Cheung Chau Island is one of over 200 Hong Kong islands, located South-East of the biggest one: Lantau.
Chaung Chau is accessible only by ferry and I took mine from the Central Pier. It’s a slow one, getting to the island takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, so be prepared for that, if you ever decide to go there. Optionally, you can choose the “fast” ferry, but it will only save you about 30 minutes, and will lose you about twice the money.
The island is quite small, I think you could walk around it in just half a day, if you wanted it. Still, it is a very popular weekend destination among Hong Kongers. Not so many foreigners know or visit the place, so be prepared that there’s not much Western food there. In the Pier area, McDonald’s is all there is.
The island is famous thanks to a certain Cheung Po Tsai (which literally means Cheung Po “The Kid” – rings a bell?) – a local 19th century pirate, who in his days commanded an armada of over 600 junk boats and had around 50,000 followers. One of the key tourist points of the island is the cave that allegedly served as his hideout – I say allegedly, because it is so small, two men hardly fit it. I think if somebody had commanded 50,000 people, probably more than the British had soldiers in the area at the time, he probably would have comfortably lived in a house somewhere on the island. Kudos to the cave keepers, who put a sign on the way to the cave mentioning something like that…
The “hiking” was actually a nice, Sunday afternoon stroll with my girlfriend. No special equipment is necessary, there are paved paths everywhere you go. We walked around the whole southern half of the island. The path was altogether 9km long and it took us a little over three hours to complete – mind you, the total walking time was just two hours.
An interesting fact: the island seems to be a necropolis for Hong Kong people. So far it was the biggest concentration of graveyards I have ever seen in my life – post of the South-West shore of the island is covered with graves, most of them facing sea in the South.
All in all, the island gives a very pleasant impression. Not as crowded and filled with tourists as Lamma, Island, clean and mostly quiet. A good place to run away from the city on a weekend and hide from all the rush.