[WalkHK 2012]: 長洲 (Cheung Chau) day trip

Ok! Back with more on my SG-HK trip! How was your weekend? Hope everyone is feeling refreshed and ready for another week! Can you believe there’s only about a week until Christmas??!! 
Anyway, there’s been a massive break between my SG-HK posts, hasn’t there? I do apologise about that, everyone! Hope you all enjoy this post about our day trip to 長洲, Cheung Chau!
I went here with my Uncle and his family one weekend, the day before Mum arrived in HK. Cheung Chau is an old fishing village that’s situated about an hour’s ferry trip from HK Island. You can read more about it here. As we went there on the weekend, it was quite crowded with people of all ages – families, youths, couples. My Uncle said it’s quite a popular destination because it’s close-by. 

Ferry terminal – Kowloon side. 
I was actually quite surprised there were so many youths there, especially young couples, but it turns out it’s popular place for groups of friends to go for 1N2D trips to celebrate birthdays, end-of-exams, or just to have a good time.
HK view from ferry – Central/Wanchai side
It was a beautiful day! See the blue skies? Although there was cloud, it was still sunny and blue skies all day long. In fact, it was actually really hot! haha. 
We actually set out quite late – after a dimsum feast for breakfast/lunch. We were initially going to go to 2 places, but because we ended up leaving so late, we decided on Cheung Chau only. Plus, the other place was Lamma Island and I’ve been previously so I was more interested in going to Cheung Chau. Since we live in Hung Hom, we had to take a ferry to Central Pier then take the ferry to Cheung Chau.

Ferry is pulling into Central Pier!
I’m not a huge fan of ferries but don’t worry because it was a smooth ride all the way! If you are worried though, it’s best to take some motion sickness pills since there’s another ferry ride to come! Before long, we arrived at Central Pier and just had to find the correct entry (i.e., the entry to the correct ferry! We weren’t going to Peng Chau!..yet!). There’s a few ferries leaving from Central Pier so make sure you locate the correct one.
You can buy ferry tickets, but if you have the Octopus cards, you can just use those all the way.
That’s where we’re going!
I loved Cheung Chau the minute I stepped off the ferry and saw the sights of the place. I don’t mean it in a bad way, but it was so old. One look at the surrounds, at the housing and the different stalls, and you can tell people here just live simple lives. I think it would be a nice place to live, especially if you are of older age and looking to live simply and relaxing.
House in Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau as quite a history. My Uncle is very well-versed in Chinese literature and history (he studied it in University) so as we were walking, he was telling me all sorts of things about the place and the people. Even explaining some of the architecture to me. It was all very interesting! I highly recommend that you read up on Cheung Chau if you are planning to go. Unfortunately my Uncle doesn’t do tours, otherwise he would be a great guide! haha.

I couldn’t help but play with some of the effects on my camera to emphasise the aged look of the village, so I took some in Sepia mode =P hehe.

Do you see all those bicycles in the above photo? The roads are quite narrow, especially in between houses so bikes are the main mode of transport here. Of course there are cars and small lorries but they definitely wouldn’t be able to fit in the narrow laneways in between houses.

Lucky bun tower (toy one obviously..hehe).
One thing I find extremely interesting is the Cheung Chau Bun Festival which has religious origins, though unfortunately my Uncle said that a lot of people have forgotten the history behind the festival and now it’s commercialised and tourist-y. I’m sure there are still people who are aware of the history, but it’s promoted a lot more in the tourism domain now. Even walking along the street, there are stalls selling all sorts of lucky bun merchandise. 

My Uncle actually finds it unfortunate that when they do the Bun Festival now, the participants wear harnesses in case of injury – he said it’s not as exciting! haha. He’s such a daredevil =P
(clockwise top-left): Old theatre x 2, laneway, traditional security door
We passed an old theatre which is really run down from lack of use. The gates are all rusted and a lot of the stone structure and pillars have fallen in. There’s even a tree growing in it now. My Uncle said that because the population of Cheung Chau was so small, and there were few people visiting, the theatre slowly lacked attendance and was closed. I can’t remember how long it’s been closed for, but I’m glad that the building is still there. 
It’s unfortunate it closed, but imagine if you visited quite often and then they tore down the building? I don’t think I would like that much. It’ll be pretty sad. Or maybe I watch too many TVB dramas? haha. 
See that security door? It’s really unique, isn’t it? My Uncle said that it was always so hot and humid in the warmer months, but people didn’t feel safe just leaving their doors open to promote windflow. These are their olden-day security doors. It’s nothing like our ones nowadays! I love that I managed to chance upon this! 
Beach
Since I come from WA where we have some of the nicest beaches in the world, the beach didn’t really match our beautiful ones. But for a urban city like HK, with its concrete jungle, a beach like this with a wonderful view of the HK cityscape is a real blessing I think. I would’ve loved to jump in the water that day! It was just so hot! But…I didn’t have my swimwear, and skinny-dipping is just not my thing =P hehe. Plus, I’m sure it’s illegal, or if not, it’s definitely highly inappropriate with that crowd and young children around! haha.
As you can see, there’s quite a crowd on the beach so I guess this is one of the main things people do in Cheung Chau! If I lived in HK, I could see myself coming out on small trips with a bunch of friends and hanging out here…before going to BBQ or something.

(clockwise top-left): Oreo & chocolate milk shaved ice, watermelon juice, mango & watermelon milk shaved ice, mango grass jelly. 

You don’t think we walked around Cheung Chau without eating something, right? Of course we didn’t! haha. After walking around, my youngest cousin was complaining about the heat (and just about everything else actually) so we stopped off at a dessert place for some cooling refreshing desserts. I didn’t feel like anything milky, so I ordered the grass jelly. So yum! I love grass jelly and the cooling nature of it was sublime.

fishballs (left), frozen fruit stick (right)
Once you alight the ferry, there’s just this area that has SO. MUCH. FOOD! Cheung Chau is very famous for its fishballs. I don’t actually eat much fishballs so I didn’t find these that interesting. I did like the quail egg wrapped in pork mince, though it was deep-friend =( It was nice but a bit oily for such hot weather.
We also got some obanyaki which was too sweet for me, but I loved this frozen fruit stick! I saw this on a TVB travel show once and I actually saw the exact same store the hosts bought it from! hehe. It’s basically fruit on a skewer (a very long one) and frozen. It’s so refreshing, and the fruit is actually quite nice and sweet. It melted quite quick because of the hot weather so it’s a bit of a messy eat – you will need to prepare tissues and wetwipes! 
There’s plenty more to eat but since we had such a massive dimsum feast, we didn’t get too much. 
 
 Fishing boats

There are still a lot of fishing boats because the residents of Cheung Chau continue to go out early in the morning to bring in some seafood. They dry the seafood to sell to the public or to other companies that are based in HK. I bought some beautiful dried prawns for JS’ aunty. 
They don’t dry everything though! There is a massive strip of restaurants where we had dessert and the main feature is seafood! I would’ve loved to stay for dinner, but I was too full already. You really need to go there with a bunch of foodies so you can try their range of fresh seafood..hehe.
 
 
 Houses
I went for a short walkabout while waiting for my Uncle to finish his dessert – he also wanted to just bask in the air-conditioning a little longer. haha. 
I think most residents would know each other, which I think is great! I think they noticed that I wasn’t a local…or maybe that’s because I was snapping pictures of every. single. thing..? Perhaps..haha. 
 
 More houses…as the hill ascends. 

I didn’t really notice it much when walking, but Cheung Chau seems to have quite a few small hills. You can see from the above photo at how the houses are situated up the hill. Look how close they are too!
 
I spotted these two women cleaning fish! I hardly see scenes like this anymore – usually people are just gutting fish for me when I buy it from the seafood stores. But they’re just sitting there, in the middle of the afternoon, chatting away while cleaning small fish. I’m assuming they’re going to dry them – maybe salt them? But I don’t know. hehe. 
En route back home. 
So after exploring the entire island, we decided to head back to HK. It was a great day filled with lots of walking and exploring which was tiring but I found Cheung Chau so amazing. I’d definitely go back there one day – maybe one day I’ll bring my own family there? 
We reached Hung Hom at around 9ish…at which time we ate dinner =.=’ My Uncle’s family’s erratic eating times is one of the reasons I put on so much weight in HK! haha. We had noodles at a place my Uncle frequents and I ate yummy wanton! 

(clockwise from left): IFC tower, HK nightline – Central side, Central Pier
Hope you all enjoyed this post about our short day trip!!

Thanks for reading!^^ Have a great week ahead, everyone!

More on my SG-HK Trip 2012!
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