Last Updated on May 12, 2021 by queenie mak
One of the best things to do in Hong Kong is to explore the outlying islands of the Island District. Out of the 263 outlying islands, there are a handful of islands worth visiting and one of them is Cheung Chau Island.
Located 10km southwest of Hong Kong Island, Cheung Chau is a favourite weekend destination for locals and travellers. Visitors to the “dumbbell island” (because of its shape), spend the day exploring the hiking trails, secluded beaches, and eating fresh seafood. These are just some of the best things to do in Cheung Chau.
But there are many more things to do on the island! With proper planning, you can see the best Cheung Chau attractions all on the same day. Or you can follow my efficient one-day Cheung Chau itinerary and simply enjoy the experience itself. Keep reading and I’ll show you how.
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What you need to know before going to Cheung Chau Island in Hong Kong
Before you take a day trip to Cheung Chau, take a look at my Hong Kong solo travel guide. I included a lot of useful travel information.
Here are few additional tips specifically for going to Cheung Chau Island for the day:
- Besides following my one-day itinerary, there are many other things to do in Cheung Chau, including windsurfing, kayaking, surfing, and yoga.
- Cars are not allowed on Cheung Chau. This is why there are so many bicycles. And you can rent one if you want to see the island on two/three wheels:
- Single bike rental: $20HKD/hour or $40HKD all-day
- Tricycle bike rental: $30HKD/hour or $70HKD all-day
- Time your visit to Cheung Chau and attend the Bun Festival – an annual Cheung Chau festival in the spring (around April/May) with parades, lion dances, costumes and giant bamboo towers with steamed white buns!
How to get to Cheung Chau Island
The most common way to get to Cheung Chau is by taking the Sun Ferry (ordinary or fast ferry) from Central Pier #5.
- Sun Ferry: from Central Pier #5 to Cheung Chau Pier
- Time: 1 hour (ordinary ferry), 40 minutes (fast ferry)
- Cost for Mondays to Saturdays: $14.20HKD (ordinary class), $22.30HKD (deluxe class), $28.10HKD (fast ferry)
- Cost for Sundays and Public Holidays: $21.20HKD (ordinary class), $32.50HKD (deluxe class), $40.70HKD (fast ferry)
- Check: Sun Ferry website for ferry timetable and cost
There are other inter-island ferries that can take you to Cheung Chau as well. They pick up passengers from Peng Chau, Mui Wo and Chi Ma Wan. The ferries are not as frequent so make sure to check the schedule before you plan your day.
- Sun Ferry: from Peng Chau to Mui Wo to Chi Ma Wan to Cheung Chau Pier
- Time: from 20 minutes to an hour (ordinary ferry)
- Cost: $14.00HKD (ordinary class)
Cheung Chau Ferry Schedule
There is a comprehensive schedule in front of Central Pier #5 and it looks like the photo below. For the latest schedule and cost, check the Sun Ferry website for more information.
Complete 1-day Itinerary: Best things to do in Cheung Chau in one day
Cheung Chau is quite big but if you plan properly, you can see all the best attractions in one day.
I put together a detailed one-day Cheung Chau itinerary on a Google Map. All you need to do is to follow the numbers. I also included a description of each of the pinned locations below.
1. Cheung Chau Family Walk
When you arrive at the Cheung Chau Pier, turn left immediately on Pak She Praya Road and follow the pedestrian road.
At first, you will see many vendors selling souvenirs and snacks. Don’t worry, you’ll come back here later to pick up some food and souvenirs.
Pak She Praya Road merges with the Cheung Chau Family Walk, where the path takes you around the perimeter of the west and north sides of the island.
The Cheung Chau Family Walk looks like this (and this is your walking route for the first half of the day):
2. Tai Kwai Wan Garden
Keep walking until you see a walking path on the right. Turn right and walk up the hill.
Not far away is the Tai Kwai Wan Garden. It is a little park where you can take a break before climbing up the Cheung Chau Family walking path. I’m not sure there is much to see as it was closed when I was there.
3. Coral Beach (Tung Wan Tsai Beach)
The Cheung Chau Family Walking path will lead you uphill towards the other side of the island. It is quite a bit of a hike but the next destination, Coral Beach, is quite impressive.
When you follow the trail, turn left when you see a sign pointing to Coral Beach. At the top of the stairs, follow the path until you see two paths merging into one. Keep walking straight. When you see a large rock on the left, turn right and walk down the flight of stairs.
Keep walking down the flight of stairs. Along the way, you’ll see many rocks on the side of the mountain and then a panoramic view of Coral Beach from above.
I’ve been to Cheung Chau several times and haven’t been to the north part to visit Coral Beach. The north part of the island is not popular but it is worthwhile to see this off-the-beaten-path area in Cheung Chau.
I went on a weekday, and there was only one other person at Coral Beach. The beach is quite small but relatively clean. It is a good spot to take a dip in the turquoise blue water and a short break before moving onto the next spot.
4. Lookout Platform
When you are ready to keep going, you don’t have to climb up the stairs you just descended from. But you’ll have to walk up the set of stairs on the other side of Coral Beach.
Along the way, you will see views of Coral Beach and the landscape of northern Cheung Chau Island.
And soon enough, you will reach the lookout platform.
5. North Lookout Pavilion
Keep following the set of stairs all the way to the North Lookout Pavilion. The entire path is exposed to the sun so it can be quite hot. Make sure you have sun protection (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, etc). I even see some locals with umbrellas! Ha!
At the North Lookout Pavilion, it is the highest point of the northern part of Cheung Chau Island. Here you can see an awesome view of the central part of Cheung Chau Island. If you google Cheung Chau, this is probably the scenery you will see (see the main photo).
6. Pak She Tin Hau Temple
After a long hike in the scorching sun, the rest of the hiking path back to the main town is quite easy. And it will be all downhill!
Follow the path until you reach an area with a few covered pagodas. Keep walking straight. There is a small path that goes down the hill. This is still part of the Cheung Chau Family Walk.
Continue walking until you reach a junction where there is a playground at the end of the path. Turn left here. There are signs that will lead you to Pak She Tin Hau Temple.
And as you approach the town, Pak She Tin Hau Temple is located on the left side. However, the temple is behind a closed gate (when I visited) and it looks like it is part of an elderly home. Since the gate was closed, I couldn’t go in but was able to snap a photo (see below).
There are many “Tin Hau Temples” in Hong Kong. These temples are dedicated to Tin Hau, a Chinese sea goddess, which is why there are many Tin Hau temples around the outlying islands of HK, including Lamma Island and Peng Chau.
7. Pak Tai Temple (Yuk Hui Temple)
Not far from Pak She Tin Hau Temple is the colourful Pak Tai Temple also known as the Yuk Hui Temple.
Built in 1783, Pak Tai Temple was built to commemorate Pak Tai, who was regarded as the God of Water. Worshippers visit the temple and wish for longevity and safe navigation on the sea.
The temple has a typical Chinese temple layout where there is the main hall in the centre and side halls on both sides. But what sets it apart from other temples are the decorative elements.
Throughout Pak Tai Temple, you will find trencadis mosaic that features several auspicious animals, like a dragon, phoenix and tiger. And don’t miss the colourful eaves board which depicts either a traditional story or has a lucky pattern, and the elaborate Dragon Pillars.
8 & 9. Lunch at a seafood restaurant or have snacks around Tung Wan Road area
After the morning stroll around the north end of Cheung Chau Island, it is time for lunch!
Cheung Chau is known for fresh seafood. There are many al fresco seafood restaurants along Pak She Praya Road. You would’ve seen them when you walked past earlier in the day.
And eating seafood is pretty affordable in Cheung Chau. You can pick and choose two seafood dishes for $168HKD.
But if you don’t feel like a sit-down lunch or think that is too much food for dining on your own, there are other food options in Cheung Chau. And you can find them around Pak She Praya Road and Tung Wan Road.
Here are some of my favourite places and the must-eat food in Cheung Chau:
- Cheung Chau Mochi (長洲平記) ($) – you must try Cheung Chau’s famous mango mochi! This vendor sells the softest and fluffiest mochi with a fresh piece of mango inside! And only for $15HKD!
- Frozen Fruits ($) – I’m not sure the name of this place, but I pinned it on the map so you can try a slice of frozen watermelon.
- Cheung Chau Tung Yuen Street Snack (長洲東源小食店) ($) – they sell giant fish balls costs $10HKD for 2 fishballs. Choose from the plainest original flavour to the spiciest ???
- Steamed Buns (永佳餅店) ($) – they sell the wheat buns with sweet fillings
- Cheung Chau Corner ($$) – a colourful cafe that serves delicious roll cakes and fancy tea drinks
- Valor Coffee ($$) – try their unique pineapple ice-dripped coffee or coconut ice-dripped coffee
- N1 ($$) – get a coffee with breakfast or burger
10. Tung Wan Beach
The exploration of Cheung Chau Island continues after lunch. And first, a quick visit to Tung Wan Beach, the main beach at Cheung Chau.
The long stretch of golden sand is the perfect spot for any weekenders who wants to spend some time in the sun. It is the most accessible beach from the ferry pier but probably the busiest.
Along the way, you’ll see the Love Lock Garden and several boutique shops on Tung Wan Road.
Here is a map of the walking trail for the afternoon during your one day tour around Cheung Chau Island:
11. Cheung Chau Rock Carvings
Walk along the pedestrian walkway parallel to Tung Wan Beach. As you walk towards the southeast direction, you will approach the Cheung Chau Rock Carvings.
But keep and an eye out for the rock carvings because the rock itself is quite small and is behind a fence. I walked by it a few times because it is not obvious and it’s near the upper part of the pedestrian walkway.
Not sure how they discovered this back in 1970 but these ancient rocks are declared official monuments in 1982.
12. Kwun Yam Wan Beach
Keep walking along the beach and you’ll approach Kwun Yam Wan Beach.
This looks like an extension of the main beach, but most people come here for water sports like kayaking and surfing. There is also a cafe between the two beaches.
13. Kwun Yam Temple
Keep walking towards the end of Kwun Yam Wan Beach. There is a small path the weaves through the small houses by the beach. The small pathway will lead to the back of Kwun Yam Temple.
This Taoist temple is a small red temple with a camphor tree sculpture of Kwun Yam, the Goddess of mercy.
14 & 15. Chi Ma Hang Viewpoint along Cheung Chau Mini Great Wall
And right next to Kwun Yam Temple is the start of the Cheung Chau Mini Great Wall hiking trail. The paved path is an easy hiking path where you will see many rock formations that resemble different animals and other objects.
The paved path starts with a slow incline but levels off. And soon enough, you will reach the Chi Ma Hang Lookout Pavilion, where you can get an excellent view of Tung Wan.
Continue walking on the path all the way until the end. Half way through the Mini Great Wall trail, there is a stairway on the right that will lead to the south part of Cheung Chau. Remember this spot because you will come back here and walk up the stairs.
16. Kwun Yam Wan Lookout
At Chi Ma Hang Lookout Pavilion, there is a set of stairs that will lead to the coast. Walk down the flight of stairs that zigzags down the side of the island.
On the way down and at the bottom, you can see a rock protruding from the water. This is the Loaf Rock, one of many rock formations around the southeastern part of Cheung Chau Island. Does it look like a steamed bun or bread to you?
At the bottom is another pagoda, Kwun Yam Wan Lookout Pavilion. It is almost at sea level where you can appreciate the island from another perspective.
17, 18, & 19. Rock formations along the Mini Great Wall
Along the entire path of the Mini Great Wall trail, there are signs and directories for finding all the rock formations around the Mini Great Wall. I pinned some of them on the map to show the location but I wasn’t able to find all of them. Here are rocks you will see:
- Loaf Rock
- Rock of the Ringing Bell
- Eagle Rock
- Fa Peng
- Rock of the Serpent
- Goat Rock
- Human Head Rock
- Rock of the Sleeping Crane
- Rock of the Skull
- Elephant Rock
- Rodent Rock
- Rock of the Sleeping Cat
- Yuk Saai Shek
- Camel Rock
- Zombie Rock
- Tortoise Rock
I was able to see most of them. Some are either behind the bushes or not really visible. And for some of them, I can’t really see the resemblance of what they are supposed to look like. Do you see them? Let me know in the comments!
Anyway, once you are back on the main Mini Great Wall trail, keep going until the next set of stairs. When you walk down, you can see Rock of the Ringing Bell, Eagle Rock and Goat Rock.
Then return to the main trail again until you reach the end where you will see Jade Seal Rock. From this point, you have to backtrack halfway and explore the southern side of Cheung Chau Island.
20. Nam Tam Tin Hau Temple
Remember the set of stairs that leads to the south side of Cheung Chau Island? Return to that spot and climb up the flight of stairs. Keep following the path around the perimeter of the southeast part of Cheung Chau Island for about 20 minutes or until you reach Nam Tam Tin Hau Temple.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are many “Tin Hau Temples” in Hong Kong and Cheung Chau has two. This Tin Hau Temple is bigger than the one in Pak She.
But if you are like, someone who doesn’t know much about the temple culture, you can still enjoy the colourful architecture. Plus, the temple is surrounded by sand and rocks of Nam Tam Wan – the perfect spot to take photos and explore the coast.
21. Tin Fuk Ting
Continue on the hiking trail until you reach the villages in the central part of Cheung Chau Island.
There is a pink pagoda on the way to the southwest side of the island. It is called Tin Fuk Ting, and it is a little resting spot in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. I’m not sure what the significance of this pagoda but perhaps it is built on an elevated part of the path, and you can get a good view of the central part of Cheung Chau?
22. Pak Tso Wan
Continue walking the path for another 20 minutes. There are signages along the way so don’t worry, you can’t get lost.
The path meanders through the southern part of Cheung Chau Island and weaves through villages and Cheung Chau Cemetery.
After the cemetery, there is a small road on the left with a sign pointing to Pak Tso Wan. Follow the path, and you will reach the beach at Pak Tso Wan, also known as “Italian beach.”
This beach is frequented by locals because it is pretty secluded and the water is quite calm. But when I was there, I didn’t see anyone in the water but did see a few people trying to collect some type of shellfish in between the rocks.
23 & 24. Reclining Rock (Ng Hang Shek) at Stingray Bay (Po Yue Wan)
Next to the beach at Pak Tso Wan, there is a small path leading towards the west side of the island.
Follow this path, and it will lead you to five large boulders, including the Reclining Rock (Ng Hang Shek) at Stingray Bay (Po Yue Wan).
There is a small sandy and rocky area between the Reclining Rock and the other side of Stingray Bay. If you want to save some time and not backtrack onto the main path and continue the itinerary, walk across the sandy and rocky area to the other side of Stingray Bay.
Depending on the time of the day, the water might be high enough that you will get your feet wet. But I would recommend moving forward even if you have to take off your shoes to walk across because you will save a lot of time. You can walk on the sand or top of the large rocks. The walk across takes all of 2 minutes.
The alternative is to backtrack to the main road and continue to Cheung Po Tsai Cave (see route here).
25. Cheung Po Tsai Cave
After you cross over Stingray Bay (or backtracked back to the main road and made your way to western tip of Cheung Chau), explore Cheung Po Tsai Cave, one of the best attractions in Cheung Chau.
Named after Cheung Po-Tsai, who was a famous pirate back in the 1800s who led a pirate fleet of 1,200 junks and over 50,000 men. During the battle between the Portuguese and his pirate fleet, he hid on the western end of the island. And apparently, this is the cave that he hid in.
The cave entrance is at the end of the path and on the right side of the large boulder. There is a sign pointing to the ground indicating that the entrance. The height of the cave is about 1 meter. It is moist and damp inside. Use a flashlight from your smartphone if it helps to navigate your way inside the cave.
I didn’t see anyone going in while I was there and I am deathly afraid of small spaces, so I didn’t go in.
But I can confirm that the entrance is on the western side; you can walk through the cave and come out the other end. If anyone is brave enough to see this cave, let me know your experience in the comments.
26. Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple
After seeing the famous cave (or not), continue on the path to Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple.
Yup, another Tin Hau Temple. This 200-year old temple is kept quite well and has many old banyan trees around the premise.
27. Take the small boat at Sai Wan Pier back to the main pier
There are two ways to get back to Cheung Chau ferry pier from Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple.
The easiest way is to take a small ferry boat at Sai Wan for $10HKD. The ride takes about 8 minutes, and you’ll see the water scenery on the way to the main pier.
Simply catch a small boat at Sai Wan pier (either at the actual pier or off to the left side), and pay $10HKD cash.
Or if you still have energy, you can follow the pedestrian walkway from Sai Wan Pier to the main pier. The walk takes about 20 minutes.
28. Catch the sunset before you leave
Depending on your timing and the weather, you might be able to catch a beautiful sunset near the main Cheung Chau ferry pier. There are several benches facing the harbour where you can enjoy seeing the sun set below the horizon.
I bought a slice of frozen watermelon and enjoyed it on the bench. It was such a refreshing treat after a long day of exploring. And the sunset was definitely one of the top sunsets in HK!
29. Pick up some souvenirs before going back to Hong Kong Island
Remember the vendors near Cheung Chau ferry pier? This is a good time to pick up any souvenirs before you head back to Hong Kong.
There are many souvenirs related to the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, like steamed bun keychain, steamed bun cushions, etc. And you can actually buy a real steamed bun and have it on your way back to HK.
Or if you love cooking Chinese food, you might be interested in buying dried seafood as it is what the island is known for.
Are you ready to spend a day on Cheung Chau Island in Hong Kong?
Wow, that was a long day exploring Cheung Chau Island! But if you only have one day in Cheung Chau, you can see the best attractions by following my itinerary.
And if you are interested in exploring other islands in Hong Kong, check out Lamma Island or Peng Chau.
Let me know if you tried this itinerary or if you have any other suggestions for making this an even more awesome itinerary.