This tiny, charming island, a half-hour ferry ride west of Hong Kong, makes a great escape from the heat and hassles of the city, except maybe at weekends when everyone else has the same idea. The sense of an older, traditional Hong Kong is pervasive among the narrow streets, tiny shops and temples of this old pirate and fishing haven. It’s possible to see most of the island in a day, and there are some lovely secluded walks. The seafood is cheap and there are small but excellent stretches of beach.

  • Daily ferries hourly or half-hourly from Outlying Islands ferry piers

Paths and Walks

A footpath weaves around the southern edge of the island, taking in clifftop walks and a small Tin Hau Temple at the tiny Moring Beach. Heading southwest from here will take you along Peak Road past the cemetery to Sai Wan’s small harbour. From here you can take a sam-pan shuttle back to the ferry pier at Cheung Chau village.

To really nip around the island, hire a bicycle from opposite the basketball courts close to Pak Tai Temple.

Top 10 Sights
  1. Pak Tai Temple

    This recently renovated temple is dedicated to Pak Tai, Cheung Chau’s patron deity who is credited with saving islanders from plague. The temple is the centre for the annual bun festival celebrations , when mounds of buns are piled up to be offered to resident ghosts. The festival dates from the time of plagues in the 19th century, which were considered to be the vengeance of those killed by local pirates.

    Lion, Pak Tai Temple
  2. Harbour

    Although Hong Kong’s fishing industry has dwindled from its heyday, plenty of commercial fishing boats still operate from Cheung Chau’s typhoon shelter. Cheap cycle hire is available along the waterfront.

    Cheung Chau harbour
  3. Venerable Banyan Tree

    On Tung Wan Road is a tree that is thought to be the source of Cheung Chau’s good fortune. It is so revered by islanders that in recent years a restaurant opposite was knocked down instead of the tree to make way for a road extension.

  4. Tung Wan Beach

    The island’s finest beach is on the east coast, 150 m (500 ft) from the west coast’s ferry pier. It is tended by lifeguards and has a shark net.

  5. “The Peak”

    A walk up the hill along Don Bosco and Peak roads will take you past some lovely old colonial houses and beautiful sea views. The cemetery on Peak Road has especially fine vistas.

  6. Pirates Cave

    The place where a 19th-century buccaneer Cheung Po-tsai supposedly stashed his booty, this “cave” is more of a hole or crevice. Take a torch to explore. The sea views nearby are lovely.

  7. Windsurfing Centre

    The family of Olympic gold-medalist Lee Lai-Shan operates the windsurfing centre and café near Tung Wan.

  8. Boatbuilding Yard

    At the harbour’s northern end is a busy yard where junks are built and nets mended. Look out for the slabs of ice sliding along the overhead chute, down a mini-helter-skelter and onto the boats.

  9. Seafood Restaurants

    If you want to dine on fish or shellfish, there’s plenty of choice along the seafront on She Praya Road north and south of the ferry pier. The restaurants are cheaper than other seafood centres such as Lamma. Choose from the live tanks.

  10. Ancient Rock Carving

    In the Hong Kong region are several rock carvings in close proximity to the sea. Cheung Chau has one facing the sea just below the Warwick Hotel. Nothing is known of the people who carved these shapes about 3,000 years ago.

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