Cheung Chau, Cheung Chau, Cheung Chau...Noticed hearing the islands name more than usual recently? For a reason: The uber popular Cheung Chau Bun Festival just ended.
We decided to go explore this scruffy car-free, skyscraper-free fishing village, home to more than 23,000 inhabitants and dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Step afoot and we notice a sharp change of pace in this quaint little town!!
Pic 1: Harbour front Cheung Chau
Cheug Chau is also nicknamed as the “Dumbbell Island” given the peculiar shape – large at the ends and narrow in the middle. For many, it's attraction has as much to do with its no-nonsense village lifestyle as with the sea and sand which is part of what makes adventuring through a new neighborhood even more worthwhile. While tourists are increasingly discovering the island, this island of 20,000 residents has lost none of its charm.
Cheung Chau is blessed with a curtain of golden sand, and there are a couple of fine beaches. This scenic place might be a little different from the concrete jungles most of us know of HK Island but still constitutes to the same connection that all hong kong people share. Hong Kong has plenty of festivals, but the Cheung Chau Bun Festival rates as one of the best!! Cheung Chau’s annual dance in the limelight, the Cheung Chau bun festival, is hands down one of the world’s oddest festivals.
Pic 2: Bun Festival
Like each year, this year too thousands of locals and tourists alike gathered to watch hundreds of participants claw their way up the side of a 60-foot ‘bun tower’ and pluck off bags of plastic buns.
We wondered into the by lanes of the island to taste local delicacies, watch dragon dances bustling through the streets, and party with locals in carnival mood until the wee hours!!I However, f you have a dislike to overly crowded places, you may want to give the bun festival a miss. A visit to the Cheung Chau island is well worth it anyways.
Pic 3: The Bun Tower, Bun Festival
Undoubtedly the island’s most famous sight is Cheung Po Tsai Cave. It’s said Cheung Po Tsai was a pirate who sailed the South China Seas and Pearl River Delta pillaging villages, terrorizing locals, and swigging rum. Given the area’s history, it’s a very plausible story. Unfortunately, a cave is a cave, and there’s not a great deal to see here.
More interesting are some of the hikes that take in Cheung Chau's natural rock sculptures—somewhat of a Hong Kong obsession—as well as local temples. The Mini Great Wall in southeast
Cheung Chau is worth a few hours of walking. Despite the grandiose name, the wall is actually a path, but it takes in some stunning vantage points over the South China Sea. Many of the wind-beaten rocks along the wall have been molded by the weather into natural shapes, including Flower Vase Rock and the more impressive Human Head Rock, which sports a pair of ears and a nose. Sounds good, doesn’t it? A break from the hustle and bustle of the HK Island definitely had us appreciate the island life even more!
Pic 4: Cheung Po Tsai Cave, Cheung Chau
For the sightseer, there might not be much to keep you on Cheung Chau overnight, but, if the laid back atmosphere is inviting you to linger, we recommend the Warwick Hotel, we stayed a night in. This slightly dated, concrete block isn't up to the standards of the three-star hotels back on Hong Kong Island or in Kowloon, but that’s part of its charm. Alternately, you can stay on Lantau Island and take a kaido water taxi across to Mui Wo.
As with much of Hong Kong’s island dining scene, seafood rightly dominates. It's hard to recommend a particular restaurant as you’re unlikely to have a bad meal and prices are generally cheap. Most of the seafood restaurants can be found down by the waterfront, and the best advice is to look for a restaurant busy with locals.
The rabbit-warren of streets are lined with design boutiques that sell keepsakes, trinkets, key chains, tee-shirts and even “bun souvenirs” to mark the Bun Festival. And for mamas on the lookout for something more hip with a local spin, spot the Myarts Mart on the main Tung Wan Road. With egg tart shaped earrings and hand-drawn postcards, this pop-up store has something unique for everyone.
And there you hopefully have all the essentials to cheung chau for the next time you give it a visit! Why not join us on our activity "Exploring Cheung Chau after Cheung Chau (festival)" led by Geoffery WONG.
It is FREE for LocalHood members. For more information: https://www.localhood.org/single-post/2019/04/29/Explore-Cheung-Chau-with-Geoff-WONG
Have fun exploring an Interesting neighborhood of Hong Kong the LocalHood way 😃😃!