View from a table at a seafood restaurant on Cheung Chau
View stretching from Cheung Chau's Tung Wan Beach
Late afternoon Cheung Chau Wan panorama
Before I came to call Hong Kong home, I used to happily visit the Big Lychee in the summer as well as the cooler months of the year. This was something that puzzled a Hong Kong-based friend of the family who actually took to spending as much time as she could away from this part of the world during the hottest times of the year.
Since pretty much every territory that I care to visit also is pretty hot during this time of the year, I've not followed suit and, instead, tend to stay put in Hong Kong in the summer. With each additional year that I spend in the Big Lychee, however, it does seem like my tolerance for the summer heat and humidity has been decreasing. Indeed, I've found it to be more and more of a challenge to drag myself out to go hiking in the summer -- and, after a battle with my conscience, decided to temporarily put the Cheung Chau beach clean-ups I organize on hiatus until the end of next month (when the heat will feel more manageable than it has been in recent months).
Rather than stop going to Cheung Chau outright though, I've still been averaging a visit a month to it this summer. This is because this Outlying Island remains one of my favorite places in Hong Kong to bring friends visiting from abroad along with expat friends who haven't explored the Big Lychee as much as I have; this not least since it really does have a pretty cool combination of colorful culture (think such as the Bun Festival and related Piu Sik), nice scenery, tasty eats and -- if you don't go on a busy Sunday or public holiday -- laidback atmosphere.
Happily, the people I've introduced to Cheung Chau in recent months seem to all have been charmed by it too. An old college friend from the US took tons of photos on the island while her son jumped into the water off Tung Wan beach without much invitation and probably would have stayed there the whole afternoon if given the option to do so! On another visit, an expat South African friend and I enjoyed a seafood lunch, a stroll in the hot afternoon sun and drinks to combat the heat at an old beach bar with idyllic views that also was a big hit with a family from the Netherlands (or, more accurately, the parents -- as the teenaged son found the ginger ale ordered too, well, gingery!).
Just 35 minutes away from Central by fast ferry (and about 50 minutes by "ordinary" ferry), Cheung Chau really can seem a world apart from the skyscraper city that many people mistakenly think that Hong Kong entirely is. On my most recent visit to the island, I even got to noticing that there's at least one single storey building there -- a rare (and precious) sight indeed in the Big Lychee! ;b