Hong Kong neighbourhood: Stanley Market | Hong Kong Pass

With a rich cultural history, Stanley is one of Hong Kong's most popular neighbourhoods thanks to its beautiful beaches, eclectic market and waterside restaurants. Learn everything you need to know about Stanley Market with our guide.

Away from the concrete heart of the city centre, Stanley is a great place to go to enjoy a different type of Hong Kong. From its rich cultural history and major role in the Second World War to the unmissable Stanley market, beautiful beaches and more, Stanley is well worth a visit while in Hong Kong. Learn more with our guide below.

Stanley: A history

The seaside town of Stanley, just south of Hong Kong, has a rich past of bandits and soldiers calling the area home over the years. The colonial name of Stanley refers to Lord Stanley who was made the British Colonial Secretary after Hong Kong was ceded to the British.

However, the Chinese name of Chek Chue is said to relate to a notorious pirate who called the port town home, in doing so locals would refer to the area as Chak Chue which literally translates to Bandit’s Post. Over the years this would become Chek Chue.

As the years went by, Chek Chue evolved from a bandits hideaway to a military centre becoming the original base of operations for British when they first gained control of the islands. This title would endure until the Fall of Hong Kong in 1941 when British and Canadian soldiers made their last stand against the Imperial Japanese Army.

Since the days of violence and notoriety, Stanley has become a tourist hotspot for locals and international visitors alike with its colonial architecture and local beaches.

Stanley Market

Nestled in the middle of Hong Kong’s neighbourhood of Stanley, Stanley Market is an enjoyable day out for locals and tourists alike. Filled to the brim with a variety of products ranging from the completely tacky to the antique, Stanley Market has a whole host of hideaways, nooks and crannies giving the visitor a meandering adventure through Stanley.

If you are looking to make the most of your trip the marketplace it’s good to visit Stanley Market in the morning hours to avoid hitting the rush in hotter temperatures later on in the day.

The Market isn’t the only noteworthy sight to see with the area having a number of fine restaurants which are frequented by locals, adding to their pedigree.

Stanley Market: Where to eat

If you enjoy the areas rich seafaring history, then the Smugglers Inn is a good place to visit just off Stanley Promenade. Here you can travel back in time and feel like the legendary pirates that would dock in the pre-colonial port of Hong Kong. With money and other ornaments draped across the walls you may either love the atmosphere or think its cluttered but it’s certainly different. Many enjoy the visit with a beer but they do serve food too.

If you’re looking for something a bit more upmarket, then Stan Café is a good spot to frequent with its fine French cuisine making it a good hotspot for the large number of expats that call Stanley home, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

However, if you’re looking for authenticity then search out Si Yik Cha Chan Yeng. The small eatery tucked away in Stanley Market is said to be the best dai pai dong, which is the local name for cooked-food stalls. The stall does a host of local dishes for you to eat as you rub shoulders with other food loving visitors.

What else to see in Stanley

Stanley is also known for its two golden beaches: Stanley Beach and St. Stephen’s Beach. Stanley Beach is the more popular and larger of the two, making itself home to many local windsurfing enthusiasts. If you visit the area in June be sure to check out the Stanley Dragon Boat Championships in the Festival of Tuen Ng.

If you’re wanting to see more of the area though you can visit Murray House which is an incredible former military barracks that was moved from Central brick by brick. Originally built to house colonial officers, Murray House is now a epicentre for shops, restaurants and bars as well as a maritime museum, after it was successfully moved in 1998. Take a walk along the verandas and see the missing columns that architects couldn’t squeeze back into the building’s original design.

There are also monuments to the native past of Hong Kong with the nearby temple of Tin Hau being a firm favourite for visitors. As one of the oldest Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong having been built in 1767, the temple was created to worship Tin Hau, a Chinese goddess of the sea who was worshipped by Chinese seafarers.

How to get to Stanley

If you’re coming from Central and want to make the most of the trip be sure to utilise The Hong Kong Pass and take a 90 minute trip on the Aqua Luna Stanely Cruise as you sail out of the Victoria Harbour to the seaside town. Normally $400, thanks to The Hong Kong Pass you can enjoy the ride for free.

As you sail on one of Hong Kong’s traditional Junk boats you will not only enjoy the sites but get to sip on a complimentary drink as you do. Then as you reach Stanley you will have two hours to see the sites before jumping back on board and heading home to Central. Setting off at 12pm from Central the boat arrives in Stanley at 1:30pm before leaving for Central at 3:30pm.