Cheung Chau is one of the larger outlying islands, with a sizeable population of about 23,000 people. It has regular ferries to Central, and less frequent ferries to Mui Wo. Cheung Chau is popular with locals and tourists alike, not in the least for it’s seafood restaurants lining the port. The island is large enough to spend a whole day. There are bikes for rent at the pier area, though the island is quite hilly and parts can only be reached on foot.
1. The famous Pak Tai temple, home of the annual Bun Festival. This festival dates back to the 18th century, when Cheung Chau was pillaged by pirates and the population decimated by a plague. The deity Pak Tai is credited with turning the island’s fortunes, and since then this festival is held every year. The highlights are the Piu Sik (Floating Colours) parade with children on floats, and at midnight the bun scramble.
The festival is very popular with tourists, and the island is incredibly crowded on that day.
2. The Pak She Tin Hau temple, one of total four Tin Hau temples on this island.
Adjacent to this temple is an elderly home, to help the elderly get around this is one of the few places you can find motorised vehicles on this island.
3. Lookout Pavilion. A nice lookout point, overlooking Tung Wan Chai and the main village of Cheung Chau.
4. Tung Wan Chai. A small beach, surrounded by green hills, and well away from the crowds on Tung Wan Beach.
5. For the more adventurous: this is the better lookout point, one of the tallest hilltops of the island. The trail leading to the top is seriously overgrown, and with the closing of the organic farm a bit further down this whole trail is slowly getting overgrown.
6. Head back to the Family Trail, and follow it down to Tai Kwai Wan. Across the water you can see the hills of Chi Ma Wan peninsula of Lantau Island.
7. Shrine to the earth god and colonial mailbox. Fuk Tak, an earth god, is worshipped all over the place. Many small shrines for this god are erected near big rocks or large trees.
Just around the corner, at the back of this shrine, is one of the few remaining colonial mailboxes. The inscription of this one, ER which stands for Elizabeth Regina, indicate this mailbox was placed under Queen Elizabeth II (reining since 1952).
8. The windsurfing pavilion, to commemorate that Cheung Chau-born Lei Lai Shan won the first and only Olympic medal representing Hong Kong, not as part of China. She won a gold windsurfing medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. At the end of the beach is the windsurfing centre where she started her training.
9. Rock carving. One of several such rock carvings discovered along the coast of Hong Kong. The purpose and origins of these carvings are unknown, they are believed to be Bronze Age carvings, dating back some 3,500 years.
The rock carving itself is not really spectacular, it is mainly of archaeological interest.
10. Kwun Yam beach and the Kwun Yam Temple. This little red temple is dedicated to the deity Kwun Yam, the goddess of mercy.
During early colonial times, this was the border between the Chinese part (east) and the British part (west) of Cheung Chau. The British colonials used “their” part of the island for relaxation and for religious retreats. To this day you can find many Christian centres here.
11. This part of the coastal trail is called the Little Great Wall, as the decoration somewhat resembles the Great Wall of China.
Along this trail you can find various interestingly shaped rocks, such as the Vase Rock and the Elephant Rock.
12. Human Head Rock, shaped a bit like a human head – depending on how you look at it. This is a great example of honeycomb style weathering, where a combination of rainwater and salt from sea sprays cause holes to form in the rock.
13. Walk from 12. via this point to 14. The odd route indicated on the attached map is a software routing issue.
14. Nam Wan Tin Hau Temple. The prettiest of the four Tin Hau temples on this island, this one is facing south over the sea.
15. The cemetery of Cheung Chau.
16. Cheung Po Tsai cave. This is one of the places where the notorious pirate Cheung Po Tsai is said to have hidden his treasure. You can get in on one side, walk through, get out on the other side. Bring a torch and be careful, it is really narrow in there.
When walking from 15. to here via the coastal route, be aware that a part of the trail is missing. You have to walk over bare rock and a beach, and when the tide is really high it can be a rather tricky crossing.
19. Walk steep up the steps, on your right hand you will see the old primary school. Up the hill is the Kwan Kung pavilion. There used to be a temple dedicated to Kwan Kung up here, later the local villagers collected money and built this pavilion in its place. The backbone of a large fish is on display here as well.
This concludes the tour of Cheung Chau. The total distance covered is about 16 km, expect to take 6-7 hours including some time to take in the sights.
This is enough to cover a whole day, the first part in the morning, and after lunch in the village the second part. Finish off the day with a good seafood dinner at the waterfront, and take a ferry back to Central. The ordinary ferry is recommended, the deluxe class of most ferries has an open deck at the stern, which is great for viewing, making it a nicer ride than the fast ferry service.