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Stanley Hong Kong is a somewhat famous tourist beachside town that is also one of Hong Kong's most affluent residential areas. Stanley is on the southern side of Hong Kong Island between two favorite tourist areas: Repulse Bay to the west and Shek O for outdoors and dining on the east. The scenery is beautiful, but Stanley is not suited for many tourists.
In general, it is not a place for Hong Kong bargain shopping, luxury shopping, nor for fashion. If you have been there before, say 10 years ago or more, Stanley Market Hong Kong has changed a lot. It is about 60 percent of its former size and the retail mix and shopping culture has changed.
What Stanley retains however is scenic seashore beauty, an affluent Western feel, good public beaches suitable for children, and shops and restaurants along a shoreline promenade you can walk along for an excursion.
Overall, it is suited for a visit of a few hours. We at China Highlights have put together some Stanley touring information, tips, and a Short (about 4 hour) Tour Plan including shopping tips and what there is to do in adjacent areas.
Stanley Hong Kong is a small town on a narrow bit of land between two big bays. So it is a town with two coasts, and there is good sea scenery on both sides.
Stanley is one of the most expensive residential areas of Hong Kong. So if you go there, you'll probably be around millionaires. It has two of the 40 public beaches of Hong Kong, and its little harbor hosts big Stanley International Dragon Boat races each summer.
It is popular with Mainland Chinese tourists who come for sightseeing and shopping mainly on weekends (especially Sunday) and holidays. It is an especially popular place for foreign tourists. Some cruise ship tour groups visit.
Clean beaches: The bays are on Hong Kong Island's southern coast and are out of the way of much of the water pollution from China. Of all the beaches with public facilities such as bathrooms and lifeguards, these are two of the cleaner ones. The lack of pollution is part of the reason for Stanley's popularity.
Stanley Market: Side by side stores line covered walkways that sell Chinese souvenirs, cheap jewelry, backpacks, paintings, and other things for tourists. About 20 to 40 percent of the shoppers might be non Chinese. You won't have problems speaking English. It is one of the best places to shop in Hong Kong if you just want to browse and enjoy some convenient tourist shopping.
Other than the beaches, seashore scenery and Stanley Market, we recommend the Promenade on the western side of the town and Murray House. Hiking Wilson Trail Stage 1 over to Repulse Bay is a great excursion for an hour, and if you are there during the Tuen Ng Festival in the summer, you can watch the Dragon Boat Races at Stanley Main Beach.
You'll probably only spend four hours or less there. In the summer and early fall you could swim, but the water is too cold for most people in the winter. We suggest arrive in the morning, enjoy a lunch, sightsee some, and then consider going on to adjacent areas as suggested below.
Arrive when stores open: A good time to arrive are when the shops open at about 10:30. To avoid crowds, try to avoid weekends and holidays, and if you go in the summer, in July, August or the beginning of September, realize the beaches might have a lot of students on vacation, so you could perhaps go out to the beach in the morning before the crowds arrive.
Avoid the rush hour traffic: On weekday workdays, the morning rush hour extends from about 6:30 to 9:30 in the morning. By arriving at 10:30, you'll be able to avoid the crowded transport.
Public transport: For public transport, we recommend taking the MTR to Admiralty (or Central) and then taking a bus to Stanley. The transfer station for the Tsuen Wan Line (through Tsim Sha Tsui) and the Island Line (from Central Station) is Admiralty Station. However taxis from Central are relatively quick. See the Travel Essentials information below.
Bus: For Stanley, Bus 6, 6A, 6X (express), or 260 go to Stanley from the Central Exchange Square Bus Terminus. The terminus is near MTR Hong Kong Station Exit D. But for faster transport, if you can, take 6, 6A or 6X from Admiralty MTR Station, Exit C1. To see some scenery, take 6 since it goes on Repulse Bay Road. The 6A and 6X go through the Aberdeen Tunnel.
Best bus views: Try to sit on the top deck on the left side and in the front when you go there, and coming back, sit at the top front right side.
Bus fare is about 10.60 HKD. Alight when you reach Stanley Market (at Stanley Village bus stop). Many people will probably get off there with you. Cross the road and walk down the slope to the market.
China Highlights' agents can help with purchases and private transport. We can facilitate a whole Half-Day Hong Kong Island Tour — covering the highlights of Hong Kong Island such as Stanley, Ocean Park and Victoria Peak. You tell us your ideas, and we will create a tour including Stanley suited for you. We can accommodate you by assisting your Hong Kong visit in other ways according to your plans. We take care of the tickets and transportation.
We highly suggest that purchase an Octopus card before you arrive in Stanley for added convenience and to avoid lines on transportation.
Octopus cards: Hong Kong is fairly unique in the world because you can purchase a Octopus card that allows quick and easy payments for public transport and many other things such as paying for purchases at supermarkets, convenience stores, and restaurants.
With the card, you can travel without standing in line to buy tickets. Simply swipe you cards as you go, and your fare is deducted electronically. You can buy these at the MTR station ticket windows and then use them for more convenience to pay for things in Temple Street.
No ID is required to buy one, and you can add money as you wish and return the card to a station window for some money back.
Market location and hours: The market is located on Stanley Market Road and most stores are open from about 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. Other than the opening before tourists arrive, another optimal time is after lunchtime when Chinese are resting. It isn't an outdoors street market, but covered, so rain isn't a problem.
Secure against pickpockets and robbers. Make sure people can't snatch your bags or belongings as you walk and when you sit down to eat.
Not for serious shopping: Remember that the market is mainly meant for tourists and for convenience and having a good quick visit. The store keepers often won't bargain with you, and the market isn't for bargain shopping. For information about the best places for shopping for different kinds of products, see The Top 8 Shopping Areas in Hong Kong.
After shopping and/or the beach, we suggest have lunch or refreshments, and then do some sightseeing. The promenade and Murray House are two options about what to do after lunch. Other options include the Old Police Station that isn't actually so interesting since it has been converted to a supermarket. There are small malls and a park as well.
That would end a several hour visit of Stanley. But you could spend the afternoon in nearby Shek O or Repulse Bay as suggested below.
Wilson Trail Stage 1: After a lunch for fueling up, filling up with water, and getting water and some food for the walk, you could walk over to Repulse Bay and enjoy a rest and dinner there, and if you wish, continue another half hour or so along an easy coastal pedestrian walk to Deep Water Bay. If you choose to go there, you could book a dinner seat at one of the good restaurants to enjoy an evening meal when the scenery and sunsets are beautiful. We can help with reservations.
Solar radiation warning: There is little shade or tree cover during this hike over the mountain. If you have light skin and are not used being under the semitropical sun, definitely cover up, wear a hat, etc. Make sure you take plenty of water. There is no water along the way.
Route to Repulse Bay: From the Stanley Gap Road in between Stanley and Repulse Bay, take the Wilson Trail up the more than 1,300 steps! It is considered a difficult section of the trail, but once on the top, the scenery is wonderful, and the whole hike can be done in an about hour or two hours depending on your fitness and how long you stop to rest.
When you reach Tsin Shui Wan Au, turn left and hike down to Repulse Bay.
Optional shoreline walk: From Repulse Bay, you could continue your walk over to less crowded Deep Water Bay along the pedestrian walkway Seaview Promenade in about an hour or less depending on how fast you go.
Repulse Bay Beach is smaller and less popular with tourists. But locals love it as a place for bar-b-ques with good public facilities such as bathrooms and showers. You might want to spend the afternoon there and then go back to Repulse Bay for dinner or The Pulse mall for luxury shopping. Buses run between Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay and Stanley for quicker transport.
Transport back: To get back to Central from Deep Water Bay, the bus takes about 20 minutes (about 7 HKD).
The famous Dragon's Back Trail and two of Hong Kong's 10 Best Beaches are at Shek O: Shek O Big Wave Bay Beach and Shek O Beach. Big Wave Bay Beach is a popular, big and somewhat wild surfers' beach. Shek O Beach is quite a contrast because it is sheltered in a little bay. It is a good place to take children and is protected by shark nets and lifeguards.
Transport: From Stanley, you can take a public bus to Shek O. You could also walk there.
Dinner in Shek O: The beach restaurants at Shek O Beach might be a fine way to end your day with a seafood meal.
September to November are good months for a visit to Stanley. To avoid crowds but still enjoy summer weather, try to go in September after schools begin in the first week of September. September is rainier than the rest of the fall. It generally remains warm and dry in Hong Kong in October through the beginning of November, and the water stays warm enough for swimming. December's weather is usually sunny and dry too. Some people still swim in December.
We recommended that you avoid China's National Day (October 1st to 7th) when a large number of tourists go there from mainland China.
Mass Transit Railway (MTR): For Stanley, Bus 6, 6A, 6X (express), or 260 go to Stanley from the Exchange Square Bus Terminus. The terminus is near MTR Hong Kong Station Exit D. But for faster transport, if you can, take 6, 6A or 6X from Admiralty MTR Station, Exit C1.
Taxi: From Central, taxis go to Stanley in about 17 minutes, and the price starts at about 20 USD. From Causeway Bay, the taxi fare is about 18 USD, and the ride takes about 15 minutes.
Lifeguards are on duty from March through November for Stanley Main Beach and from April to October for St. Stephen's Beach.
Public facilities such as the showers and bathrooms are good and free for the public to use.
We could provide private drivers for your trip to Stanley and surrounding areas.
Stanley is a place you can go with your children. Please feel free to contact us if you want to include Stanley in your Hong Kong tour.
We can design a tour that combines visiting Stanley with Ocean Park and other highlights in Hong Kong that you specify.
Here are two Hong Kong day tours related to the area around Stanley for your reference:
Tung Wan Beach on Ma Wan Island is a small and clean beachfront area with restaurants that we recommend is better suited for small children.