Hong Kong's Top 10 : Stanley

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Originally a sleepy fishing haven, Stanley was the largest settlement on Hong Kong Island before the British moved in. The modern town, hugging the southern coast, still makes a peaceful, pleasant escape from the bustle of the city. Traffic is minimal, and the pace of life relaxed, with plenty of excellent places to eat, good beaches and a large market to search for clothes, silks and souvenirs. Stanley is also the place to glimpse colonial Hong Kong and an older Chinese tradition seen at the Tin Hau Temple.
  • Buses 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 from Central

Stanley market

  • 9am–6pm daily

The War Dead

After Japan overran Hong Kong in 1941 , captured civilians suffered for three years under a regime of neglect, starvation and torture. The remains of thousands of servicemen and civilians who died here during the war are buried at Stanley cemetery.

If you hate crowds, avoid Stanley at weekends when the town and market become very busy and the buses to and from Central fill up.

Sit at the front of the top deck of the bus to fully appreciate the dramatic coast road out to Stanley.

For great al fresco dining, El Cid in the Murray building offers good tapas and the best views.

Top 10 Sights
  1. Market

    Reasonably priced clothes, shoes and accessories as well as plenty of tourist tat are to be found among Stanley’s pleasant, ramshackle market stalls. Although it’s not the cheapest or best market in Hong Kong, you may as well potter among the hundred or so stalls before heading to a café or one of the seafront eateries.

    Stanley market
  2. Murray House

    This venerable Neo-Classical relic dating from 1843, originally served as British Army quarters on the site now occupied by the Bank of China Tower in Central. It was dismantled and reassembled here and now houses a number of restaurants.

    Murray Building
  3. Old Police Station

    The handsome building was built in 1859 and is Hong Kong’s oldest surviving police station building. The Japanese used it as a head-quarters during World War II. Today it houses a restaurant.

  4. Waterfront

    The pretty waterfront makes a pleasant promenade between the market area and Murray House. The harbour was once home to a busy fleet of junks and fishing boats, but is now empty.

  5. Stanley Beach

    This fine stretch of sand is perfect for a dip and a paddle. It’s the venue for the fiercely contested dragon boat races in June when the beach fills with competitors and revellers.

  6. Tin Hau Temple

    Lined with the grimacing statues of guards to the sea goddess Tin Hau, the gloomy interior of this temple is one of the most evocative in Hong Kong. It’s also one of the oldest Tin Hau temples in the region, dating back to 1767.

  7. War Cemetery

    Most of the graves are the resting place of residents who died during World War II. Others date back to early colonial days, when many settlers, young and old, succumbed to a range of tropical illnesses.

  8. Stanley Fort

    The old British army barracks at the end of the peninsula is now occupied by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (closed to public).

  9. St Stephen’s Beach

    Another good stretch of sand, St Stephen’s is also the place for sailing and canoeing. The small pier is the departure point for the Sunday boat bound for the remote island of Po Toi.

  10. Pubs and Restaurants

    One of Stanley’s best attractions is its excellent range of restaurants and bars . A host of eateries, from Italian to Vietnamese, are lined along Stanley Main Road, facing the sea, many with out-door seating. Murray House also contains good restaurants.

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