Aberdeen, is known as the original location of ‘Hong Kong’. Located on the Southside of Hong Kong Island, a 20-minute drive from Central. Named after the 4th Earl of Aberdeen in Scotland, it also happens to be the first landing site of the British into Hong Kong.
Brimming with character, it is well worth taking a few hours to wander around this fishing village. Home to 80,000 people, many of which reside on houseboats in the harbour.
On the waterfront promenade sits the Aberdeen Fish Market. This wholesale market is a hive of activity, starting way before dawn and responsible for one-third of Hong Kong’s total fish catch. The majority of the Market is commercial, however, you can poke your head in to check out today’s catch. Quite interesting for the young ones.
You can't visit the Aberdeen Marina without a ride on a Sampan
By far the main adventure there is a Sampan ride through the Aberdeen Marina. A Sampan is a flat bottomed wooden boat, originally lived on by fishing families. Now they are mainly used as water taxis.
There are a long line of operators here at the Aberdeen Promenade – most of which are friendly elderly folk – from which to choose from. Be sure to barter hard though as the asking prices start around $100 per person. With a bit of haggling, depending on demand, you should be able to get this down to between $25-$40pp for 30 minutes.
Float past the iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Jump onboard one of these characteristic boats to check out the rich diversity of the Marina. You’ll find a bizarre mix of rustic houseboats, through to the toys of the mega-wealthy. The ride will take you past the currently defunct Jumbo Floating Restaurant. Once one of the most famous icons of Hong Kong, featured in many Hong Kong movies, is now closed indefinitely due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Opened by Billionaire Stanley Ho in 1976, (after the original burnt down in 1971). The restaurant was designed and built to look like a Chinese imperial palace.
Be sure to check out the back of this floating icon on the way back to the Marina. The back side is where the living quarters of the staff were, so very different from the front!
Finish up with a stroll and feed in Aberdeen
The kids will be buzzing by now, having gorged their senses with all the Marina has to offer. Should their tummies be rumbling, the options are to check out the very local and authentic Seafood restaurant in the Fish Market or wander over the Highway into Aberdeen Town. There are plenty of good options there, one of my favs’s being Crystal Jade for Dim Sum (in Aberdeen Centre), or Cafe Whale (in Abba Arcade) for a quirky burger.
Now that you know the area, keep it in mind for the start or finish point for a Lamma Island Hike. Ferries run reasonably frequently from the Aberdeen Marina.