San San sets island visitors on right course
Olympic gold medallist Lee Lai-shan is taking tourists back to the crescent of sand where it all began for her: Kwun Yam Wan beach on Cheung Chau.
It was there that the woman known to millions as San San honed the windsurfing skills that took her to glory at the 1996 Olympics and to other international titles.
Lee is one of a number of islanders making their personal recommendations on tourist attractions in a new guidebook that will be available free at ferry piers from Monday in Chinese and from mid-September in English.
Instead of conventional stops such as Disneyland, the islanders recommend shops, restaurants, sports and art activities off the beaten track.
Lee introduces readers to water sports at Kwun Yam Wan. 'Tourists can rent canoes or windsurfing boards to venture out to sea. They can appreciate the Mini Great Wall and some weathered rocks from another angle,' she said. The Mini Great Wall is a headland walking track modelled on the original.
Lee, who was born on Cheung Chau, also recommends a night visit to adjacent Tung Wan beach, not just for the swimming but the view.
'You can see the amazing lighting at Aberdeen and Lamma Island after sunset,' she writes.
Also in the book, compiled by the Tourism Board and Islands District Council, retired footballer Lee Kin-wo, residents and fishermen elaborate on other choices, such as making glass artwork on Lamma Island and tasting freshly made jam at an organic farm on Peng Chau.
Island-hopping routes are listed under different themes: shopping, leisure, nature, food and family-friendly. To start their journeys, tourists can buy a new one-day pass offered by New World First Ferry for HK$60, which allows them to take unlimited trips on the company's boats running from Central to Lantau, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau, and between the islands.
Assuming a person visits all three islands in a day, the pass would save almost half the usual price of HK$112. Locals cannot buy the pass.
Thirty shops offer discounts or gifts to visitors with the guidebook.
Promoting attractions on outlying islands was crucial to bringing visitors back to the city, board executive director Anthony Lau Chun-hon said. 'Hiking and green attractions are especially well received by those from Guangdong province,' he said.
Noting calls to widen the road between north and south Lantau, assistant commissioner for tourism Vincent Fung Hao-yin said this could make the south too crowded.
1 in 10
The proportion of tourists who stayed overnight and who also visited at least one of Hong Kong's outlying islands last year