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Cheung Chau – You won’t Believe you’re in Hong Kong

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I’m sitting in a restaurant in Hong Kong, but something is different. I hear my fork click against the plate. I hear someone adjusting the radio in the building opposite of me. I hear a push cart screeching closer, I know exactly which direction it is coming from before I actually see it. There is an old chair on it. I hear the quiet but increasing hum of a bike approaching form the other direction.

It’s weird. I can hear each sound and I can hear whey they are coming from. There is no background noise, no cars in the background, not even far away. I am still in Hong Kong, but not as you might think.

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I am sitting in a back alley restaurant in Cheung Chau, a small island in Hong Kong, about half an hour ferry ride away from the Central pier.

When I arrived to Cheung Chau with the ferry I was greeted with an idyllic small town centre with a harbour full of various fishing boats. I strolled on the main boulevard that opened to the harbour. It was peaceful; there were people only walking and biking. There are no cars on the island, except for a few emergency vehicles and some electric vehicles for transporting things.

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I strolled thru the town to the other side, where the sand beach is located. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the season for swimming, thou there were a few a brave souls dipping in.

On this beach is located a sculpture dedicated for windsurfer Lee Lai Shan who is from the island and used to practise here. She is so far Hong Kong’s only Olympic gold medal winner.

And actually she will be the last one also, as Hong Kong has since become part of China. So all new winners will be presenting Hong Kong, China. Not Hong Kong anymore.

I can’t really understand what it must have been like to have your country move from under one country to another in such a bizarre way. I just don’t.

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Anyway, as I was pondering on this, I climbed up from the sand beach uphill towards something called the Mini Great Wall.

Turns out it isn’t a wall at all, but sort of a stone pier, which does look like the Great Wall when you are on it, so I suppose it is an apt name. I continued to tour the whole eastern stretch of the island while spotting all the alleged rock formations that they had.

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After finishing that I headed east, although I did take a detour to drop by in the town to find something to eat. I stayed away from the main street and instead found a nice little restaurant on a backstreet which seemed popular with the locals.

There was no English menu, which suited me fine. At least there were photos, so I opted for something that looked like some kind of cheese bake thing.

And it turned out to be some kind of cheese bake thing, with rice and meat in it. And it was absolutely delicious. The waitress was keen to ensure that I was enjoying my food and ice tea.

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So after resupplying myself I headed to the East corner of the island, where most of the caves on the island are located.

Most famous of these caves is the alleged hiding place of a pirate Cheung Po Tsai from the 19th century. There really isn’t evidence if he actually ever used it as a hiding place, which seems unlikely to me as apparently he had about 50.000 followers and either 600 or 1.200 boats, depending on if you believe Wikipedia or a sign on the island.

50.000 followers and a thousand boats?

You certainly can’t hide that in a cave. And to me those kinds of numbers sound more like a small navy, rather than a pirate fleet!

So it makes sense to me that when he did finally surrender to the Qing government, he actually got a position in the navy as a colonel, instead of beheading which probably would’ve happened to him in the west. The Chinese can sometimes be so practical about these things.

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And then it was time to visit the north tip of the island where you can actually get a good view of the town. And you understand how nice and peaceful the island truly is.

And for me it’s difficult to believe it is only 30 minutes away from the craziness known as Hong Kong, no skyscrapers, no neon signs, no million people, no constant stream of cars – and best of all, no noise.

A welcome break from Hong Kong.

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Tips for Visiting Cheung Chau

  • Cheung Chau is a good place for a day trip from Hong Kong if you want to some peace and quiet
  • There is a ferry from the Central Pier to Cheung Chau that runs every 30 minutes. There are two types of ferries, a high speed ferry that takes about half an hour and a normal ferry that takes about an hour
  • You can walk around the island, but it will be a long walk. You can also rent a bicycle, but there are a few places that you can’t reach with it
  • You can also stay on the island, but I recommend booking beforehand, and on weekends the price of accommodation skyrockets
  • There really aren’t restaurants or shops outside the main town on the island, so stock up on water and chocolate before you move out to explore the rest of it
  • Get a map; while it is difficult to get lost on the island (it’s a small island, so it’s impossible), it is still sometimes a bit difficult to know which way you should be heading to

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Have you been to Cheung Chau? Would you go if you were in Hong Kong?

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8 Comments

  1. Wow, I’ve always imagined Hong Kong to be packed with people. But it appears the areas you visited are ones in which you practically had the place to yourself. Beautiful photos also!
    Jennifer recently posted..We Cruised to GreeceMy Profile

    • Most of Hong Kong is packed with people, but there are quite a few islands in Hong Kong where you can get away from the crowds, which is nice

  2. This looks very peaceful – the only time I escaped from the bustle of central Hong Kong was down to Aberdeen, and the very dodgy Jumbo Restaurant boat. Good to know there are other options!
    Steve recently posted..Random notes from Shanxi ProvinceMy Profile

    • Yep, I do recommend the islands in Hong Kong, they are quite nice, and a lot less people than in Central Hong Kong

  3. I really like the photos you took. This makes me want to visit Hong Kong!
    Christine recently posted..Staying at a "Zero Star" Hotel and Loving ItMy Profile

    • Thanks, it is beautiful there! You should go!

  4. Having been to Hong Kong I agree this place looks completely different! It’s amazing what a difference a few miles makes.
    Nicole @ Green Global Travel recently posted..45 Things I Wish I Could Tell To My Younger SelfMy Profile

    • It is impressive, you’re still in Hong Kong, but it is a whole different world I had no idea existed before going there.