tiny island 12km southwest of Hong Kong, Cheung Chau is the smallest
of the inhabited outlying islands yet it is the most populated and
busiest. Urbanized, but in an odd China-style manner, the district
is brimming with Chinese junks and sampans that crowd the island's
Chau community survives mainly on the sources of the sea. Its harbor
is complete with all kinds of fishing boats in different sizes,
shapes, and colors. Since the harbor is relatively small, these
fishing boats compete with the omnipresent round kaido, small boats
used as water taxis, to transport passengers between Cheung Chau's
is a dumbbell-shaped island, with hills at the northern and southern
ends and a village in between. The thin, middle part of the island
is narrow enough that visitors can walk from Cheng Chau Harbour
on its west side to Tung Wan Harbour on the east in just a few minutes.
Cheung Chau Village, adjacent to the ferry dock, is a labyrinth
of alleyways and cars are non-existent at this end of Hong Kong.
A browse in any direction from the ferry terminal will pass both
modern and traditional shops and restaurants.
temple was completed in 1783 to commemorate Pak Tai, who is god
and protector of the fishing clan. The temple, located a short distance
to the left of the ferry dock, contains statues of two generals,
Thousand Li-Eye and Favourable Wind Ear, who were said to be able
to see or hear anything at any distance.
April or early May each year, Cheung Chau hosts a giant celebration
for a four-day Bun Festival, known as Ching Chiu in Cantonese. The
festival is highlighted with the erection of giant bamboo towers
comprising edible buns at the courtyard of Pak Tai Temple. The buns
are handed out for good luck in an orderly manner to participants
of the festival. Another interesting feature of this festival is
the 'floating children', colorfully clad children hoisted up on
stilts and paraded through the crowds. Other performances, such
as Chinese operas, lion dances, and religious services are displayed
to entertain both locals and visitors alike.
the island are several other temples dedicated to Tin Hau, Queen
of Heaven and goddess of the sea. Tin Hau is well respected here
by the fishing community who visit her temples to offer worship
and prayers for a better fortune and to protect them when out at
sea. Not only do the locals visit the many Tin Hau temples, but
even those from Hong Kong sometimes come over to pray.
Chau's primary beach is the Tung Wan Beach. However, despite its
popularity, the beach is not really as excellent as others on the
island. The beach sits on the other side of the narrow isthmus from
Cheung Chau Harbour. Other beaches include those at Tai Kwai Wan
and Tung Wan Tsai on the northern end.
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