When I visited Hong Kong earlier this year, I was not surprised to be met with skyscrapers, swarms of people everywhere I went, and more shops and restaurants around than you can dream of. It was exhilarating and it was also exhausting. Luckily, I had a local friend whisk me away on an overnight trip to the little island of Cheung Chau.
Cheung Chau, in contrast to the bustling city, is nothing like you imagine Hong Kong to be. It is quiet, it is quaint. People are in no rush. The unique culture is very much alive and can be felt everywhere you go. The dwellings stop at 3 or 4 stories high. There are beaches and walking paths with no-one else around. Although worlds apart, it draws many parallels to the little island of IlhaBela in Brazil. In short: if you want peace in Hong Kong, go to Cheung Chau.
If you’re not sure whether to include Cheung Chau in your Hong Kong itinerary, I would highly recommend it. Not only is it beautiful, but it is unique in so many ways.
Some Interesting Facts about Cheung Chau
- There are no cars on Cheung Chau. Most people get around by bicycle.
- Cheung Chau has a traditional bun festival celebrated every year on the 8th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar. This involves building 60ft high “bun mountains” and a race to the top.
- Cheung Chau is one of the longest inhabited islands of Hong Kong.
Convinced you yet? Here’s your guide to Cheung Chau with everything you need to know before you visit:
How to get to Cheung Chau
You can take a ferry from Hong Kong island ferry terminal. Simply go to the terminal and look on the signs to find out which wharf the Cheung Chau ferry departs from. The tickets can be purchased from the terminal itself. Ferries usually run every half hour or so.
The ferry ride itself is fairly quick – it takes around 45 minutes.
What to eat in Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau is bustling with food stalls almost everywhere you go near the main town, so it won’t be hard to find somewhere good to eat for most.
As a vegetarian, Hong Kong wasn’t the easiest place for me to find food. But Cheung Chau is different. They have an annual tradition where the whole island goes vegetarian for three whole days (during the famous Cheung Chau bun festival). There is a shop in the town with a full variety of frozen vegetarian “meats”.
There are vegetable markets, meat & fish markets, snack stalls, restaurants, cafés and dessert joints all around the town, so it’s easy to find something to eat.
If you do get lost for where to eat in Cheung Chau, there’s even a McDonald’s.
Where to stay in Cheung Chau
Before we came, I was looking for accommodation in Cheung Chau but couldn’t find a single listing on Air BnB, Booking.com, Hostel world, or any other traditional accommodation website. I was starting to doubt my local friend and wonder if Cheung Chau really even existed.
Turns out, there is a website specifically for booking accommodation within Hong Kong, called Holimood. If you want to stay overnight in Cheung Chau, use that website to book your stay. You can change the language to English if you don’t know Chinese.
It was awesome to spend a night in this island and if you have time, do it! That being said, the island is small and a day trip is also totally possible to see most of what it has to offer.
What to do in Cheung Chau
Walking trails in Cheung Chau
If you like the outdoors, you’ll love Cheung Chau. The island basically has three points going in different directions. So there are three main walking trails in Cheung Chau.
- Pak Tiu Pagoda
There is a slight hill on the northern side of the island which you can climb up. This will get you up to the highest point in Cheung Chau in about 30 minutes to an hour. There is a lookout and a view to the coast on one side, and the town on the other.
- Cheung Po Tsai Cave
This is a walkway around the rugged, rocky southwestern coastline which takes you to a cave which you have to go through. Climb down through the cave and then walk back along the rocks. It’s a cool experience and also has beautiful scenery. This takes around an hour/an hour and a half return.
- Mini Great wall
This is the longest walking trail in Cheung Chau and takes you along a long stretch of pavement, known as the ‘mini great wall’. It follows the southeastern coast, and will take you past a number of unique rock formations which are pointed out by signs as you go along. It is quite interesting as each rock is named after some item or animal, and sometimes you have to look quite hard to see the resemblance. Allow 3 hours return for this walk.
Things to do in Cheug Chau’s town centre
- Lock of love
Lock of Love is one of the many places around the world where couples leave memoirs and padlocks to commemorate their love for each other. It is a bright place with good vibes and if you look closely you will see heaps of sweet and inspirational messages and cute drawings etched on wood carvings and locks along the wall.
- Tung Wan Beach
For clear water, white sand, and stunning washed out boulders for character, go to the beach directly across from the pier which is where you get out of the ferry. This beach is gorgeous and in Summer it is perfect for swimming.
- Cheung Chau Pier
This little town is so vibrant and colourful, from its buildings to its boats, even to the colour of the water! The pier is an awesome place to hang out, grab some food and take in the jaw dropping views of the island.
- Kwan Kung Pavilion
Another fun thing to do in Cheung Chau is simply wander around. The little town is beautiful everywhere you turn and the cobblestone streets have their own unique charm. If you fancy a stroll around town, make sure you include the Kwan Kung Pavilion which is the peak of one of Cheung Chau’s many slopes.
- Pak Tai Temple
Paired with the adjoining courtyard, Pak Tai Temple is one of Hong Kong’s oldest temples. It is also one of the main ones in Cheung Chau. If you’re interested in Buddhism and Cheung Chau’s culture and history, be sure to check it out.
Have you ever been to Cheung Chau or are you planning to go? Let me know in the comments!
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