Cheung Chau Island Day Trip
Cheung Chau Island seems a world away from the towering buildings and crowded streets of Kowloon. However, the ferry to this little island takes only 45 minutes from the city center.
Cheung Chau Island is a small fishing village located between Hong Kong and mainland China. It is part of the area known as the Outlying Islands. including other islands like Peng Chau, Lantau, and Lamma Island.
There are no cars on Cheung Chau island, instead, people get around on foot or bicycle. The tallest building you will find is probably four stories high, and the pace of life is considerably slower than Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
Here are a few of my favorite things to do on a day trip to Cheung Chau Island. If you can’t fit them all in one day, no worries, just make another trip back over here.
1. Walk Around the Harbour
The harbor area on the west coast one of the busiest spots on Cheung Chau Island. The harbor runs south from the Cheung Chau Ferry Pier to the fire station on the corner. However, when I say busy it is still nothing compared to Kowloon busy.
As you explore the harbor you’ll notice the boats which sit idle in the bay. Along the coast, you’ll see men fishing, working on their boats, or just relaxing with their dog. In the afternoon you
2. Wander through the market
Tay San Praya Road is located on street back off the coast from the ferry pier. Here you will find a lively street filled with lots of small stores and vendors.
Buildings are squeezed together tightly, separated only by a 2-meter wide concrete path. Hardly wide enough to fit two passing motorbikes down side by side. None reach taller than three or four floors and most is left open creating a welcoming community space.
The most common sight here is small groups of people gathering around a table filled with beer bottles. They drink Tsingtao and Blue Girl, the local brews. The occasional eruption of laughter and clapping they are obviously having fun.
3. Visit a Tea House
A group of elderly men crowds around a table in an open shophouse, they are playing Mahjong. A little further along we pass the lively Hong Kong Jockey Club, where locals bet their fortunes on the horses at Happy Valley Racecourse.
At the end of the street, I find what I’m looking for. There is a small shophouse stacked with wooden shelving containing bright red and gold packets, and an assortment of handcrafted teapots.
As I step into a welcoming young man named Andrew enters from the back room. He is slightly surprised to see two westerners in his shop. Before we can ask about his products, we are welcomed over for a pot of tea. We will accept this offer as we sit down by an ornate handcrafted wooden tea table.
Andrew tells us he was born on Cheung Chau Island but grew up in the high rise city of Kowloon. After school, he traveled to China in search of the best teas. When returning to Hong Kong he decided that Cheung Chau Island would be home. An opportunity to escape the busy city and start his young family.
We talk about cultural differences and various teas Asia has to offer for almost two hours. It is a truly rewarding experience.
4. Go to the Beach
There are a couple of beaches on the east coast of Cheung Chau island. The largest is Tung Wan Beach which is almost 1 kilometer long, and quite popular with windsurfers. You will find lots of small shops, restaurants, and guesthouses along Tung Wan Beach.
Another more secluded option is Tung Wan Tsai, also called Coral Beach. This is located to the north of Tung Wan Beach and is accessible by a walking trail. There might be a few bits of coral around, but don’t expect to see too much of it.
5. Fill up on Dim Sum
In the search for dinner, we discover a small Dim Sum shop. The menu is all in traditional Chinese and we are completely at a loss.
Noticing the confused westerners the store owner quickly assists. We order an assortment of cha siw bao steamed buns filled with roast pork, lung kong chicken steamed chicken topped with a tasty garlic dressing, minced prawn wontons and a healthy serving of water spinach drizzled in a soy-based sauce.
The huge meal costs only 60 HKD (about 9 USD) for two.
Riding the ferry back to Hong Kong Island I think how Cheung Chau really is in a time capsule. It has withheld the force of mass development and has retained character.
While many other old towns feel like theme parks, Cheung Chau Island is still a proper livable village. It houses real people with interesting stories to share.
How to Get to Cheung Chau Island
Getting to the island is easy with the Cheung Chau ferry. Head to the central ferry pier number 5 on Hong Kong Island.
The Chueng Chau ferry departs every half hour from 4am to midnight.
The fast ferry service costs HDK24.6 one way. The slow ferry service costs HKD12.6 one way. There is a surcharge on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Useful Hong Kong links:
Hong Kong Travel Guide