Although it only takes 30 minutes to get to Cheung Chau from HK Island, the difference feels a hundred years apart. Sampans dot the waterways; open air shops and restaurants densely line the streets in town; and to get around you'll need to walk; cars simply aren't allowed.
That's fine since hiking is a pleasure on the island. Go towards the main beach Tung Wan, and you'll see a winding path. It will lead you past the Mini Great Wall, temples, rock carvings and other pretty vantage spots on the island.
After working up a sweat, head back to the beaches. Opt for the smaller beach, Kwun Yam Wan, set back from town. The facilities are not as nice as at Tung Wan beach, but there is a small restaurant, and you can rent beach chairs and an umbrella for the afternoon.
When you're appetite starts raging after an afternoon of hiking and swimming, head into town where you can refuel at one of the many fish restaurants by the boat pier. They supposedly all have similar quality food, but it's always wise to choose one that seems popular. While a nice harbor-side seat sounds scenic, be warned that the water can be smelly.
Details: Pier 5 from Central every 30 min (app.). No transportation needed on the island.