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Cheung Chau: Snatching the Island Way of Life

Hong Kong is a megacity with modern skyscrapers, sophisticated technology, and a financial market that caters to the world. It’s an important hub for international trade and several multinational companies in various industries. Many expats choose to move to Hong Kong for good reason. 

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the people’s Republic of China, better known as Hong Kong for short, is an advanced metropolis with 7.5 million residents. It is the center of action for the Asian market, with very low crime rates and a high standard of cosmopolitan living. At the same time, it has its own unique flair as the culture and food here are distinctly East Asian.  

These factors all make Hong Kong a wonderful choice for ex-pats to live in. There’s more to Hong Kong than just the main island. Hong Kong Island is just the second largest in the territory, with the largest being Lantau.  

Hong Kong is home to hundreds of islands but only a handful are populated. Each of Hong Kong’s outlying islands have its own character and sits just a short ferry ride away from the city.  

Big city living isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for a slower pace, consider moving to one of Hong Kong’s outlying islands. This gives you the best of both worlds, as you can enjoy nature, peace and quiet, with the hustle and bustle of the city just minutes away. 

We’ve already explored one neighboring island, Lamma Island in our earlier blog entry. Now, let’s visit another popular island amongst the expat community – Cheung Chau.  

Located between Lamma Island and Lantau, Cheung Chau is one of the oldest populated islands in Hong Kong. It has a population of 23,000 (about the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) with over 200 ex-pats living here. The island has a close-knit, friendly community that warmly welcomes visitors.  

Due to its distinct shape, Cheung Chau has been nicknamed “dumbbell island.” The charming little island has no motorized vehicles, so people travel by bicycle or on foot. This gives the island a relaxed, laid-back vibe that attracts people who want to get away from hectic city life.  

Housing and living costs are much cheaper in Cheung Chau than in other parts of Hong Kong. The minimum rent in Hong Kong is 1,900 USD for a 1-bedroom apartment away from the city center or 2,550 – 3,850 USD for a bigger place closer to the city center.  

In Cheung Chau, you can rent an apartment for an average of 1,000 USD per month. This makes it a popular choice amongst people working in the city who want to get away. Cheung Chau is extremely easy to commute to from Hong Kong Island via fast ferry which just takes 35 to 40 minutes.  

There are many fun activities to fill your calendar with if you opt to live in Cheung Chau. The best pastime here is to explore the natural wonders of the island. The Cheung Chau Family Trail spans eight kilometers around the island, from the ferry pier along the coast. This path offers breathtaking views of the ocean and features a miniature Great Wall of China.  

Cheung Chau also has great beaches close to the ferry pier. Tung Wan Beach is a popular spot to swim, kayak, paddle board or even windsurf. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars nearby to grab some refreshments after your outdoor adventures.  

Heading to the southwestern tip of the island will take you to Sai Yuen Farm, an outdoor adventure playground covering 11 acres of land. Here, you can find treetop canopy walks, archery, and the only glamping site in all of Hong Kong. They also host the annual Shi Fu Miz 3-day music and art festival which draws in hundreds of visitors.  

The biggest event on the island, however, is the annual Bun Festival held every May. The unique festival originated over 100 years ago when a plague struck the island and the locals offered buns to the gods hoping the plague would end. This strategy worked, and the parade is held annually until today.  

This week-long celebration brings the small island to life with parades, lion dances, martial arts demonstrations and much more. It culminates with the unique Bun Snatching Contest where participants climb a tower covered in buns and compete to grab as many as possible. It’s an unforgettable experience worth seeing at least once in your life! 

Cheung Chau is a vibrant, fun and practical choice for expats to move to in East Asia. While East Asia, which includes China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan, is more expensive to live in than Southeast Asia, it’s still relatively cheaper to live in than most places in the United States or Europe. 

Renting a place in central Hong Kong would save you 30% compared to New York City. However, you could save even more by moving to an outlying island such as Lamma Island or Cheung Chau. This makes island life not only more pleasurable but more practical too. 

If living in close proximity to the city while enjoying a more laid-back lifestyle is your vibe, then Cheung Chau is perfect for you. Say goodbye to trains, cabs and traffic and hello to tranquil walks and bike rides with stunning ocean views. This island promises you a peaceful, sunny, and happy flip flop life.   

It’s time to Do Life Right!  

What are you waiting for? We hope that this inspires the spirit of adventure in you. If you want to add some spice to your routine, say goodbye to the city and hello to the island, let’s go!   

Don’t forget to pack appropriately. You won’t need those stuffy business suits or constricting dress shoes. A comfy and stylish pair of flip flops will do.   

Check out our flip flop reviews and recommendations here on Flip Flop Daily to find your perfect pair to take along on your island adventures.