Go Cheung Chau!

This is what is written on the sign by the ferry pier to Cheung Chau Island in Central, Hong Kong. It always makes me smile! I think it’s just a literal translation from the Chinese, and just means something like ‘go to Cheung Chau from here’.

Cheung Chau is a really nice place to spend a day. It doesn’t take long to get to from Central (pier number 5), although it depends on whether you take a fast ferry or a normal one. The normal one takes about 50 minutes and feels like it goes incredibly slowly! The fast one takes about 30 minutes. I think they roughly alternate, but I tend to just catch the next one that is leaving and have to put up with it if it’s a slow one!

Cheung Chau Island is very close to Lantau Island. It’s a really funny shape with a very narrow part in the middle and then a much wider part at the top and bottom. I’m afraid I can’t think of a better way to describe it! The main town straddles the narrow part, and your ferry will land on one side, in amongst all the fishing boats. On the other side is a beach. I’ve only been there when it’s been pretty quiet but I reckon it gets very busy in summer! The town is really nice and laid back, especially once you walk about 5-10 minutes away from the ferry pier and escape all the other tourists. It doesn’t feel like Hong Kong, more like a holiday seaside town. Near the ferry pier are many touristy shops, the usual dried seafood sellers (smelly!) and little cafes.

Cheung Chau Island

This photo is from the north side of Cheung Chau, looking back over the town. You can clearly see the beach side from here and all the boats in the harbour on the other side.

The north side of the island has some nice views, like this one, and on a clear day also out towards Hong Kong island (it wasn’t a clear day when we went!). To walk around this side of the island, turn left when leaving the ferry pier and keep going for 5-10 minutes until you get to the Pak Tin Temple playground. Walk round the playground and stop for a brief look at the temple. To the left of the temple is a path leading upwards, follow this to the lookout spots. You can then take a path for a short walk around the north side of the island and back into town.

I have to admit that I prefer to go the other way and turn right out of the ferry pier. Keep following the path by the waterside and you walk around the bottom of the main harbour. The boats (and people!) thin out and you get views like this:

Fishing boats at Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau port

Dragon boat training on Cheung Chau

You can see some dragon boat training in the last photo – it’s really popular here in Hong Kong and people train for months in order to do a few short races during dragon boat season (which I think is in May or June). It’s really hard work – definitely doesn’t appeal to me!

Anyway, keep following the path until you come to the end of the esplanade (after about 20-30 minutes) and you can take a smaller path straight on which is signposted to another temple, or you can turn right and go up inland. I’d recommend you go inland. This path is usually very quiet. You walk through houses for about 5 minutes and then you are in the woods on the back of the island. After another couple of minutes, there’s a turning to the right – take this and follow the path down to Italian beach, which is a nice and often very quiet spot.

Italian beach, Cheung Chau

After you’ve sat on the rocks or the beach for a while, head back to the main path and continue on your way and have fun wandering the paths of the back of the island and the quieter high areas of the town. There are many routes to take and places to explore, and periodically there are signposts telling you where you are. I often wander for 30 minutes to an hour and finish up on the main beach. A very pleasant way to spend a day!

Do you have any more recommendations for things to see or do on Cheung Chau? Please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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