A Day Trip to Cheung Chau Island

A picturesque harbour, beaches, hiking, seafood!
Cheung Chau Island and Harbour

Another idyllic scape just a short ferry ride away from the city is Cheung Chau Island.

It has a very quaint and picturesque harbour, always bustling with activity with fishing vessels, trawlers, junks and sampans criss-crossing back and forth and a waterfront promenade lined with cafes, souvenir and knick knack stands, seafood restaurants, dried food stalls...

Although small, the island has lots to do to easily spend a full day.

There are the beaches, small temples, short hikes to catch some splendid views, and of course, the main highlight here is during the island's main iconic event, the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival, a week of colorful celebrations held normally in May.

You can come and stroll around for a few hours or just as easily spend the entire day. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Cheung Chau Island...

...The fun begins even before you get to the island on your short ferry ride. The marvelous views as you leave Victoria Harbour...

Views from the Cheung Chau Ferry Leaving Victoria Harbour

...Soon you leave the stunning skyline and frenetic pace... a very different panorama surrounds you...

Views from the Cheung Chau Ferry Leaving Victoria Harbour

And the first sights of Cheung Chau welcome you. The bustling harbour always full of activity, ferries, fishing vessels, trawlers, junks, house boats...

Arriving in Cheung Chau Island, a small crowded harbour with fishing vessels welcomes you

The ferry pier is located right in the middle of the island, on the West side. Here's a map with some highlights to get oriented.

Map IconFerry Pier Map IconPak Tai Temple Map IconTun Wan Beach
Map IconMini Great Wall Map IconSai Wan Pier Map IconPirate Cave

As you get off the ferry, you can simply start walking and take it all in... The village town although still very quaint feels more "developed" than Lamma Island. There are tinges of modernity here and there... 7Elevens, a Wellcome Supermarket, among the more traditional shops and stands.

Cheung Chau Island Promenade

You can follow the main promenade along the water for some fantastic views of the busy harbour... Bicycles are big in the island as there are no motorized vehicles allowed, other than service vehicles and carts.

Views from the Cheung Chau Ferry Leaving Victoria Harbour

You can rent bicycles and tricycles from the many shops along the harbourside. It's a fun way to cruise around and see a bit of the western side of the island which is mostly flat and the well-paved promenade runs along the waterfront.

Rent a bicycle or tricycle to cruise around the island

Walking along the tiny streets and alleys take you along shops loaded with trinkets, souvenirs, electronics, toys...

Trinket stands in Cheung Chau

...wet markets, herbal shops, fruit and vegetable stands, dried goods shops...

Dried Seafood Shop in Cheung Chau

...cafes, restaurants, refreshement stands, dim sum, quick snack take outs...

Outdoor cafes in Cheung Chau

Worth a stop less than a 10 minute walk from the Ferry Pier is the Pak Tai Temple, this is the center of the celebrations during the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival in May. There are many signs pointing the way so you can find it quite easily. It's a beautiful temple, the exterior is lavishly decorated with stone carvings and colorful sculptures...

Pak Tai Temple in Cheung Chau

The interior likewise, with the many altars and offerings dedicated to Pak Tai, incense coils hanging overhead...

Altars and offerings at Pak Tai Temple in Cheung Chau

If you head east from the Pier and walk through the island to the opposite side you find Tun Wan Beach... On a hot day this is the place to be!

Tun Wan Beach in Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau Island also has some of the best hiking in Hong Kong. The trails and paths go along the coast and the views are fantastic. The trail maps are posted all along the island so it's easy to follow. I would allow a bit more time than they recommend though, you really want to go slow and enjoy the walks and the views...

Hiking Trail Map in Cheung Chau

The Southern route is very scenic. This is where you find the "Mini Great Wall", not really a wall, but a trail that snakes the hilly side of the coast. There are lookout pavillions and stunning views of the sea and the other islands beyond.

Hiking Trail Mini Great Wall in Cheung Chau

And Cheung Chau also has its very onw history of pirates and hidden treasures... Tucked in the south-west corner of the island you find the Cheung Po Tsai Cave, also a popular spot. You can hike down to the cave or take a Sampan ride from the main Pier to the Sai Wan Pier which is nearby. Or you could choose to hike to the cave and take the sampan for the return trip. Sampans operate continuosly every 20 minutes, it only costs HK5.

Getting to Cheung Chau Island

Ferries leave from Central Pier 5 and there are two kinds of ferry, the fast one and the slow one. The fast ferry takes about 40 minutes, the slow one about one hour. Besides the obvious difference in time, the main differentiator is the kinds of cabins.

The fast ferry is an enclosed air-condition cabin, with rows of upholstered seats:

Interior of the Cheung Chau Island Fast Ferry

The standard or slow ferry has decks with sitting areas, tables for playing/eating, and a fantastic outdoor deck, this is defintiely the scenic way to get there. There are two categories in the slow ferry, standard and deluxe, you need to get a deluxe ticket for the air-con upper decks and outside decks.

Outside Deck of the Cheung Chau Island Slow Ferry

We highly recommend the slow ferry for at least one of the journeys, specially if the weather is fine. You will catch some fantastic views of the Hong Kong skyline as well as the little bustling harbour in Cheung Chau.

Ferries are frequent, about every half hour or so with more frequent sailings during the busy times.

Here are the Central - Cheung Chau and Cheung Chau - Central ferry schedules

Fares for adults range from HK 13.60 or just under US$2 for the Slow Ferry Ordinary fare, HK 21.30 or about US$2.75 for the Deluxe Slow Ferry and HK 26.80 for the Fast Ferry, about US$3.50.

Higher fares apply during Sundays and Public Holidays.

There are also reduced children and senior rates and you can of course use your Octopus card to pay the fare.

Best of Cheung Chau...


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