STANLEY – HONG KONG
Hong Kong is a cool city, but it can also get crowded and overwhelming at some point. So if you book a trip to Hong Kong, consider visiting at least one of its beaches. I read a few blogs and browsed through the Lonely Planet and it brought me to the idea to take a little trip further south. After two full days of sightseeing in Hong Kong we were looking forward to enjoy beach life in Stanley, one of the oldest villages in Hong Kong Island.
You probably haven’t heard of Stanley so here’s a brief description of the place.
Stanley is located in the southern part of Hong Kong island. It has been a fishing village since before the British came to Hong Kong (annexation by the British in 1842). Since early 1970’s, Stanley gradually developed into a popular tourist destination. Shops popped up and stalls started offering a variety of apparel, souvenirs and accessories at Stanley Market. Pubs and restaurants clustered around the waterfront, offering a nice view on the bay, Murray House and Blake pier. The waterfront and Stanley Plaza are nice areas to taste some Hong Kong style food or western style dishes. Also, there are two nice sandy beaches to visit: Stanley Main Beach (also popular amongst windsurfers) and St. Stephen’s Beach.
Stanley has a really good vibe and is certainly a nice getaway if you’re tired of the city. We’ve set up a list of hotspots you shouldn’t miss:
One of the highlights of Stanley is its lively market which is situated between streets and alleys around Stanley Market Road. If you like colorful and cheap clothing and (kitsch) souvenirs, this is the place to be. We liked to stroll through the market since it offers a good atmosphere and funny things to watch (or buy). If you really make an effort you might find a cool bracelet or an exotic souvenir to take home.
Tip: there are some nice galleries behind the market where you can purchase some real cool paintings of Hong Kong icons and landscapes.
STANLEY MAIN STREET
Stanley Main Street houses several restaurants, pubs and bars with terraces overlooking the waterfront. However, it was a bit touristic to our taste so we didn’t really sat down at the cafes.
Buy your own drinks or lunch/dinner at Stanley Plaza supermarket (2nd floor) and have a picnic at the waterside or;
Go to Blake Pier (next to Murray House) and eat your breakfast here – also bought at the supermarket. In the weekends you’ll spot people practicing Tai Chi on the pier, how awesome!
For those who like shopping, Stanley Plaza is a nice (but small) shopping mall to spend some time at. The complex houses restaurants, design shops and clothing stores. There’s also a large supermarket where they sell pretty good meals (sushi) and sandwiches to take away.
RooMi: sells clothes and design stuff to decorate your home.
Goods of Desire – G.O.D. (Proudly Hong Kong): a very nice lifestyle shop featuring homewares, fashion and premium gifts with a distinct Hong Kong touch.
Le Magasin: cheese and delicacy store located in a nice street.
Saffron Bakery Cafe: delightful pastries and bread in an old British surrounding.
TAKE A HIKE
Stanley has a hidden hotspot which you shouldn’t skip! There’s an actual hiking trail located just behind Murray House (behind the pier). The elevated wooden paths take you through nice green areas, temples and hidden beaches. Wear some comfortable shoes, bring sunscreen, a hat, a bathing suit (just in case) and some snacks and drinks (including water).
The first stop you’ll make is at a beautiful temple, called the Pak Tai Temple. If you walk a bit further down (take the stairs), you’ll get to a nice rocky area with a splendid sea view. This is a fine place for a picnic and perhaps doing some meditation. Then go up the trails and look for the signs leading you to the Sea View Terrace. You can take cool pictures of the bay from this point. Go down to a hidden beach where you can swim and enjoy nature. If you go back up the trail again, you’ll get to the ‘fitness deck’ (suited for older people) and eventually you arrive at the Kwun Yum Statue and Temple. From here you have a stunning view over Stanley and the ocean.
STAY @ Mini Studio – Stanley
We were happy to stay at a new hotel/studio opened in 2015 which is part of the Mini Hotel chain we stayed in Hong Kong Island earlier (Mini Hotel Causeway Bay and Central). Mini Studio-Stanley offers options for a long term stay but also rooms for tourists who like to enjoy a short stay in Stanley. We had a really nice view on Stanley Main Beach from our room. The rooms are small (that’s where the MINI stands for) yet very cozy and stylish. We liked the decoration of both the rooms and the hallways. The location of mini Studio -Stanley is perfect, at walking distance from Stanley Market, the beaches and the shopping area. Last but not least, the staff was friendly and very helpful with suggestions where to eat and what to visit.
HOW TO GET THERE
If you want to travel from Hong Kong downtown to Stanley, take Bus #6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260, from Exchange Square bus terminus (MTR Hong Kong Station Exit D). It costs around 6 Hong Kong dollar. You can also take a cab but it’s obviously more expensive.
Read more about Hong Kong and our favorite places in the following blogs: