16 Dec Our 10 Favorite Things to Do in Peng Chau
It’s been the greatest joy of our 2019 season–sharing the daily life of Peng Chau island with a select group of Little Adventures in Hong Kong’s guests. Peng Chau is the smallest Hong Kong island connected by a major ferry service to the mainland. It gets few tourists, has even fewer obvious attractions, and has basically been left to itself for decades. This is what attracted us to start running walking tours on the island two years ago, and it’s what led our director, Daisann McLane, to pack up her belongings after 14 years living in Central Hong Kong, and take a chance on a quiet place that’s only accessible by boat crossing from anywhere.
A year and a few months after her move, Daisann’s only regret about moving to Peng Chau is that she did not do it sooner. The island may be tiny (it’s less than one square kilometer) but it’s traditions run deep. With 6 major temples, and several martial arts schools, there is a local festival going on somewhere almost every week. Then there is the daily pleasure of being able to watch neighbors go out to sea in small boats, returning with buckets of local fish and seafood from Hong Kong waters. (And the bigger pleasure of being able to buy that fish steps from your door). For the restless, there are walks that lead to secret beaches or tall lookout points, and there are small ferries that go to other islands where you can take a more challenging hike up some of Hong Kong’s tallest mountains.
Living on the island has made our Island Life tour richer and more interesting for our guests. We now know the best fishmonger, the tastiest places to grab dim sum or vegetarian lunch. and we have discovered the interesting back trails and shortcuts to the best photo op places.
Speaking of photos, we have collected a few of our favorite Peng Chau vistas in this photo album, below. While we know that you’re probably coming to Hong Kong for our skyscrapers, dense urban neighborhoods, and our famous dim sum, noodles, and Cantonese food, we hope you’ll also leave some time during your stay to come visit our Magic Island.
Our 10 Favorite Things to do in Peng Chau, Hong Kong
- Get up before 7am and grab tea and a steaming basket of dim sum from the Ho King outdoor restaurant near the waterfront. This is THE place to be on a Peng Chau morning. It’s as bustling as a disco, seriously!
- Get to the fish market before 8am as the fishermen and women are coming in with their daily catch. See some big fresh shrimp or some glistening silver pomfret you would like for dinner>? Better buy it now, since it will have vanished by 9am.
- Climb the 96 meters to the top of Finger Hill, the highest point on our (relatively) flat island
- Visit the Sun Sat Store on Saturday or Sundays. This unique shop is the perfect place to relax with a cup of tea or coffee while browsing the owners’ trove of flea market treasures from around the world.
- Take a walk! Our favorite is the path that runs up the small hill through a farming valley, and then down to our rugged, rocky northern coast. You’ll see the island’s most stunning views across the harbour to the skyscrapers of Hong Kong island. It’s not strenuous, and the bang for your effort can’t be beat almost anywhere else in Hong Kong.
- In summer, hit the beach! Locals on Peng Chau have a secret–there are a couple of nice little sandy swimming beaches on our island’s coast. When it’s warm outside, follow the family trail along the northern coast of the island, starting from the ferry pier side. You’ll pass a helicopter pad, and about 300 meters later you’ll see our local bathing cove on the left.
- Pig out. We have a couple locally famous places to eat on the island. Our favorite is Fai Che, where Mr and Mrs. Kan run a superb Cantonese kitchen that is the equal of many famous places in Hong Kong island. You can bring your own seafood, or choose from their selection. And thanks to a big boost from local television programs the tiny coffee shop Kee Sam draws a crowd every lunchtime with Hong Kong foodies who come to Peng Chau to try the renowned shrimp toast.
- Save room for dessert—and for a glimpse of Peng Chau’s colonial past. Our friend Karen, a long time island resident, recently opened a little cafe inside the old Peng Chau elementary school complex. The school building dates from the 1930s. Tea and cake at Karen’s tearoom is a lovely way to experience a little piece of Hong Kong’s past. Don’t miss her amazing turmeric cake made with tumeric grown on her own island farm.
- Visit the wacky, wonderful gallery we call “Sherry’s Place”. Sherry, an artist and local resident, has created her own art installation inside a crumbling old leather factory in the heart of the island’s main street. She collects found objects and junk and re-purposes it into beautiful and bizarre environments. The installations are ongoing and always changing–a must see when you visit the island.
- Shop for beautiful pottery and Chinese antiques. Our friend Celine is from a family that has been in the Hong Kong porcelain and antiques business for two generations. On Sundays she opens up her store To Tsui Kok to the public. It’s one of the last of its kind in Hong Kong–an affordably priced shop that sells genuine rare lamps, furniture, woodwork, carvings and of course porcelain and pottery. Celine is incredibly knowledgeable about Chinese decorative arts and can tell you the history of every piece in the shop. Just across the street from To Tsui Kok you can buy modern pocelain made and hand painted by Mrs. Lam at Chiu Kee Porcelain Factory.