Located right down the coastline from Repulse Bay, Stanley wins the hearts of many mid-class residents and visitors with its likeable village appeal and sense of laid-back charm.
This tranquil, yet teeming peninsula, encompasses a street market, old temples, recreational space, lush landscapes and a sandy stretch of beaches.
Stanley can be whatever you want it to be – outlying, decked out and racy – making the bay a relaxing enclave that welcomes residents and visitors to enjoy a lazy afternoon.
>> Related Article: Stanley District Watch ― A Favourite of the Rich and Famous
12:00 pm | Stanley Plaza
Most visitors start their venture at Stanley Plaza. Nestled on the waterfront of Hong Kong Island South, the Plaza is a shopping and leisure destination with a large portfolio of homeware shops such as Creative Co-Op Home, G.O.D and Homeless, as well as an array of dog-friendly outdoor dining options on the ground floor looking out to a junior playground and the ancient Tin Hau Temple and Murray House. Beef & Liberty and Classified are always packed, particularly on the weekend.
12:30 pm | Stanley Main Street – Smugglers Inn
Continuing this alfresco dining experience is a slew of seaside eateries and bars in Stanley Main Street, a dining stretch even more crowded and noisier than the Plaza. One bar that stands out is the Smugglers Inn, one of the oldest taverns in the area with trendy drinks on offer. In its pirate-themed interior you can sip a cosmopolitan next to coin-plastered walls while dancing to a vintage jukebox.
13:45 pm | Stanley Market
A five-minute walk from Main Street, vendors peddle Chinese arts, garments, accessories, gadgets and souvenirs at the Stanley Market, a tourist epicentre where you can always get some good bargains. There are several new F&Bs scattered across the market, but they are pretty hidden so you may have to meander through some narrow alleys to find them.
14:40 pm | Stanley Cave
Just as it’s named, Stanley Cave is hidden in the basement adjacent to Main Street. This little burrow serves the prettiest artisan breads and sweets with brunches available all day. It could be the best spot in Stanley to duck out in the sun on a hot summer’s day or to stay warm from the cold.
15:00 pm | Si Yik Café
After a walk through the market and lunch at Stanley Cave, you’ve earned a top-notch local delight. Be sure to visit the Si Yik Café hidden next to the Stanley roundabout. Though it appears a bit weathered and tattered, it serves probably the softest and most chewy Hong Kong-style French toast in the world. Sometimes people make the effort to Stanley just for the famous staple. The secret recipe? Not so secretive – you can watch how the toast is made through the ordering window. But expect a long wait here as the toast master makes his toast one by one, no exceptions.
16:00 pm | Stanley Main Beach
Take a stroll through Stanley Main Beach and feel its pristine sand and decent currents. Located on the east of the peninsula, the beach comes with an ocean sports area that attracts people to sail, windsurf and kayak. On the west side lies St. Stephen’s Beach, a smaller and less occupied beach offering a barbecue area.
17:45 pm | Waffleman
Before dinner, eating a waffle at the Waffleman seems like the right thing to do. The whole point of it is never about the desserts (though they’re sinfully good), but more about the massive terrace next to it. It’s a huge public area facilitated with couches and bar tables for visitors to have a delightful waffle and beers, a perfect place to lay back and enjoy a lazy sunset.
19:00 pm | Murray House
The 160-year-old Murray House is a restored colonial building that originally served as barracks from 1846, situated in Central. The Victoria-era style construction was moved to Stanley in 2002 and is now home to several restaurants and a three-storey H&M.
I settle at the King Ludwig Beerhall tonight charmed by its meaty ducks and salty pork knuckles. King Ludwig is a place that is heavy on flavour, but not so heavy on the wallet – a pork knuckle for two is priced at about HK$200.