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Cheung Chau - Cheung Chau is a small island about ten kilometers southwest of Hong Kong Island. Be charmed by this old fishing village island that offers great food, ambience and a taste of Hong Kong's old fishing culture. Beaches offer relaxation and swimming; or hike around the island. It is a charming place that takes you away from the stress in the city.
The smell of salt water is hanging in the air as we arrive at the pier. The harbor is full of fishing boats and junks with their families. They are still making their daily bread from seafood they sell at the pier or to one of the many seafood restaurants along the sea shore. This is Cheung Chau, one of Hong Kong's most popular islands among both locals and tourists. It is quite clear we are not the only ones wanting to see this fascinating island that offers great seafood, nice beaches and good trails. But don't let the hordes of people scare you off. It creates a great atmosphere with the bustling of people all wanting to eat at the same time.
After a nice stroll along the narrow lanes looking at one of the many pleasant shops or visiting the beach, the local cuisine is highly recommendable. The sea food is fresh out of the ocean and delicious. We tried vegetable cod with black pepper sauce, steamed prawn with garlic, and fried squid with celery at one of the small local restaurants by the shore.
Cheung Chau means"long island" in Cantonese. It is a small island about 30-55 minutes from Central by ferry. It is shaped like a dumbbell. It is one of Hong Kong's longest inhabited islands, and it has about 30,000 inhabitants. However, this number grows on weekends and holidays as this picturesque island is one of Hong Kong's most popular for visitors.
This charming island has a lot more to offer than just fishing boats and sea food. Cheung Chau is great for a leisurely walks. There are numerous trails around the island doable for both children and adults. As several of the trails go by beaches, temples and other interesting sights worth seeing, this makes it a memorable trip for everyone.
The main beach is only a five minute walk from the ferry pier, and it is a popular destination for many during the summer time. However, if you are tired of lying on the beach, there are more exciting things to do. The former Hong Kong Olympic medalist in windsurfing Lee Lai Shan has her own place where you can rent boards for windsurfing. There are also places to rent both canoes and bikes for those wanting a different option.
Cheung Chau was also a hideout for local pirates. Evidence of this can even be found even today. Why not hire a small sampan and take a tour out to the Cheung Po Tsai Cave. It can be accessed both from land and sea. Sampans are easy to hire around the ferry pier.
Cheung Chau is also the host for the popular Bun Festival that takes place in the end of April or the beginning of May. Every year, thousands of people come to partake in this traditional event.
If you want to stay for longer than just a day, Cheung Chau offers several hotels and guest houses. You can either pre-book or reserve a hotel room from one of the many boats next to the ferry pier. There is also a Christian retreat center on the island.
To the north of the island, there is a much bigger island called Lantau Island. However, it doesn't have very many more people living there. Lantau is great for long-distance hiking and climbing bigger mountains. The village of Tai O is also known for its seafood.
Getting to the island from Central District on Hong Kong Island is easy. There is frequent ferry service throughout the day. There are both fast and slow ferries. Prices range from about 12 HKD to 32 HKD depending on the type of ferry and the day of the week. Sunday and holiday prices are higher.