool off, see our Hong Kong summer activities guide.