On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I took the opportunity to visit Cheung Chau. This island is a familiar name for fans of Hong Kong dramas. Because this island is shaped like a dumbbell, it is also named ‘Dumbbell Island’.
From our hotel in North Point, we took a HK$ 2.30 tram ride to Central for breakfast at Wai Kee Congee (威記粥店). After breakfast we walked on the pedestrian walkway to Central Pier 5 for our ferry to Cheung Chau. The ferry fare is HK$ 12.60 per person. Octopus card can be used to pay for the fare.
Along the way, we passed by several islands such as Lantau and Hei Ling Chau.
Hei Ling Chau is a small island which houses an addiction treatment centre and two correctional institutions.
After almost an hour’s journey, we arrived at Cheung Chau. As we approached the island, fishing boats lined the entrance to our jetty.
Cheung Chau is a very popular day trip destination as it is only an hour away from Central. Visitors will usually flock to its two sandy beaches. Though it was a weekday, the island was busy with visitors – perhaps due to the school holidays.
The island offers ample choices of holiday homes and even a hotel for those who want to stay longer.
As the island is inaccessible to cars and vehicles, the popular mode of transport on the island is motorised carts.
For tourists to explore the island, the best way is to rent a bicycle or tricycle as the island has a lot of small alleys.
Our first stop was to pay homage to the Taoist God of the Sea at Pak Tai Temple (北帝庙). This 200 year old temple is at its busiest during the Bun Festival, held over 3 – 4 days in the fourth lunar month each year. A popular feature of this festival is the buns tower (包山) built in front of this temple and the Bun Scrambling Competition.
We then continued our exploration to Tung Wan Beach (东湾泳滩). This is the larger of the two beaches and the most popular. During summer weekends, this beach is usually packed.
A few hundred metres further is Kwun Yam Wan Beach (观音湾泳滩), the smaller beach with fine white beach. This is where Hong Kong’s first Olympics medalists, Lee Lai Shan began her windsurfing training.
This café located between the two beaches is opened by Lee’s uncle, a good stop over for a cold beer or drink on a hot summer’s day while exploring the island.
From Kwun Yam Wan Beach, we went inland and uphill towards Kwun Yam Temple (观音庙). It’s a small temple worshipping the Goddess of Mercy.
We continued our trail towards Mini Great Wall (小长城). This path has some nice views of the beaches and some rocks of various shapes and sizes.
As it was a very hot day, we decided against continuing towards the cave. We backtracked towards San Hing Praya Street in search of lunch. We made a pit stop at the island’s main square for a snack – giant fish balls.
After a late seafood lunch, we browsed the many shops selling dried seafood and souvenirs. We left shortly after 4pm.
The return ferry ride was quite enjoyable and offered a great view of Hong Kong skyline.