Make a day out to discover the outlying islands of Cheng Chau that surround Hong Kong where adventures lie. Surprisingly and charmingly, it also has interesting footpaths, temples and popular beaches that wind over the headlands and hills along some wild stretches of coastline. Hop on a ferry from Hong Kong and about 40 minutes later you will find yourself stepping onto beautiful Cheng Chau. The tiny island of Cheng Chau has long served as a beacon for locals and foreign travelers looking for a different side of Asia’s world. The island is more than just mini walls. There are fascinating temples, the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival, ancient stone carvings and much more for you to visit while on this island.
1. Pak Tai Temple
One can easily find Pak Tai Temple even if they are first timers. It is located within walking distance of the ferry pier. Do you know that the temple is over 200 years old and is dedicated to the sea god Pak Tai, a guardian deity of fishermen, who has the catchy title of Supreme Emperor of the Mysterious Heaven or Northern Heaven. The temple is a good example of Chinese taste and culture.
While in the temple, you will notice the classic sculpted dragons topping the roof ridge and gold-plated woodcraft from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) as well as a Song Dynasty (960-1279) iron sword in the interior. Apart from that, there are two pairs of stone lions at the entrance of Pak Tai Temple. You will also see it before coming into the temple. The annual Bun Festival is held in the public square in front of this temple.
Pak Tai Temple
Address: End of Pak She Street, Cheung Chau, Outlying Islands
Website: Pak Tai Temple
2. Cheung Chau Bun Festival
This is where it gets even more interesting. The major crowd-puller to Cheung Chau is actually the Bun Scrambling Festival. Every year locals and tourists will flock to this island just for the festival. The festival falls on the fifth to the ninth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. If you happen to be here during the bun festival you will get to see all the excitement. The locals have a strong sense of community and will come back for this festival.
All islanders will have a vegetarian meal and not meat during the three-day festival. It is a very unique and lively festival as you will get to see and take pictures of bun scrambling competition, Taoist music and ceremonies, drum beating, floating color parades and lion dances. There is more than that. Kids will love it too. You will be amazed to see many kids taking part in this festival too. They dressed as traditional deities or modern celebrities and appear to float above the crowd. The colorful parade is called Piu Sik. The children will balance themselves on the poles accompanied by lion dancers and gongs.
Stay until night and you will be in awe of the bun scrambling competition. You will see the competitors getting ready at the bamboo tower and waiting their turn to scramble up the tower to collect as many buns as they can. If a contestant manages to get the buns at the topmost part, he or she will be crowned the Queen or King of the Buns.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival
Website: Cheung Chau Bun Festival
3. North Lookout Pavilion
Enjoy the beautiful views of Cheung Chau from the North Lookout Pavilion. The lookout is located at the highest point on the island. Bring your friends or families along to see the sunset while snapping pictures and enjoy a good moment together. Besides, you can spot a mix of residential buildings from the top. You can even see the scenic Tung Wan Beach from here. From the North Lookout Pavilion, tourists and visitors can really immerse themselves in the beautiful surroundings and panorama of Cheung Chau.
North Lookout Pavilion
Website: North Lookout Pavilion
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4. Cheung Po Tsai Cave
Deemed as the home of a latter day Robin Hood, Cheung Po Tsai Cave located in the Island District of Hong Kong is a magnet for both tourists and locals due to its mysteriousness. The name of the cave itself is unique and famous, as this place is where it is believed he has hidden his treasure. He is famed for his Robin-Hood-like deeds. In other words he steals from the rich and gives to the poor.
Embark on an adventure to the cave. You need to climb uphill along the path behind the Tin Hau Temple to reach this attraction. The spot is in fact a hole in between some rocks, but the mysteriousness and length of the site – the entrance to the exit continues to give an air of mystery to visitors.
It is worth exploring the winding dark passages as it will give you the creeps. Before planning your journey here you need to bring along a torch as it is very dark in the cave. Cheung Po Tsai left many traces in Hong Kong, but the Cheung Po Tsai Cave is probably the famous one.
Cheung Po Tsai Cave
Address: Cheung Po Tsai Road, Cheung Chau, Outlying Islands
Website: Cheung Po Tsai Cave
5. Tung Wan Beach
Tung Wan is a long and beautiful beach and also the most popular beach in Cheung Chau. The beach is a year round playground for visitors and locals. Its clear turquoise waters and its charming scenery are totally amazing. Besides, one can really enjoy the charm of the beach’s night views. Tung Wan sparkles by day and twinkles by night.
Visitors and tourists likewise can catch sight of the twinkling lights of Aberdeen and Lamma Island at night. The beach is clean and not so crowded. There are plenty of restaurants nearby for you to eat and drink. Apart from that, one can take pictures of the Kap Shui Mun Bridge and Tsing Ma Bridge from this beach.
Both bridges are indeed magnificent and of world record size. During the weekends, you will get to see surf loving city dwellers head to the beach to surf. Take time and enjoy a stroll along Tung Wan beach with your loved one.
Tung Wan Beach
Website: Tung Wan Beach
6. Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple
Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple was constructed by the local businessmen and fishermen. Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, is revered by fishermen and anyone whose life and destiny is tied to the sea. To get here you can board the small boats called kaito to this point of attraction. Kaito are used to bring visitors to the temple. Until today, the protector of the fishermen and Goddess of the Sea still plays an important role in the locals’ lives. This 200-year-old temple is a must visit place if you are in Cheung Chau.
Once you are inside, you will see a bronze bell dating back to the Qianlong era (1736-1796). Apart from that, there is a collection of well-preserved Shek Wan pottery, murals and woodcarvings. Another surprise will be the stone lions located outside the temple. Besides, you can enjoy magnificent view of the beach from a small pavilion behind the temple. Each year, thousands of believers will head to the temple to celebrate the Tin Hau Festival.
Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple
Address: Tin Hau Temple, Sai Wan, Cheung Chau, Outlying Islands
Website: Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple
7. Reclining Rock
Not many will know that there are five giant eroded rocks known as Reclining Rock near the hideout of the famous pirate, Cheung Po Tsai. They are so big that they seems to be perpetually on the verge of tipping over. Why not hole up in this ‘forest’ of eroded stone and be an outlaw just for a day? It will be very exciting.
You will get to see wild cacti too. There are many exotic rocks in Cheung Chau and if you plan to go there remember to bring along your digital camera or video camera. While you are here, catch the sun beams behind the rocks.
Address: West End, Cheung Chau, Outlying Islands
Website: Reclining Rock
8. Cheung Chau Mini Great Wall
The Mini Great Wall or Little Great Wall is a hiking trail located in Cheung Chau. It was built by the Home Affairs in 1997 and is part of the Cheung Chau Family Trail. The unique trail is named after its granite railings. Every now and then take your eyes off that glorious seascapes and be prepared to admire the unique granite boulders dotting the trail.
Do you know that there are some boulders with weird names? You can stop and take a closer look and them while walking along the trail. The locals have given them names like the Human Head Rock and Vase Rock. This is particularly due to the boulders resembling a human head and a vase. The Mini Great Wall overlooking the breathtaking coastline of Cheung Chau is a sight to behold. A must visit short hiking trail suitable for family walkers.
Cheung Chau Mini Great Wall
Address: Behind Kwun Yam Beach, Cheung Chau, Outlying Islands
Website: Cheung Chau Mini Great Wall
9. Windsurfing Memorial Garden
The Windsurfing Memorial Garden pays tribute to the country’s 1996 Olympic gold medalist, Lee Lai Shan. There is a windsurfing sculpture inside a small garden near Tung Wan Beach to commemorate Shan Shan’s achievements. Visitors and tourists can reach the place by turning left at the Cheung Chau Ferry Pier follow by a right turn at the Kwok Man Road. It is located at the Cheung Chau Beach Road. Get ready to unwind in the garden with the majestic Tung Wan Beach in the foreground.
Windsurfing Memorial Garden
Address: Cheung Chau Beach Road, Cheng Chau
A day full of excitement
Cheung Chau is ideal for the culturally curious yet energy-challenged. There are no cars on this island. From the ancient rock carvings to the strange Mini Great Wall, the historic Pak Tai Temple to the unusual and wonderful rocks, the island cultural landscape can be seen in a day. There is such a relaxed pace of life here with its charm and a year round favorites with tourists and locals.
The beach at Tung Wan, one of the favorites, has charming night views of Lamma and Aberdeen Island as well as turquoise waters. Besides, it is a crowd puller. Visiting Cheng Chau takes you to a different world. Although the island has been commercialized, it still gives that nostalgic feeling of the past decades. Here, you get everything for a week-long island getaway.
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