Stanley Town & Market

The old colonial town of Stanley is situated at the neck of one of the two large peninsulas that jut out of the island into the South China Sea. Once a base for a British garrison, it was developed into a quaint little town by the colonists. Relics of this bit of history are the Old Police Station (now housing a supermarket and a restaurant) and military cemetery and prison. Stanley was also the headquarters of the Japanese when they briefly wrested Hong Kong during World War – II.

Stanley’s Market is a popular draw, not so much for its wares and kitsch but its easy pace and laidback feel, in sharp contrast to the traditional bazaars in the city. But perhaps the biggest draw is the row of restaurants, pubs, cafes and eateries along the town’s beautiful promenade and waterfront. While seated at one of these joints, a pint of beer can be a great sundowner while gazing across azure waters, spotting fishing boats bobbing in the sea and revelling in the soothing sea breeze.

Since you’ve come this far, you must visit Murray House, a magnificent colonial building in Stanley. Interestingly, this fishing settlement was not its original location. This Victorian-era building named after Sir George Murray, head of Ordnance during colonial rule, was built in 1846 as army officers’ quarters in Hong Kong Central. Owing to the pressures of land reclamation in the city, the structure was dismantled, stone by stone, each stone catalogued, and then hauled all the way to Stanley, where it was reassembled in 2001. Notice the six columns in front of the building – they were somehow forgotten in the jigasaw of stone when the structure was re-erected! Today, Murray House houses restaurants on the first and second storeys while the Hong Kong Maritime Museum occupies the ground floor.