Stanley, located on a peninsula on Hong Kong Island's south coast, is a popular tourist destination that allows visitors the opportunit... more »y to escape from densely populated urban Hong Kong into more relaxed and scenic surroundings. The town sits along the shore of an attractive bay framed by a backdrop of hills and the forests of nearby Tai Tam Country Park.
In Chinese, Stanley is known as "Chek Chue," which is a reference to the red-flowering cotton trees in the area; its English name is taken from Lord Stanley, British secretary of state for war from 1916-1918 and 1922-1924. Following the British colonization of Hong Kong in 1842, Stanley, which at the time was the largest town on Hong Kong Island, became a temporary administrative center before moving to the new city of Victoria (now Hong Kong Island's Central district). Until the 1970s it was also a major fishing town with daily catches being sold in the narrow streets.
Today the town is home to many wealthy locals and expats and, with something of a "Mediterranean" feel to it, is a popular leisure destination. The town also has a large prison, housed in former British barracks on the outskirts of the town.
The town is perhaps best known among tourists for its famous market, but as visitors following this walk will discover, it has much more to offer including beaches, temples, museums, historic buildings and some excellent waterside bars, cafes and restaurants. The town is host to the annual International Dragon Boat Races during Tuen Ng Festival. Visitors traveling to Stanley can also enjoy the added bonus of reaching the town by an exhilarating bus ride over the hills of Hong Kong Island with panoramic views (see tips below). less «