Cheung Chau (長洲 Chèuhng Jāu) is one of the most populous of the Outlying Islands of Hong Kong with a population of 23,000 (2011). The island is also referred to as "dumbbell island" (啞鈴島) in Cantonese due to its shape.
Cheung Chau is a popular weekend getaway destination for Hongkongers, and during summer the streets can get very busy. At peak times during the year, it is not unknown for the population of the island to more than double as busy Hongkongers come to the island for a break from the city and to sample the seafood on offer.
A small island near Lantau that used to be a pirates' den but now houses mostly windsurfers and sunbathing day trippers.
It still has a traditional community based on an active fishing fleet and many thriving seafood restaurants, and also has a number of reasonable hiking trails and some usable beaches.
In the past, the higher parts Cheung Chau were, like Victoria Peak, racially segregated and Chinese were prohibited from living there, and the southern shore of the island was a beach reserved for white people only. These rules relaxed after the Second World War, and now much of the land on the hilltops of the island are now occupied by monasteries.
- 1 Cheung Chau Pier (長洲碼頭). Cheung Chau is accessible from Hong Kong Central Pier 5, with sailings departing every 20-60 minutes. The journey time ranges from 35 to 40 minutes for fast boat and 55 to 60 minutes for ordinary boat.
|Day||Sailing Type||Ticket Type||Price|
|Monday - Saturday||Ordinary||Adult||$13.60|
|Child / Elderly / Disabled||$6.80|
|Child / Elderly / Disabled||$13.40|
|Sunday & Public Holidays||Ordinary||Adult||$20.20|
|Child / Elderly / Disabled||$10.10|
|Child / Elderly / Disabled||$19.40|
There is also service between Cheung Chau and South District of Hong Kong Island (Aberdeen). One-way journey takes about 55 to 65 minutes.
|Monday - Friday||Adult||$30.00|
|Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays||Adult||$32.00|
Cheung Chau is also accessible from the island of Peng Chau, or from Mui Wo on Lantau island by the inter-island ferry.
|Origin||Sailing Type||Ticket Type||Price|
|Peng Chau / Mui Wo||Ordinary||Adult||$13.40|
|Child / Elderly / Disabled||$6.70|
Cheung Chau has no cars except for some small "village vehicles" used to transport cargo, and the vehicles used by the emergency services. Visitors must travel by foot or by bicycle.
There is a walking tour available around the island with scenic views and temples; look for the tourist map near the ferry pier. It is best to visit in good weather, if it rains, there's nowhere to wait it out because nearly everything is outside.
History and cultureEdit
- 1 Cheung Po Tsai Cave (張保仔洞). A deep cave system which is rumoured to be where the famous pirate Cheung Po Tsai (張保仔) once hid his loot, although nothing has ever been found.
- 2 Windsurfing memorial statute (風帆雕塑). On Cheung Chau, visitors should also look out for the this statue which commemorates a Hong Kong windsurfing athlete, Lee Lai-shan (李麗珊), who won the first (and the only) Olympic gold medal for the territory.
- 3 Cheung Chau Rock Carving (長洲石刻). A series of carvings made into rocks on the island that are, as yet, of unknown age, but are said to resemble pottery which dates from the Bronze Age.
- 4 Yuk Hui Temple (玉虛宮), Pak She Street, Tung Wan. Possibly the most famous temple on Cheung Chau due to its connection with the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, which is held every year.
- 5 Tai Shek Hau Tin Hau Temple (大石口天后廟). Tin Hau, the queen of heaven is the god who receives the most respect from many who live on Cheung Chau, especially those who are fishermen. Tin Hau is revered as the god who protects fisherman. Tin Hau has been respected for many years, and so there are four Tin Hau Temples on the island.
- 6 Hung Shing Temple (洪聖廟). A smaller temple building originally constructed in 1813, the current structure has been renovated and repaired several times since then.
- 7 Kwan Kung Pavilion (關公忠義亭). A smaller temple perched atop a hill. The temple is dedicated to the general Kwan Kung, who is most commonly associated with fraternities.
- 8 Kwun Yam Temple (觀音古廟). A smaller bright red temple building dating back before 1840, dedicated to the 'Goddess of Mercy'.
- 9 Nam Tam Wan Tin Hau Temple (南氹灣天后廟).
- 10 Pak She Tin Hau Temple (北社天后廟). The temple contains a copper bell which was cast in 1767.
- 11 Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple (西灣天后宮). A smaller temple dedicated to the Goddess Tin Hau, who is associated with the sea and fishermen. The temple commands good views out to sea.
- The Cheung Chau Bun Festival. Is a popular annual event held in early May, this is a festival where people climb up a tower which is covered with buns. Previously it had been abolished because a tower collapsed and injured 24 people in 1978 under immense weight by people climbing onto it. However, thanks to the people who live in Cheung Chau, who campaigned for many years, the government allowed this component of the festival to restart in 2005. It is now turned into a climbing competition with heats and finals for men, women and team categories. The Bun festival lasts for five days and the climax is on the third day when participants dress up as historical characters and ride on floats. When children act on the floats, they appear in the air because of their dress. On the last day, at midnight, buns from the tower will be given to the community, bringing them good luck throughout the year. People believe that the more they get, the luckier they are. Ferries are very crowded on the day though, so expect long queues if you intend to go.
- Birthday of Tin Hau. Besides the Bun Festival, another big festival is the birthday of Tin Hau. Tin Hau is the "queen of the heaven" and is closely associated with seafarers and fishermen. The birthday of Tin Hau is in the Chinese calendar on the 23rd day of the third lunar month. However, people in Cheung Chau usually celebrate it on the 18th, because in the past, there were no street lights on the island and people couldn't see when they were on their way to the temple during the night time, but moving the festivities a few days earlier meant that they could using the moonlight. Now it has become a tradition to celebrate it earlier. During the celebrations, you may see floats, acrobats, lion dancing, and effigies of mythical animals.
- Windsurfing & Sunbathing. The prime drawcards on the beaches of Cheung Chau.
- 1 Cheung Chau Sports Ground (長洲運動場), Fa Peng Road, ☏ +852 2852 4845. The local sports stadium which contains a green as well as a running track. It is the only sports ground in the Islands District.
- Cheung Chau Mini Great Wall (小長城). Constructed in 1997 by the Home Affairs Department, it is a part of the Cheung Chau Family Trail. The name “Mini Great Wall” is given from the line of granite railings which looks similar to the Great Wall of China. The trail passes by a variety of specially-shaped rocks including the Loaf Rock, the Rock of Ringing Bell, the Eagle Rock, Fa Peng Rock, Human Head Rock, Rock of the Skull, Yuk Saai Shek, and Tortoise Rock. The whole trail is about 850m long.
- Shrimp paste is a very famous sauce in Cheung Chau which is made from fresh prawn.
Hong Kong is famous for its fishballs. however, the quality of the fishballs reach peak height in Cheung Chau. One of the most famous fishballs are the Gan Yongtai fishballs that are enjoyed by locals. Some of the fishballs are made with bean curd.
Another delicacy is seafood. There are various types of seafood in Cheung Chau, such as chili clams, steamed prawns and deep fried squid.
- 1 Cheung Chau Market (長洲街市), Cheung Chau Municipal Services Building, 2 Tai Hing Tai Rd. The Cheung Chau market is similar to other 'wet markets' in Hong Kong, offering a wide variety of fresh produce.
- 2 Cheung Chau Cooked Food Market (長洲熟食市場), 7-12 Tai Hing Tai Rd, ☏ +852 2981 5459. A covered, open-air set of connected restaurants selling a number of different varieties of Chinese food and seafood.
- 1 Warwick Hotel (長洲華威酒店), ☏ +852 3176 6312. The only full service hotel on the island.
- 2 B&B Cheung Chau, ☏ +852 2986 9990.
- 3 Jolly Guesthouse (愉宿精緻渡假旅館), G/F, Block D, No. 3 Chung Sum Lane, Nam Wan, Cheung Chau, ☏ +852 5499 0691.
- 4 Miami Resort (邁亞美度假村), 16E Cheung Chau Beach Rd (north), Cheung Chau, ☏ +852 2981 7299.
The Cave is dark and the ground is uneven. One should wear appropriate shoes and bring a flash light when exploring the Cave.
From 2000, there were a number of highly publicized suicides by charcoal-burning in vacation homes and guesthouses in Cheung Chau. While the number of suicides in Cheung Chau has gone down since then, if you arrive at a guesthouse and senses something is wrong (sealed windows and burnt charcoal in closed space), leave the building and call emergency hotline (999) immediately.
Due to the size of the island, and the narrow streets, the vehicles used by the emergency services are somewhat diminutive. Cheung Chau is the only outlying island that has its own hospital, although for serious issues, patients may be taken to a larger facility by ferry, or by helicopter, depending on the seriousness.
- 1 St. John Hospital (長洲醫院), Hospital Road, Tung Wan, ☏ +852 2986 2100.
- 2 Cheung Chau Police Station (長洲警署), 4 Police Station Path, ☏ +852 3661 1712. The station building itself is also quite historical, having been originally built in 1913.
- 3 Cheung Chau Fire Station (長洲消防局), 1 Ping Chong Road, ☏ +852 2981 9158.
- Central District - the Central Business District of Hong Kong.