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Getting Away To Cheung Chau

My favourite place is Cheung Chau (長洲)– the small beachy island far away from the city to feel like it is not in Hong Kong. The ferry ride prepares or settles you into feeling like you are getting away on a vacation. This is especially true if taking the slow one-hour ferry over the speedier 30-minute one.

The Ferry to Cheung Chau
The ferry to Cheung Chau

During COVID, when the city was closed off to the rest of the world, it was the only place that gave a feeling of having a vacation. I met someone, took him there a few times, and loved every time we went. He was new to Hong Kong and wanted to show him somewhere different from the anti-Hong Kong — small buildings, slower pace, no cars or buses, quiet, and beaches. He, too, fell in love with the island, and we have come back a few more times since.

Many fishing boats find safe harbour in Cheung Chau from the waves and typhoons which regularly hit Hong Kong.

Where the ferry lands are where most of the shops are found, it tends to be the most crowded area. Supermarkets, shops and supply stores are there for everyone on a beach holiday or camping in one of the three natural areas on each end of the island. Cheung Chau looks like a dumbbell on a map, with the beach and village in the skinny middle, two large green spaces on each end.

The narrow streets of Cheung Chau.

Walking through the narrow streets and alleyways of the village area is the only way to get around. A few bikes are pushing through, which can be rented at nearby shops but can be challenging in narrow areas. There are a lot of shops and restaurants on the islands. The local delicacy is the Mango Mochi, sweet mango wrapped in sticky rice dumplings eaten cold, which is best for a snack or dessert.

One of my favourite restaurants is a Singaporean place called La Eat (). When we were first here, it was a small shop with a table or two, but it has expanded to a full restaurant. It’s vegan-friendly. The Beef Rendang and the Ayam Goreng Berempah ½ Spring Chicken are my favourites. The people are friendly.

The Pink Pig at night.

For me, a nice place to sit and write is the Seafood Corner (Cheung Chau), with inexpensive drinks and tables overlooking the fishing boats and the sea. There are huge umbrellas to protect against the sun in summertime. The Pink Pig Music Bar & Restaurant is a great place to watch people go by and read. They make some fantastic Thai Food along with the usual pub grub.

Kwun Yam Beach

There is the big beach of Tung Wan, but a favourite is further down called Kwun Yam Beach. Based on the Environmental Protection Department, it is one of the cleanest beaches. Hing Kee Beach Store rents beach chairs & umbrellas. There are changing rooms nearby. Food and drink are reasonable at the beach store.

Waiting on the ferry back to Hong Kong Island.

The sunsets on the island are incredible. With the borders reopened and more people coming to the island, it can get crowded. The best time to come is during the week or when everyone else is not on vacation. It’s best to avoid it on the weekends unless you like the crowds.

Published in Sights and Travels