Living in Peng Chau

Cato Sze Peng Chau Street Life cartoon

Peng Chau is a small island situated to the west of Hong Kong Island. Often overlooked in favour of its larger neighbours Lantau and Cheung Chau, about 6,000 residents call this one square kilometre island their home. Despite its diminutive size, Peng Chau was an important fishing port and light industrial centre. It had some 200 fishing boats in the late 19th century and was also a centre for lime-making that was then shipped to Guangzhou, Macau, and Hong Kong to construct buildings. In the early
20th century, it had an important match factory, and other light industries included pottery, rattan products, and light bulb manufacturing. Now, the island is a sleepy town timeless in its historical appearance, with interesting gems such as vintage stores tucked away waiting to be stumbled across. A tranquil and relaxing environment, Peng Chau also boasts the lowest crime rate in Hong Kong. 

Peng Chau ferry pier

Food & Beverage

Peng Chau Hei Fai restaurant

As with most of the outlying islands, Peng Chau has small family-owned restaurants dotted around the town centre. In general, both the decorations and the fare are nothing fanciful, but the ingredients are quite often fresh and locally grown—a true taste of Chinese home-style cooking, if you will. Peng Chau is rather famous for its shrimp toast, deep-fried bread with a layer of shrimp paste that tastes much better than it sounds. Head to Kee Sum, a local joint that’s been around for over forty years on Wing On Street, for this traditional umami-filled treat. Alternatively, Bo Ma just down the street makes a good greasy omelette. For groceries, check out Peng Chau Market right near the pier, which is well stocked with fresh seafood. Small greengrocers, mostly located along Wing On Street, will sort you out for produce. 

Heritage & Culture

Peng Chau Lung Mo temple

If there’s one thing Peng Chau has in abundance, it is temples. The largest is Lung Mo Temple, built in the early 70s and dedicated to a sea goddess. The picturesque building houses a ‘dragon bed’ thought to bring good luck. There is also the Seven Sister’s Temple, which is popular among women praying for fertility, interestingly decorated like a lady’s chamber. Like all fishermen-dominated towns of old, there is of course a Tin Hau Temple, estimated to have been built in 1792, with a history of over 200 years. The original structure of the building has been retained even through several rounds of renovation. A point of interest within the temple is an eight-foot long whale bone which has supposedly been preserved for over a hundred years. The Peng Chau Heritage Trail will take you past remnants of the island’s industrial history, namely an old lime kiln (one of the 11 once situated on the island), and the remains of the Great China Match Plant, Hong Kong’s largest match factory which employed much of Peng Chau’s population until it shut down in the 70s. Additionally, look out for a colourfully graffitied doorway bearing the words ‘Leather Factory’ on Wing On Street—it leads to an artsy junkyard of sorts, where old bikes, chairs and machine parts have been repurposed to create sculptures and decorations, displayed with liberal usage of spray paint. Take your time exploring this curious little alley; we found lots of interesting details hidden amongst the chaotic amalgamation of creative pieces.

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Peng Chau old leather factory

For those who enjoy nature and hiking, head up Finger Hill, the highest point on Peng Chau where Fung Ping Pavilion has been erected. From this point, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Hong Kong, with Hong Kong Island in the east, Sunshine Island and Hei Ling Chau in the south, and Lantau Island to the west. Facing north, the Tsing Ma Bridge, Disneyland Resort, and the whole Peng Chau island can also be seen. The pavilion can be reached by turning right from the pier and walking southward along the island, then following signs up the slopes. At a certain point, the path splits; the left is a more direct route up via approximately 350 steps, while the left takes you on a sloping journey upwards, though the final leg of either path will involve stairs anyway. There is no lack of greenery in Peng Chau, but they’ve still constructed a lovely Seashore Garden situated right next to the pier, which includes a pavilion, a park and a basketball court. There’s also a sports complex nearby which is Peng Chau’s recreation and cultural centre. 

Peng Chau dried squid

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