A Memorable Visit to Cheung Chau Village
The tiny island of Cheung Chau lies about 12 kilometers south-west of Hong Kong. Although Cheung Chau is the smallest of the outlying, inhabited islands of Hong Kong, it is the busiest and most populated. Visitors to Cheung Chau village on the island will find themselves surrounded by a fascinating blend of modern urbanization and traditional Chinese style.
The Cheung Chau Village community makes their living primarily from the sea, as have their ancestors before them, going right back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Countless fishing boats in different sizes, shapes and colors jostle for space with the water taxis in the harbor. The small water taxis, known as kaidos, are used to transport passengers along the shores of Cheung Chau Island or to the larger vessels anchored further out in the harbor. There are no cars on the island and most residents make use of bicycles to get around.
The island is shaped like a dumbbell, with granite hills at the southern and northern ends joined by a strip of land. It is along this strip that the majority of the island’s residents live and where the village of Cheung Chau is situated. The roads and alleyways of the village are very narrow, with rooftops of houses on the opposite sides of the road often meeting overhead. Houses mingle with dozens of little shops that sell just about anything imaginable, and tourists are sure to find a tasty treat to their liking from one of the many food vendors. The nearby Tung Wan Beach and Kwun Yam Wan Beach offer water sports and numerous other forms of recreation for visitors to enjoy.
Situated a few blocks from the port where the ferry off-loads its passengers is the beautifully decorated Pak Tai Temple. It was built in 1783 and dedicated to Pak Tai, a Taoist god of the sea and protector of the fishing community. A statue of Pak Tai, together with a 1,000 year old iron sword, is a prominent feature of the interior of the temple. It also features the statues of two generals known as Favorable Wind Ear and Thousand Li-Eye who were reputed to have the ability of seeing and hearing anything no matter how far away. Outside one of the temple’s side doors is a small sanctuary with an exquisite carving of a prowling tiger which looks as though it is coming out of the wall in a three-dimensional effect. In late April or early May each year, the Ching Chiu Bun Festival is celebrated in Cheung Chau Village with most of the festivities and religious traditions taking place in and around the Pak Tai temple. It is a merry occasion where buns are handed out for good luck and colorfully dressed children parade through the crowds on stilts.
When visiting Hong Kong, take some time out to explore Cheung Chau Village on Cheung Chau Island – it is sure to be a memorable experience.