One of Hong Kong’s many charms is the variety of experiences in the immediate vicinity of a major international metropolis. As you’re wandering through the sleepy fishing villages or lazing the day away on the sandy beaches of Cheung Chau Island, it’s easy to forget you’re in Hong Kong. But the island offers much more than just pretty beaches and fresh seafood.
This small island -- even smaller than nearby Lantau -- was once a hideout of eighteenth-century Chinese pirate Cheung Po Tsai, who legend says plied the waters of the South China Sea pillaging the fishing villages he passed. Cheung Po Tsai Cave, one of his supposed safe houses, is open for exploration. Elsewhere on the island you’ll find waterfront walks and inland hikes winding past local temples, quiet beaches and lookouts with panoramic views over the South China Sea.
Each year during late April or early May, islanders celebrate the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, one of the more unusual cultural festivals in Asia. Thousands of competitors climb three 60-foot (18-meter) towers covered in steamed buns, trying to collect as many of the buns as possible in a quest to become King or Queen of the Buns. The higher up a bun is, the more it’s worth.