Don’t get me wrong; I love Hong Kong. The towering buildings, the delectable food, and bustling Kowloon are special memories of the unique island. Hong Kong is well worth a visit, but for some people, downtown can get a little hectic. For readers who crave another side of Hong Kong, I offer you Stanley Beach, a place worth a day trip if you want to have a quiet day at the beach without going too far from the big city.
Enjoy a seaside meal in a historical building
Stanley contrasts greatly with Hong Kong because of its smaller scale and mixture of historical and modern architecture. A stroll along Stanley Beach reveals simple Cantonese homes, brightly multi-storied restaurants, and most impressively, the Murray House, one of the oldest public buildings on Hong Kong. Once the living quarters for British officers, the building was relocated to and renovated in its present location and features excellent restaurants as well as a spectacular view of the bay. The Murray House is the perfect place to take in the scenery while enjoying a mouth-watering meal of fresh seafood. Even if you don’t stop in for lunch, you can walk under the verandas found on all three floors of the building and take in the Greek columns and black-and-white stone floor that make this spot a place worth stopping for.
Experience a unique festival
If you’re an active traveler, you might want to try out dragon boat racing, a traditional competition held annually to commemorate the Duanwu Festival. The Stanley Dragon Boat Association, which works to promote dragon boating and other recreational activities, organizes the event every year and can give you more information about how you can participate in this unique Chinese festival. The races originated from the story of villagers who raced to save poet Qu Yuan after he committed suicide following the fall of the Chu state, and the festival is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar. Even if rowing isn’t your cup of tea, you can always enjoy a zongzi (steamed rice dumpling) or two as you watch the teams face off.
Soak up the sun on the beach
The most impressive sight in all of Stanley is definitely the beach. After spending several days downtown, Stanley Beach might just be what you need for a break. If you are lucky, the beach will be uncrowded and you can look forward to catching some sun while observing local fishermen hard at work. Just beyond the calm water, there are gorgeous homes dotting the luscious hillsides and the view of Hong Kong’s mountains meeting the sky. You will feel far away from the noises and crowds of the city. There are a few different stretches of beach, a few of which are shadier than others, but all of them give you fresh air and sunlight.
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Take a beach-bound bus
Stanley Beach is easily accessible from downtown Hong Kong. Buses # 6, 6A, 6X, 66, and 260 depart from Exchange Square bus terminal in Central. The AMS Green Minibus #40, which leaves from Causeway Bay, is also available. The bus ride takes an average of forty minutes. Don’t forget to pack a camera and sunscreen!
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