Exploring southeast Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

Submitted by Martin on Wed, 30/05/2007 - 15:00

Southeast Cheung Chau boasts paths that wind around headlands and curl up and over hillsides, passing through woodland, and near to naturally sculpted giant boulders, once grand but now ruined houses, a couple of temples, a tiny nunnery, and cliffs dropping to the sea. The main trail here is rather fancifully named the Mini Great Wall, but you can find other less known yet still fascinating paths to explore.

Perhaps the easiest route to the southeast is the path south from Tung Wan beach, to smaller Kwun Yam Wan. Just above Kwun Yam Wan is a small, garish red temple - and above this are a couple of trail junctions in a small valley (Fa Peng valley, to me). From one of these junctions, steps lead uphill - towards the Mini Great Wall.

A Brief History of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival 長洲太平清醮簡史

Submitted by Martin on Tue, 24/04/2007 - 22:13
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a kind of Jiao Festival - a festival that a village might hold every year or every few years. More specifically, it's a Tai Ping Qing Jiao [literal meaning: "the Purest Sacrifice celebrated for Great Peace"]. Such festivals were perhaps widespread across south China, but under Mao were regarded as feudal superstition, and were suppressed in mainland China.

Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre, Hong Kong

Submitted by Martin on Fri, 20/04/2007 - 16:46

So this is where it all began, the launding point for the career of Hong Kong's gold medal winning Olympian, Lee Lai-shan (San San): The Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre. Set on a tiny headland between Cheung Chau's two main beaches, the centre commands fine views of the island, and eastwards to Lamma and Hong Kong Island.

On the ground inside the lower entrance is a big white circle, painted around a point where a demonstration windsurfer is set up for landlubbers' lessons. It is divided into eighths, and annotated "90, beam reaching"" and "upwind beating"; two arrows lead out, then turn and point to the foot of the steps, where another important label is painted: "Beer".

At the top of the steps, at home among the crowd thronging the open-air bar, is Lai Kan, the centre's owner and teacher, and the man who introduced niece San San to windsurfing.

Brief history of Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, to the 19th century

Submitted by Martin on Fri, 30/03/2007 - 12:24

There is little written history regarding Cheung Chau before the 18th century. But even early last century, some islanders said their families had settled on Cheung Chau hundreds of years ago, and we can guess something regarding the very early history based on some archaeological finds and the history of south China.

Fragments of pottery, shells and a bone arrowhead found at Po Yue Wan (near Sai Wan, in the southwest) show there were humans on Cheung Chau during the Late Neolihic - and (though dates are considered unreliable) perhaps as long as six thousand years ago. Indeed, as human relics have been found from 5000BC (and - at one site near Sai Kung - even from 35,000-39,000 years old), it's likely that people have been in the Cheung Chau area for 7000 years or more.

Cheung Chau island, Hong Kong, in prehistory

Submitted by Martin on Fri, 30/03/2007 - 00:05

Though Cheung Chau has surely been settled - albeit not continuously - for thousands of years, it has only one well-known prehistoric site: the Bronze Age stone carving, just below the Warwick Hotel at Tung Wan. It's thought to be around 3500 years old, as the patterns carved into a granite outcrop are similar to those on pottery of similar age found in Hong Kong.

Hotels and holiday flats on Cheung Chau, Hong Kong 長洲的度假屋及酒

Submitted by Martin on Tue, 20/03/2007 - 11:19

Though Cheung Chau's hotels and holiday flats are modest compared to the fancy hotels in Hong Kong city, they also offer an "away from it all" experience compared to joints in densely packed Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay and Central. You can enjoy laid-back accommodation including places with balconies overlooking the beach and the South China Sea, with Hong Kong Island away to the east, and stroll the narrow streets, with no cars around unless the little police car trundles past.

North Cheung Chau including Coral Beach

Submitted by Martin on Mon, 12/03/2007 - 12:09

There's a path leading uphill from beside Pak Tei Temple, up past an old folks' home. Keep left, and up and up flights of steps, and you'll come to a small, concrete park. Turn right here, and you can continue uphill, leaving the village to pass through trees, with views over to Lantau Island on your left.

The path skirts a service reservoir (on hilltop, but below ground). Below, to the left, is a housing development at the bottom of a valley - evidently supposed to be like places such as Hong Lok Yuen, but seems many places not occupied.

There's a rough track, then steps, up to a pavilion with fabulous views over Cheung Chau, and across the sea to Lamma, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Lantau. Well, fabulous if you're here on a clear day, and especially good late on a sparkling afternoon.

Walking the southwest coast of Cheung Chau

Submitted by Martin on Fri, 09/03/2007 - 12:52

Though Cheung Po-tsai Cave is the best known tourist spot of southwest Cheung Chau, it's not the only place that's good for exploring. There's an excellent coastal trail, winding along a small cove, and a small bay with a beach, passing boulders where cacti grow (yes, wild cactus in Hong Kong), with excellent scenery.

This trail starts on the headland above Sai Wan village, at the southern end of the harbour (aka typhoon shelter). You can head there by walking along the waterfront road - which is popular with weekend and holiday cyclists and strollers.

Great things to do on Cheung Chau, Hong Kong 在長洲可以做的事

Submitted by Martin on Wed, 21/02/2007 - 18:34

Stroll Along the Waterfront

Strolling the waterfront's a good way of soaking up the island's atmosphere - way more laid-back than the hustling, bustling city. There are fishing boats in the harbour on one side; three-storey buildings with shops, restaurants and bars on the other. From here, you can explore further.