Go Island Hopping in Hong Kong

May 13th, 2008

Cheung Chau island, Hong Kong
GET away from the teaming, madding (shopping) crowd and see a different side of HongKong by taking a ferry to one of the outlying islands – which was what I did during my recent trip to Hong Kong. For just over HKG 17, I boarded a ferry to Cheung Chau island and spent a relaxing, stress free day there.

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You know a vibrant fishing population still thrives on Cheung Chau island judging from the assortment of fishing boats parked at the ferry terminal. It gave the island a rustic, nostalgic feel.

The island is a haven for walkers.

There are no cars or buses on the narrow streets. It is but a small island so you can easily walk to the beach, take a dip in the sea, or hide under the shade of a seafront restaurant and nurse a iced cold milk tea. Or, explore life on the island by getting lost in the maze of homely streets.

I got lost and found myself at the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic church adjacent to a mission school. I was briefly entertained by kindergartern kids rehearsing their song and dance steps in the small church.

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For those yearning for an energetic workout, take a walk along the beach, pass the tallest hotel on the island and take the winding road to the Salesian Retreat Center for a panoramic view of the sea and island. The walk took about 40 mins. The friendly receptionist, Mdm Mok, told me that the hilltop retreat house is very popular with groups on retreat during the weekends.

Feeling hungry after the hike around the island? A Cheung Chau native told me the island was famous for its yu dan min or fish ball noodles (look for Cheong Kei, walk towards the right away from the ferry terminal) and dim sum (look for hiong shi hoi restaurant, walk towards the left away from the ferry terminal).

My friend and I had delicious dim sum for only HKG99, inclusive of a plate of stir fried vegetables. You picked what you wanted from the stacks of steaming hot dim sum displayed on the sidewalk, self-service style. No frills, no fuss.

To get to Cheung Chau island, take the MTR to Central and look for Pier 5. Opt for the slow ferry and the 50-minute scenic ride. The fast ferry shortens the travelling time to 30 minutes.

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