TAIPEI, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Typhoon Saola began brushing by the southern tip of Taiwan on Wednesday bringing heavy rain and winds causing some travel disruption though it is not expected to make direct landfall.

Taiwan has issued land and sea warnings for the storm, with ferry services and flights to several offshore islands and the southeastern city of Taitung cancelled.

The heaviest rain will fall along mountainous and sparsely populated parts of Pingtung county in the far south, where classes and work have been suspended on Wednesday in some townships, as well as up Taiwan's east coast.

After passing through the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines the typhoon will head towards southern China's Guangdong province and Hong Kong, according to the Tropical Storm Risk website.

China has already taken action, calling fishing boats back to ports along the southeastern coast as gale force winds and gusts whip across the South China Sea.