Hop on over to this little island gem
One of the best parts about living in the 852 is the proximity to nature and beauty, and the islands that surround our city are just one example of its gorgeous landscape. One of our favourite spots to spend a day is Cheung Chau, a sleepy little island only a ferry ride away from Central Pier 5. Take either the slow (55 minutes) or fast boat (35 minutes), and marvel at this sweet, little town, that is vibrant with street vendors, restaurants and beaches. Best of all, there are no cars on the island!
Sassy tip: Get to the ferry terminal early and queue up because it gets crowded. We recommend doing this both directions.
What To Do:
Rent a bike (for as cheap as $50 for the day) and ride around the island. Turn left when you get off the ferry, and stroll along the waterfront until you get to a bike shop. You may be asked to leave a deposit, but it’s refundable when you return the bikes. From there, you can head to the beach, visit the caves or just explore where you like. Bikes come with baskets for your bag and locks so you can keep them safe while you explore. The island is small enough to bike around, so we suggest getting there early, having a seafood lunch and then enjoying an afternoon at the beach. Sorted!
Cheung Po Tsai Cave
Explore the Cheung Po Tsai cave, rumoured to be a hiding spot for infamous pirate Cheung Po Tsai. It gets dark inside, so remember to either bring a small handheld torch or (if you trust yourself not to drop it), use your phone torch. To get there, make a right after you get off the ferry, and walk for about 20 minutes toward Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple. When you get to the temple, walk up the hill for about 10 minutes and you will find the cave.
Cheung Chau Family Trail
If you have time, go for a quick hike around the island and see if you can find the “Mini Great Wall” – with amazing views from many parts of the island. This hiking trail was made in 1997 by the Home Affairs Department, and is part of the Cheung Chau Family Trail. It’s a 1.2 kilometre walk from the ferry pier. Be sure to look for the oddly named rocks along the path, such as Human Head Rock and Vase Rock. The entire island can be walked in about two hours.
Tung Wan Beach
Not feeling very adventurous? Not a problem. The beach here is easy to get to and very pleasant. There are vendors who can rent you umbrellas, chairs, and just about anything you need to make your day at the beach a good one. There are rafts a few metres from shore to lay out on, or, despite the written warnings, to jump off into the sea.
There are loads of local shops, boutiques and stores selling everything from trinkets, to sarongs, to jewellery and more. Get lost among the rows of vendors and enjoy browsing all they have to offer. I got a unique necklace for $160 that looked a lot like one I found from a designer on HK Island! Take your time to stroll around and check out the variety of options. It’s a good way to break up the afternoon and burn off those big seafood lunches you will no doubt enjoy!
Where To Eat & Drink:
Historically a fishing village, the seafood here is the main reason foodies make the trek out to the island. But there are also traditional Cantonese restos, along with western style places, so there is something for everyone. Most offer similar menus (at lower prices than HK Island!), and even if the menu is only in Chinese, most have photos so you can point to what you like.
Sassy tip: Most places are cash only (no credit cards), so hit the ATM before you head out here.
What to get if you’re snacking:
Frozen Watermelon: Slices as big as your head are offered, and on those hot summer days, these are definitely a treat!
Mango Mochi: Famous here on the island. A generous slice of fresh mango wrapped in a glutinous rice casing makes for a light and refreshing (and not overly sweet) dessert.
Fishballs: If you’re a fan of fishballs, this is your go-to spot. Get them steamed, boiled in stock, or served with a curry sauce. Options here include a square version, which is made from bean curd. Gan Yongtai is located in the square across from the ferry pier and is said to be one of the favourites. One of the Sassy girls says to go for the giant ones – they’re a must try!
Slow Life Cafe
This little restaurant also serves up organic fruits and veggies, as well as fair trade local ingredients. The menu is Italian fare, but if you need a cup of joe, some have boasted about the rose latte being very aromatic.
Slow Life Café, G/F, 83 San Hing St, Cheung Chau (note: at time of publication it was under renovation)
This longtime Cheung Chau staple has been serving up fresh seafood for 20 years, and patrons seem to keep going back for more. The staff here is said to be friendly and helpful, and speak English and Cantonese. So, if you’re looking for an authentic place to enjoy some fresh food, look no further.
New Baccarat, 9A Pak She Praya Rd, Cheung Chau
真味海鮮菜館長洲 Delicious Seafood Restaurant Cheung Chau
Pick your selection from tanks and get fresh seafood, including prawns, fish and more. Service here is meant to be friendly and efficient, and food is said to be, well, delicious.
真味海鮮菜館長洲 Delicious Seafood Restaurant Cheung Chau, Pak She Praya Rd G/F., 9C Cheung Chau, Hong Kong