By: Brooke Chenoweth
Hong Kong is home to hundreds of little islands, with only a handful being populated. Each one has its own character and there are plenty of adventures to be had, just a ferry ride from the city.
Visit Cheung Chau on the 25 of May and witness one of the more interesting festivals you’re ever likely to see – the Bun Festival. This quirky festival dates back 100 years to a time when a plague struck this small island to the south of Hong Kong. The locals held a parade and made buns to offer the gods in the hopes that the plague would end. It worked, and today the parade is held annually. The festival itself lasts a week but the main event is the Piu Sik (floating colours) parade, where papier mâché deities and small children decked out in costumes and standing on pedestals are carried through the streets, and the bun scrambling at midnight where locals test the their strength by climbing a tower covered in buns, scrambling to pull as many of them off as possible. It’s usually crowded and hot, and there’s a bun fight to get on the ferries, but it’s definitely worth seeing at least once. You can also easily escape the madness and see the rest of this idyllic island while everyone else watches the parade.
Lantau is the largest of HK’s islands, and there are plenty of reasons to visit – the beautiful beaches, the hiking, and some pretty fantastic restaurants. The south coast of the island is dotted with some pretty cool villages too. The now famous Sea Ranch gives a glimpse into the life of expats 30 years ago, while Tai O is about as close as you can get to an authentic traditional village in the territory. Next time you’re thinking of heading over for a day at the beach and lunch at the Stoep, or a trip up to the Big Buddha, take the time to venture a little further afield: visit the buffalos, search for the elusive pink dolphins, and stop by Ark Eden or Dragontail Farm and get your hands dirty.
Dive into our gallery above for pictures of our Hong Kong island hopping adventure!
Peng Chau is another small island, located off the east coast of its bigger sister Lantau. Once an industrial hub, the island is now known for its laidback charm and scenic views of HK from the top of Finger Hill. There are plenty of abandoned buildings to explore if you’re feeling adventurous. Another option is to take a guided tour run by Growing Smart and Green Peng Chau Association – their aim is to bring awareness to the hidden treasures of Peng Chau – a day out with a bit of education thrown in for good measure!
Situated just a short 20 minute ferry ride away from HK island; Lamma feels a million miles away. Home to just 5000 residents, Lamma appeals to those who really want to get away from it all. There are no cars on this 13 sq/km island, which gives you the perfect excuse to explore on foot. Yung Shue Wan is the island’s main village, and it’s home to a number of great bars, cafes and shops. Some of the best seafood restaurants in HK can be found on Lamma, and some like Rainbow Seafood Restaurant even provide a ferry service to and from central. Man Fung Seafood also comes highly recommended. After lunch, take the family for a hike. The popular Family Trail cuts across the island to the village on the other side, Sok Kwu Wan. From there it’s a short walk to Lo So Shing beach, a little slice of paradise without the usual crowds of other HK beaches.