Aside from a half-dozen or so oft-visited isles, most of Hong Kong’s 263 islands are actually deserted or uninhabited.
One of the more well-known is Yim Tin Tsai, an island east of Sai Kung. But it wasn’t always so empty. Yim Tin Tsai was home to over 1,000 Hakka people in the 19th century. But as the Hong Kong economy took off in the late 1980s, all of the villagers moved elsewhere around Hong Kong, as well as overseas to places like Britain and Portland, in search for better job opportunities.
Today it’s as if the island has been frozen in time. All that remains are abandoned and surreal buildings, some feel haunted with everyday items like laundry hanging up to dry and mahjong tiles ready to play.
Aside from the ghost villages, there are other reasons to visit Yim Tin Tsai: it is one of the first places in the city to have embraced Catholicism, and the recently restored St. Joseph’s Chapel, a Grade III historic building, is quite the sight.
Get there: Hop on to the ferry between Sai Kung Pier and Yim Tin Tsai, only available on weekends and public holidays.