China // Hong Kong and Macau //

Cheung Chau

Another great place to spend a couple of hours strolling around and then have dinner, hourglass-shaped Cheung Chau covers just 2.5 square kilometres but is the most crowded of all the outer islands, with a population of 23,000. Historically, the island is one of the oldest settled parts of Hong Kong, being notorious as an eighteenth-century base for pirates who enjoyed waylaying the ships that ran between Guangzhou and Macau. Today, it still gives the impression of being an economically independent little unit, the main streets jam-packed with shops, markets and more seafood restaurants. If you can, visit during the extraordinary Tai Chiu (Bun) Festival in April/May, when the island fills to critical mass with raucous martial-arts displays, dragon dances, and a competition to climb vast conical towers made of steamed buns.