Fancy an adventure? Then why not escape the metropolis and check out what’s going on over on the idyllic island of Cheung Chau. This fishing community may be small, but there are plenty of things to do. It’s home to the world famous Bun Festival, as well as Hong Kong’s first Olympic gold medalist. From walks and hikes to hiring bikes – it’s the perfect place for an active, feel-good weekend away from the city.
How to Get There
Photo courtesy of New World First Ferry Services Limited
Ferries to Cheung Chau run from Central Pier 5 at all hours of the day. Standard ferries take about one hour, whereas the fast ferries cut the travel time to 40 minutes (click here to see the schedule). If your four-legged friend is joining you on your day trip, you’ll have to take the slower, standard ferry.
What to do
As the main mode of transportation on this vehicle-free island, you will have no problem finding somewhere to pick up your own set of wheels for the day. With no motorised vehicles, bar a fire engine and ambulance, pedalling your way around the island is a stress-free way to see the sights. If you’re feeling strong, you could tackle a tricycle with two of your pals in tow on the backseat bench. Rentals generally clock in at around $10 per hour, with discounted daily rates, a deposit, and small, extra charges for helmets and locks.
As a relatively flat island, touring Cheung Chau by foot is enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities. There are a number of routes which encompass various sights, and all of which boast breathtaking views of the water. Coasting the south west of the island, the Cheung Chau Family Walk can be found to the right of the ferry exit. Along the way, you will stumble upon Italian Beach, Cheung Po Tsai Cave, Reclining Rock, and Tin Hau Temple. As indicated by the name, this two-hour route isn’t too strenuous and perfect for a family outing.
For a slightly bigger serving of unusual rockery, walk straight ahead out of the ferry exit, turn right onto Cheung Chau Beach Road, and head to the south-east of the island. The Mini Great Wall Trail encompasses a whole range of oddly shaped (and imaginatively named) stones, including Loaf Rock, Human Head Rock, and Vase Rock.
Photo courtesy of Warwick Hotel
The Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre (CCWC) is the go-to for getting out on the high seas. Whether you fancy a scenic trip out on a double kayak, testing your balance on a stand-up paddleboard, or giving windsurfing a whirl, CCWC has got you sorted. Hong Kong’s gold medalist, windsurfer Lee Lai-shan, did train there after all. Equipment rental varies between $120 and $180 per hour, with additional costs for harnesses and wetsuits checking in at around $25 to $35, plus a $500 deposit.
Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre, 1 Hak Pai Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 8316
Small, secluded beaches can be found all around the small island of Cheung Chau, and are relatively easy to stumble upon by tapping into your inner adventurer. If you are looking for beaches with facilities, such as changing rooms and equipment hire, then these are the places you want to go.
Photo courtesy of Warwick Hotel
Tung Wan and Kwun Yam
A hub of aquatic sports, Kwun Yam Beach is a popular choice for sun-worshippers and watersports enthusiasts alike. It is where Hong Kong’s only Olympic gold medalist, windsurfer Lee Lai Shan, used to train after all! The neighbouring Tung Wan beach is the top choice for those with their hearts set on a mini staycation during the scorching summer months With a refreshment kiosk, changing rooms, and full bathroom facilities, there is everything you need for a full day of beach fun. So, if surfing the waves and catching some rays are your priorities, then Tung Wan and Kwun Yam are the beaches for you.
Cheung Chau Beach Road and Hak Pai Road, Cheung Chau
Read more! Check out The Coolest Outdoor Pools in Hong Kong.
Photo courtesy of Warwick Hotel
One word to describe the Bun Festival? Quirky. The whole island (even the McDonald’s!) goes vegetarian, kids are dressed to resemble ancient Chinese effigies, people fight for… buns? Amidst the vibrant parades, traditional lion dances, and martial arts and operatic performances, twelve contestants will scale a 14-meter high tower adorned with 9,000 imitation buns as the clock strikes midnight. The aim of this rather unusual game is to collect as many buns as possible in three minutes, ideally those higher up which are worth more precious points, in pursuit of the title King of Kings, Queen of Queens, or Full Pockets of Lucky Buns. Where can we sign up?!
27 April to 1 May 2020
Dragon Boat Festival
Definitively more sport-focused than some of Hong Kong’s other Dragon Boat Festivals, this festival is a no-frills affair. Tuck into traditional treats including zongzi (rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves), at the Cheng Chau Typhoon Shelter as you watch the paddlers battle it out on the water.
25 June 2020, Cheung Chau Typhoon Shelter
Read more! Learn more about the Bun Scrambling Competition.
If some hearty European food is what you’re after, then Eggenberg is the perfect place to tuck in. With a friendly team of staff to welcome you through the door, this Austrian-German café, bar, and restaurant have a varied menu to cater for all taste buds. Expect classics including burgers and seafood, alongside speciality German Spiral Sausage and Pork Knuckle. Fancy an in-house tipple? Sip on the exclusive Sexy Cheung Chau cocktail.
Eggenberg, 80 Tung Wan Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2986 9990
With a picturesque view of the ocean from the private terrace and the visual entertainment of those trying their luck at watersports, the Outdoor Cafe at the Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre is a tasty place to spend your afternoon. If Western food is what you’re hungering for, then look no further. Fish and seafood are the natural choices when on the island, so check out the range of tapas ($46 – $72), and tuck into their international mains ($78 – $94). There are, of course, meat and vegetarian options for those who aren’t so keen on treats from the ocean. Oh, and did someone say cocktails…?
Outdoor Cafe, 1 Hak Pai Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 8316
Pak She Praya Road (Seafood Street)
When you’re ready for a more substantial meal, you need to get yourself straight down to Pak She Praya Road – also known as Seafood Street. Turning left out of the ferry pier, you’ll come across a bustling selection of harbourside seafood restaurants. Fresh produce is the order of the day, every day, thanks to the local fishermen. For around $100-150 per head, your table will be overflowing with scallops, shrimps, clams, rice, and crab. Expect big, round, tables, delicious sharing plates, and ice cold beer as the sun sinks below the horizon.
While you can’t go wrong with any of the alfresco seafood options, head to So Bor Kee, a beloved spot by locals and tourists alike. Another authentic experience can be found two doors down at New Baccarat, which also serves up fresh seafood from their bubbling tanks. The best part? Both So Bor Kee and New Baccarat have bilingual menus, as well as the friendliest staff.
So Bor Kee, G/F, 11C, Pak She Praya Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 0998
New Baccarat, 9A Pak She Praya Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 0606
The Pink Pig
If you like your meals served with a side portion of music, then The Pink Pig Music Bar and Restaurant is your perfect match. Blues and acoustic performances by local bands will often be filling the air with music outside, as guests kick back with drinks and delicious dishes such as big bowls of pasta, pulled pork sandwiches, and homemade desserts. Maybe you’ll be grabbing the mic after a glass or two of wine!
The Pink Pig, G/F, 11 Kin San Lane, Cheung Chau | (+852) 5180 0692
Photo courtesy of Warwick Hotel
Kwok Kam Kee Cake Shop
Home to the famous “ping on baos” (peace buns) at the heart of the Bun Festival, Kwok Kam Kee is a must for anyone visiting Cheung Chau. Massive bamboo steamers line the shop, and revellers line the street outside to get their hands on a warm lucky bun. The fluffy white buns are traditionally filled with red bean or lotus-seed paste, and stamped in red with the Chinese characters for peace (平安). You can’t miss it!
Kwok Kam Kee Cake Shop, 46 Pak She Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 9841 5683
Kam Wing Tai Fishballs
Kam Wing Tai has been serving up fishballs to Cheung Chau natives and tourists alike for over 40 years. Conveniently located just across the ferry pier, you can choose to have your fishballs deep fried, covered in sauce, or plain cooked in stock. Get a skewer of the legendary deep fried fishballs along with a cube-shaped option made from tofu.
Kam Wing Tai Fishballs, 106 San Hing St, Cheung Chau
Photo courtesy of Heima Heima via Facebook
Heima Heima is a true hidden gem, tucked away on Sai Wan at the far end of the island. You can choose to walk or bike along the scenic harbourfront, or catch a sampan to reach this minimalistic Japanese-inspired cafe. Heima Heima is a 1-woman show, a young mum serving up delicious Japanese tea, pour-over coffees, and homemade cakes. Take a sip of your tea, and kick back on the tatami amongst the handpicked artisan wall art and shelves of books
Heima Heima, G/F, No.25 Tsan Tuen Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 6078 3417
Photo courtesy of Valor via Instagram
Hipster outpost Valor specializes in hand drip coffee and insta-worthy coffee creations. Founded by a young Cheung Chau native, the coffee here is made with a lot of patience: it takes up to 8 hours to extract 1L of coffee essence, and another 1-2 days for the flavour to develop. Every sip should be savoured, so don’t take too long trying to snap the perfect pic of your seashell latte (a precarious but beautiful drink served in a seashell) or coconut ice drip coffee (served in a, you guessed it, whole coconut)!
Valor, 4 Sun Hing Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 6699 5892
Photo courtesy of Warwick Hotel
MORE street snacks
Cheung Chau is also famous for its iconic street snacks. We can’t think of anything better than a frozen watermelon slice (that’s bigger than your head!) on a hot summer day, or the ever-popular mango mochi filled with an entire quarter slice of mango. You’ll be able to find the huge watermelon slices at stalls right by the ferry pier, then you can explore the many different shops (frontrunners include Ping Kee and Wan Sing) that sell mango mochi as the jury is still out on which shop reigns supreme. Perfect excuse to try ’em all! We also love Island Brewery’s “potato tornados” – a 2-ft long stick of deep fried and spiralled potato goodness doused in your choice of seasoning. You’re outta luck if you want a beer to go with your potato stick though, as Island Brewery doesn’t serve brews, despite its name.
Wan Sing, 3 San Hing St, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 5032
Ping Kee, 19a Pak She Praya Rd, Cheung Chau | (+852) 5933 7160 | (+852) 3480 2771 (for bulk orders)
Island Brewery, 16 East Bay Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 9281 7755
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Cheung Po Tsai Cave
Ahoy me hearties, it’s time to pay a visit to the secret hideout of notorious 19th century pirate Cheung Po Tsai. Apparently inspiring the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End character, Sao Feng, Cheung was a powerful man and commander of many men and ships at the height of his influence – so the story goes. Down on the South West of the island, the rocky hole where Cheung used to store his treasures really comes alive when you share the tale with your friends. One can always hold out for discovering some of his forgotten jewels, right?
Love Lock Garden
Love is in the air in the Love Lock Garden (pictured) in Cheung Chau. Part of the quaint B&B Cheung Chau hotel, the garden is a place to express your love and affection for family, friends, and partners. Coloured locks and wooden hearts are sold in the hotel workshop- locks checking in at $40 and Austrian wooden hearts setting you back a little extra at $120. Decorate as you please, attach your creations to the wall, and Instagram away!
B&B Cheung Chau, 85 Tung Wan Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2986 9990
North Lookout Pavilion
Where better to admire the glistening waters surrounding Cheung Chau than from the highest point of the island? The tiny, picturesque pavilion is the perfect place to kick back, relax, and admire the view. Try your best to time your trip so you can catch the sunset – take our word on this one, you won’t regret it.
Cheung Chau Family Walk, Cheung Chau
If stone formations rock your world, then swing by Reclining Rock after you’ve checked out Cheung Po Tsai Cave. The reclining rock in question looks as though it’s perpetually on the verge of tipping over into the turquoise ocean. A thrilling sight.
West End, Cheung Chau
Kwan Kung Pavilion
This colourful temple is less than a 15 minute walk away from the pier. You’ll know you’ve found it when you spot a decadent incense burner adorned with gold dragons. Discover an eight-foot tall statue of an ancient Chinese General hidden inside, which was crafted entirely from a single tree.
Kwun Yam Wan Road, Cheung Chau
Pak Tai Temple
With traditional Chinese lion dogs guarding the entrance, this Grade 1 historical building was built back in 1783 in honour of Pak Tai, the Taoist God of the Sea. The Pak Tai Temple has contrasting stone walls and colourful roof tiles, and a whole host of treasures and antiques hidden within. A perfect photo spot!
Pak She Street, Cheung Chau
Tin Hau Temple
This tiny temple is thought to be around 200 years old, and was built in honour of the Goddess of the Sea. Housed within is a bronze bell which belongs to the Qianlong era of the 18th century. Those embarking upon the Cheung Chau Family Trail can swing by and take a look en route.
Sai Wan, Cheung Chau
Where to stay
B&B Cheung Chau
Fancy staying in a cosy bed and breakfast at great value? Book a room at B&B Cheung Chau. There are two locations on Cheung Chau, both offering clean rooms, a continental breakfast, and even creative workshops where you can make your own souvenirs!
B&B Cheung Chau, G/F, 83 Tung Wan Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2986 9990
Photo courtesy of Sai Yuen via Facebook
The Sai Yuen Farm will help you get back in touch with nature. An outdoor adventure concept on over 11 acres of secluded land, visitors can choose from 6 different types of camps to suit their needs, as well as join in on activities like a treetop canopy walk, jungle combat archery game, or a drumming workshop. The camping areas are themed, ranging from wild Native American teepees and African safari tents for the ultimate glamper. There’s something for everyone at Sai Yuen, and you can still go for fun (a day pass is $88) even if you’re not on a camping weekend.
Sai Yuen, 4 Tsan Tuen Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 1010
Photo courtesy of Warwick Hotel
Want to have a staycation on Cheung Chau in relative luxury? Warwick Hotel remains the first and only hotel on the chilled out island, with most rooms boasting an amazing view of the ocean. The 6-storey hotel was built in the 80’s and also offers 3 restaurants and a swimming pool. We love the quirky nautical themed Carribean Cabin suite, and the all-day dimsum at Bayview Restaurant.
Warwick Hotel, 86 Tung Wan Rd, Cheung Chau | (+852) 3176 6312
Another staycation options is to rent one of the many holiday homes that line Tung Wan Beach, infamous for its rumoured hauntings. Miami Resort is Cheung Chau’s largest licensed boutique accommodation, offering over 70 rooms catering to couples, families and groups. Summer rates go from $600 and up for a standard room, so remember to book in advance, or opt for a low-season visit when rates start at only $380.
Miami Resort, Block 12H, Bela Vista, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 7299
Where to shop
Photo courtesy of MyArts via Facebook
Cheung Chau is a small but vibrant artists hub, featuring many craft boutiques and artist workshops. Nitti Gritti is a small shop that’s only open on weekends, and sells a distinctively delightful collection of globally sourced items including homewares and jewelries. The shop owners handpick every item offered, with the hopes that it’ll make a customer smile. MyArts is a consignment shop for artists selling their crafts with a local flavour. Here you’ll find adorable earrings shaped like egg tarts and ping on baos, artisanal candles with comforting Hong Kong scents, and old school hand drawn postcards featuring the sights of Cheung Chau. Just remember not all shops on the island are open daily, so be sure to call ahead or check their Facebook pages before making a visit!
Nitti Gritti, 105 Sun Hing Back Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2981 6486
MyArts, G/F, 1 Tung Wan Road, Cheung Chau | (+852) 2332 9985
Read more! Check out our guide to The Coolest Outdoor Pools in Hong Kong.