Cheung Chau

This small island southwest of Hong Kong is well-known for its annual springtime Bun Festival. It’s worth exploring at any other time of the year as well.

Cheung Chau is an island 10 miles (16 kilometers) from one of the world’s largest cities; its laid-back culture contrasts dramatically with the bustle of Hong Kong. Join other tourists and natives on an island day trip, a great way to relax and unwind from hectic activities.

Take a ferry to Cheung Chau and then explore on foot or by bicycle. Motorized traffic is limited; the 23,000 people living here get along quite well without cars. Cheung Chau is just over 600 acres (242 hectares), with a narrow isthmus connecting two rounded sections. Walk from one side to the other in just five minutes.

From the ferry pier, go southwest on Cheung Chau Sai Tai Road toward several of the island’s main attractions. First find the Tin Hau Temple, a 200-year-old shrine to the Taoist Goddess of the Sea. It is one of more than 70 in different spots across the Hong Kong territories. Worshippers visit this temple to honor Tin Hau and then stay to enjoy beautiful views of the beach below.

Continue on to investigate Cheung Po Tsai Cave, once a hideout for a 19th-century pirate who commanded 50,000 bandits and 600 brigand ships, and then reformed and became a Chinese naval officer. You won’t find buried treasure in the cave, but it is fun to explore. Bring a flashlight for walking through the short, dark passage.

From the cave, stroll southeast along the Cheung Chau Family Trail. The stone walk and railings have been given the nickname of the “Mini Great Wall of Cheung Chau.” Unusual rock formations and scenic beach views provide an interesting walk above the ocean. Visit beautiful beaches that produced an Olympic gold medalist in windsurfing. Return to the town for excellent seafood.

Cheung Chau’s most famous event is the annual spring Bun Festival. The multi-day celebration honors several deities for protecting its citizens. Join thousands watching the parade, lion dances and competitive climb up mountains of buns.

Find the Cheung Chau Ferry at Star Ferry Pier in Central. Enjoy watching other boat traffic on the one-hour ride to Cheung Chau.

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