Yes, I (partly) live in Hong Kong – my other Daddy lives there, so I’m almost always there, too. HK is cool – sometimes, I think, more than people actually think it to be. I think this is because – while many people only see “shopping, shopping, shopping” when coming here – there is more to HK than (just how they say it) meets the eye.
And here, I personally think this island (that’s still part of HK) called Cheung Chau best shows why.
So me and my two Daddies went there one time, and I found out how… good “rustic” living can be. My other Daddy (the one who isn’t based in HK) uses this word (“rustic”) when he refers to something provincial; but I don’t think he only refers to living in a “small provincial town” (Belle said it first, HA HA!). I think it also means being… part of “simple living”, of a life that is not as “touched” by everything “modern”.
This is not to say there’s nothing to do in “rustic” places. Because after changing of ways of seeing, there’s just as much to do here, too.
And in the case of Cheung Chau, and here are five things I discovered you can (also) do there (and in HK for that matter, aside from just shopping, shopping, shopping).
As an island with a fishing village, everything seafood-y here is good… and cheap. So this is the usual – first – lure of Cheung Chau. You come here to eat, eat, eat.
There’s a lot to choose from, and I recommend “avoiding” the usual meaty stuff. Instead, try everything with seafood here – from the fried rice (with seafood), to the veggies (with seafood), to the fish soup (yes, that’s seafood), and so on.
(p.s. I ate my veggies, and HK Dad was happy!)
Beyond the meals, try the sweets. I personally liked the mango puff balls (available from this vendor by the bay). It’s like eating mango ice cream coated in soft dough; it melts in your mouth. HK Dad said for me to say “You heard it from me first” when recommending this to others (!). The sugar-coated fruits weren’t bad, too. I can eat more, more, more. But of course HK Dad had to tell me “No”.
- Go rustic.
Forget living the “high life” as you may in downtown HK (where everyone seems to be rushing, everyone’s lost in their gadgets while walking, everyone’s lost in their own world). Instead, here, live “simply”. Yes, the gadgets are all still there; but so does living easy – like doing lazy walks to go from one place to another, bicycling by the bay, fishing, and so on…
If this is “rustic”, then it doesn’t seem so bad…
Of course, considering this is HK, shopping still happens. But here, not everything that can be bought are too “commercial”. HK Dad said many goods are “local”; and I had to agree. After all, how local can you get when – after catching some starfish from the waters, and then drying them by the bay – they are immediately sold as goods for whoever wants to buy them?
Of course in HK you can walk along the Boulevard of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, but there, you’d be surrounded by tourists (non-HK Dad said it’s a “tourist trap”, but I told him I can’t find the “traps” he’s talking about, which made him laugh) and… the water isn’t clean. But here in Cheung Chau, the overall feel is different. Thanks to less tourists, the cleaner environment, the locals going about their business, and so on.
Aside from shopping/keeping or eating what you end up buying while walking, be sure to also check the hidden “treasures” in the waters. I saw lots of bicycles under water… and some trinkets, too. I think Ariel would have been happy dropping by.
Non-HK Dad said it’s called “immersion”, and that I’d understand what it means soon enough. I think he really only means engagement with everything local. He uses big words sometimes, but I still get what he means. So for me, if it means… 1,2,3 and 4, then it’s all very good for me.
So yes, when in HK, avoid the “usual” spots. Discover newer “faces” of this place. And Cheung Chau doesn’t seem like such a bad place to do that.
HOW TO GET TO CHEUNG CHAU
The New World First Ferry company has a regular ferry service from the Central Pier #5 on Hong Kong Island to Cheung Chau. You can reach the pier by taking the MTR to Central Station or Hong Kong Station, and then walking towards the sea using the elevated walkway system. Look for pier #5 when there.
The trip can take from 35-55 minutes, with ferries running about every half an hour, alternating between fast and slow ferries.
Yes, there are other “options” available – like taking the inter-island ferry route that takes in Mui Wo on Lantau, Peng Chau, and Cheung Chau. From the Po Lin Monastery take Lantau Bus No. 2 that goes to the bus stop in Mui Wo , which is right beside the Mui Wo ferry pier where you take the inter-island ferry to Cheung Chau.