Cheung Chau Island is a refreshing change of pace on your Hong Kong holiday from the moment you depart the big city smoke by ferry and set sail to an island attraction that offers something different, is a little more aged and provides a slice of paradise in the ever-popular East Asia destination.
It’s evident from the moment you step off the ferry, and you’re in a different part of Hong Kong that instantly grabs your attention with the magnificent harbour views stacked with anchored commercial boats. There are rows and rows of pedal bikes lined up along the fenced area and a unique township which is certainly as far from modern you can get, with each building in Cheung Chau seeming like they need a little brush over with paint.
It’s those points exactly that get you excited about spending the day or a few days in Cheung Chau Island, and not to mention, your chance to hit the beach for your fun in the sun and to get in some much-needed holiday tan while relaxing on the sands of a Hong Kong Beach.
In saying that, what makes this island so fascinating for tourists all around the world? Let’s find out shall we, in this in-depth guide to Hong Kong’s favourite boutique holiday destination, Cheung Chau Island.
Cheung Chau Island – Escape the Big City Smoke of Hong Kong
Getting to Cheung Chau Island
At the end of the day, unless you are travelling by private boat, there is only one way to get to the island, and that is to catch a ferry to Cheung Chau from Central Pier No.5 on Hong Kong Island. Which ferry you decide to pick is entirely up to you.
There are two primary choices of options with the Cheung Chau ferry and for both options, you can scan your Hong Kong Octopus Card to board the ferry. You can also pay for a ferry ticket at the booth if you don’t have the public transport card and it will only cost you a little bit more.
- Firstly, you can catch the slow ferry, which takes approximately takes 55-60 minutes from Central to Cheung Chau. The cost using your Octopus Card is from HK$13.20, which is deducted from your balance.
- The second option is to catch the fast ferry to Cheung Chau, again from Central Ferry Pier 5. It’ll cost you from $25.80 on the Octopus Card and will take approximately 35-40 minutes to get to the island.
From a personal point of view, who used both the fast ferry to Cheung Chau and the slow Ferry back to Central, take the slow ferry, it’ll only cost you 15-minutes more on time and save you almost 50% in fees, the money saved all add up when travelling with a group of people.
Cheung Chau Hotel Options
Cheung Chau Island hotel options are very far and few between, mainly because the island is more common for day trips rather than lengthy stays. There are still your suitable options, if you do decide you want to stay a night or two on the island to escape the big city.
While you won’t find your luxury hotels or strikingly beautiful resorts at Cheung Chau, there are, however, a couple of charming boutique hotels and B&B’s which will do the job nicely for a tourist seeking accommodation.
You can check out the Warwick Hotel Cheung Chau for prices on Booking.com if you do decide to have a night stay on the island. It’s the most famous hotel on Cheung Chau.
The Non-motorized Island
That’s right when you tour around Cheung Chau; you won’t find any cars, motorbikes or motorised golf buggies driving about recklessly, the island is entirely non-motorized. Pretty cool, hey. That means your only way around the island is to use your own two feet, by either walking or to pedalling a push bike.
It doesn’t mean you won’t be dodging traffic, because there are plenty of pedestrians roaming about and push bikes making their way around the narrow streets. If you wish, you can hire your bike or even pedal tuk-tuks at various bike-hire outlets from as low as HK$10; the price depends on how long you’ll utilise the bikes. You’ll initially need to pay a fully-refundable security deposit.
From a personal point of view, I preferred to get around Cheung Chau Hong Kong by walking. The paths are unpredictable, people are everywhere, and it’s a little safer because it always seems like there is a significant stack waiting to happen, and I prefer it wasn’t me involved.
A Cheung Chau Seafood street at the mercy of your taste buds
A Cheung Chau seafood restaurant experience is not one to miss when visiting the tourist island. From the outset, the restaurants are surrounding you as you depart the ferry and you’ll be forced a menu in your face from some random stranger, whether you want lunch or not.
The restaurants are lined up in a wave of numbers that overlook the beautiful harbour area of Treasure Bay, as you look out towards the row of boats anchored in the bay and towards other islands further out that provides the ultimate picturesque scenery from your seat.
It’s a beautiful setting, while you eat outside under the shade, dining into fresh fish, crabs, oysters, mussels and any other seafood delights you can think of, because the menu is plentiful, and the prices are quite moderate. Of course, your seafood meal goes down perfectly with a bottle of local ice-cold beer.
If you don’t want to eat seafood, or it’s not to your fancy, naturally, there are other restaurants around of either Western and Asian cuisines. Cheung Chau even has a fast food favourite, a McDonald’s restaurant, situated right at the ferry terminal, making it the first thing you see when entering the island from the terminal.
Wander through the vibrant Township
The township at Treasure Bay is unique. At the forefront, there are plenty of shops to browse through such as supermarkets, souvenirs stores, clothing outlets and a range of other merchandise stores you’ll no doubt stumble upon. Of course, you’ll also wander past café’s, restaurants, ice-cream shops and fresh produce if you want a healthy snack on the run. I won’t forget my wife purchasing all those mandarins.
In your journey through the township, you’ll discover hidden temples, which are nothing extravagant, but you may want to have a peek at a temple, take a photo and kneel for prayer if that is your kind thing.
The further you go through the township, the more you get into where the locals live their everyday lives with old towering apartments, a for more selective shops mainly of groceries and many alley-ways, where you’ll surely get lost while making your way back to the busy area of the township.
Cheung Chau Tourist Attractions are Aplenty
When you’re going on your own Cheung Chau Island tour, you’ll discover there are many attractions to see when roaming about. How many you see, depends how much time you have available on the island, because it’s not as small as you think (that’s when the bike may come in handy).
On the West side, where the Cheung Chau ferry comes in, is where most of the action is happening, and I have already spent a fair amount of time discussing that area, with its market stalls, seafood restaurants and cafés.
The further you broaden your horizons, the more secluding you’ll find it. There’ll be breathtaking lookout areas over the bay, such as the Reclining Rock in the southwest corner, the Human Head rock in the Southeast corner and the North Lookout Pavilion, which will give you splendid views over the whole island.
Other attractions to note on your Cheung Chau tour, will be the Cheung Chau Park, Cheung Po Tsai Cave, The Pak Tai temple Cheung Chau and there is even a Mini Great Wall, just in case you have never seen the real one in mainland China and this is the closest you’ll get to the Wall in sometime.
Cheung Chau tourist attraction of note:
- Mini Great Wall
- Cheung Chau Sports Centre
- Tin Hau Temple
- North lookout Pavilion
- Cheung Chau Rock carvings
- Pak Tai Temple playground
Cheung Chau Beach Options Galore for the tourist who needs to take a dip
Were you starting to think I had forgotten to mention the Cheung Chau beach options? No, I hadn’t forgotten, but the gorgeous beaches of the island deserved their segment because quite simply, they are pristine and beautiful.
When you start to leave the busy township area, you’ll discover a few great beaches situated along the east coast of the island where you can have a dip, assuming you’re visiting on a hot day of course. Most tourists make their way to the famous Cheung Chau Tung Wan Beach; it’s a major hotspot with calm waters to have a swim and cool off. It’s also the closest beach to the ferry terminal, being approximately a 10-15-minute walk.
The Beaches of Cheung Chau Island:
- Tung Wan Beach
- Tung Wan Tsai Beach (Coral Beach)
- Kwun Yam Wan Beach
An Ideal Day Trip to Cheung Chau needs to be on your Hong Kong Itinerary
A Hong Kong Itinerary needs to have Cheung Chau Island on the list of things to do because quite literally, it is one the best and fulfilling day trips you can have on your holiday in the popular East Asia destination.
Pack your bags, bring some swimwear and a beach towel, and don’t forget your Hong Kong dollars to purchase a souvenir and a delicious lunch in one of the many seafood restaurants available to you, because Cheung Chau day trip promises to be an unforgettable day.