Similar to Lamma Island, Cheung Chau has vestiges of a fishing village past, however, the initial off the boat experience is an onslaught of restaurants and shops catering towards day trippers and tourists. The island seems to be popular with and caters to Chinese tourists. I saw the same sort of meat on sticks and the thinly sliced potato on a stick throughout the island's main streets - these are hallmarks of Chinese tourism. It feels like you've been transported to Chinese shopping street. Unlike Lamma Island, Cheung Chau does not have a strong expat population. Seafood restaurants line the waterfront and while the quality is not as high as I expected the prices are reasonable and comparable to Hong Kong island.
From the pier I headed south, found a local street, then went east to explore resident neighborhoods. The neighborhoods look and feel similar to the other Hong Kong villages - three story homes with a roof patio, packed together, and narrow walking lanes. The walkway eventually lead to a coffee shop adorned with movie posters and images from Hong Kong 1970s era films.
A short uphill walk later I was on the eastern edge of the island. I walked long the "mini Great Wall". The "walls" inclusion as an attraction confirmed my assertion that Cheung Chau was catering to Chinese tourists, although it was a tree that seemed to garner most of their attention.
I returned to the pier area walking along the beach. The island is at its narrowest between Tung Wan Beach and the pier area. The walking strip between this area featured all the assortment of Chinese goodies.
I extended the walking loop north to a famous temple, the site of the annual Bun festival. In front of the temple a few locals were practicing basketball...by practicing I'm mean forcefully shoving line drives directly at the rim. The "shots" that hit the backboard ricocheted off and down to the opposite end of the court before anyone could make a rebound. There are no future Yao mings on Cheung Chau island.
On the north side of the pier is a cluster of mechanic workshops. Boats were docked waiting to receive repairs. After the mechanics washed off all the oil they sat down for a game of mahjong.
Rather than directly return to Central I caught the inter-island ferry to Mui Wo. There's a slight expat flavor here but otherwise this Lantau Island town provides a laid back and local experience. The seafood, especially the crabs, may be better at Wah Kee, in the Mui Wo Cooked Food Centre, than anywhere in Hong Kong. While waiting for the return ferry to Central I ordered a coffee at China Bear, one of Hong Kong's decent dive bars. Given that you can walk around with an open container the bars prices are a little high, however, it's still a good drinking environment and place to have a drink if you miss a ferry.