Thursday 29 May 2014

Hong Kong : Cheung Chau Bun Festival - 抢包山比赛 Bun Scrambling Competition (Part II)

Cheung Chau Bun Festival 06 May 2014

Other than the Piu Sik Parade, the finale of this festival is this Bun Scrambling Competition. As simple as it sounds, competitors dash up a bamboo tower studded with imitation buns and collect as many "lucky" buns as possible. Buns earn the competitors points (the higher up the better), and good fortune allegedly. Scramblers have three minutes and usually race to the top first to collect the buns with highest score. The winner bags the title of King or Queen of the Buns.

Bun Scrambling Competition was suspended for 27 years before it was re-introduced in 2005 due to accident happened in 1978 which one of the three bamboo towers collapsed resulting in many injuries.

Today, the three bamboo towers have been replaced by a single steel tower. To avoid food wastage, real buns which were used in the past are now replaced by 9,000 plastic replica buns cover the 14-metre-tall scrambling tower.

These 3 towers of buns are consist of real buns with a shelter on top of them to prevent any mold due to bad weather. These are not used during the competition. Once the competition is over, these buns will be distributed to the locals as a symbol of peace and luck.


lol super candid pic of the little boy eating 'lucky' bun happily. It more seems like he took the bun from his crying little brother. 

 In preparation of the bun scrambling competition later.. 

Saw this while walking to the queue. Can anyone tell me what was this for?

We queued from 8pm to 10pm just to get into this concourse with drizzle rain the whole time ~.~ made me freeze even more... Luckily we were quite front in the queue and the view was quite good. #worththecold

Free gift lol

Then suddenly the rain got bigger just an hour before midnight. Disposable poncho were given by the thoughtful organisers. All of us was praying the rain to stop before the competition.

meaning "Everything is ready,and all that we need is an east wind". This case, the east wind is good weather.

It was as if our praying was being heard, the rain stopped just 15 minutes before midnight. All the scramblers started to remove their poncho and get into position. =)))

On the stroke of midnight, twelve participants race up the 14-metre tall conical bun tower to grab as many buns as they can collect within the three minute time limit. The bun tower is divided into three zones from top to bottom and buns each carry a score of nine, three and one respectively. The contestants who obtain the highest total score in three minutes are the champions.


There were two female contestants but obviously their physical could not compete with the boys. It was a  good thing that they are rank differently from the boys. One of the two female contestants is the one in red.

The scramblers have to reach the ground before the time is up otherwise they will be disqualified.

There was a second part of the competition: a Bun Scrambling Invitation Relay. First scrambler will have to use their fastest speed to climb up the tower, grab the designated bun and come down as fast as possible to pass the turn to their team mates. The three member team who complete the fastest wins. 

Actually they did announced who was the winner for both competition but I did not bother to listen.. I mean come on~ only care about the journey but not the result lololo 

By the time the competition ended, the real buns were removed from the three towers.

Night was concluded with fireworks~

The ferry had an extended services that night to cater for the audiences to go back to Hong Kong Island, as well as the bus services at Central Pier. By the time I reached my apartment it was already 2am in the morning but totally worth my trip to Hong Kong! 


Cheung Chau 長洲
How to get there: Take ferry from Central Pier no 5 to Cheung Chau (55 min ride)
Refer to the fare table and ferry timing at
Piu Sik performance: 6 May 2014, 2pm - 4.30pm
Bun Scrambling competition: 6 May 2014, 12 midnight

Photo credits to Malcolm Soh
Video background music: TVB 情越海岸線 / Slow Boat Home theme song 《还想》

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Hong Kong : Cheung Chau Bun Festival - 飘色 Piu Sik Parade (Part I)

Cheung Chau Bun Festival 06 May 2014

Cheung Chau Bun Festival is one of the biggest and remarkable festivals celebrated in Hong Kong. It usually celebrate on the 8th day of fourth lunar month which is also the birthday of Buddha. This date is also a Hong Kong holiday. 

The highlights of the entire festival are the "Piu Sik 飘色" (floating colours) parade and "抢包山比赛" bun scrambling competition. 

I have been wanting to experience this festival ever since I watched TVB drama "情越海岸線 / Slow Boat Home" which was filmed at Cheung Chau. This drama totally ignited my curiosity about this tiny island. 

This is the highlight of my Hong Kong trip this time! I was so so so excited over this!

Around 1 hour ferry ride from Hong Kong island to Cheung Chau

Butterflies flying in my stomach when I saw this sight~

Cheung Chau is originally and still a fishing village but now is more of a tourist attraction for fresh seafood and sandy beach. We can still see fishing fleets working from the harbour. Perfect place for city people to experience traditional fishing village lifestyle. 

Every year, this festival draws ten of thousand local and tourists to Cheung Chau. This year, I am one of the ten thousands visitors! ^.^v VIP tickets thanks to lovely HK friends! They kept telling us to wear thin layer of clothes as that day will be very crowded plus burning joss sticks but turned out it rained throughout that day hence weather was very chilling.... lol I was so freezing that my whole body was shivering including my teeth lol

The banners were exactly the same as what I saw in the drama! 

Typical street in Cheung Chau

平安包 direct translate is "safe and sound bun" but the locals call it as the "lucky bun"

Traditionally, throughout the festival (the whole week), the island residents eat only vegetarian meals

Police started to clear out the walkway for the floating colour parade later in the afternoon.

Having a VIP ticket means we no need to squeeze with other people lol

This was where we were sitting.


Let me introduce a short story on this traditional floating colour parade. 

More than a century ago, a plague was devastated Cheung Chau.Villagers paraded through the island's narrow streets disguised as deities to drive away evil spirits responsible for the plague. The plague surprisingly ended after the parade ended. Since then, this ritual continues annually to commemorate the people who died during the plague.

Today, Piu Sik parade consists a swirl of colours such as lion dancers, kung fu club members and Taoist priests in traditional dress wind their way along the island's narrow streets. The stars of the parade are the islander's youngsters (aged 5-6) heavily made up, dressed up as mythological figures and modern Chinese heroes and appear to float above the crowd on an intricate system of rod and wires. 

Cheerleading team and traditional dress club started the show.

Lion dances

Opera representative

They were giving out star stickers as a symbolism of good luck.


So hip one.. still have kpop dancing lol

Here comes the highlight of the whole parade! The "floating" children!

This definitely deserve a solo shot! So pretty lah!

Lion dances and other performances arranged in between each stream of Piu Sik. 

It finally ended with this little preview of bun scrambling competition that night.

After the parade ended, most people took the ferry back to Hong Kong island as the locals still have to work the next day. We stayed back to watch the bun scrambling competition which only starts in the midnight. 

We then started to walk around the island to explore.

Buy all the souvenir back! Lol

Much lesser crowd than just now.

Real dried up puffer fish!

Then we had some famous big fishballs in Cheung Chau. 

They tasted similar to our Tiong Bahru fishballs also.. 

The most authentic bun shop in Cheung Chau. 

These supposedly "lucky" bun (although direct translate should be "peace" bun) comes in three flavours: sesame, lotus and red bean paste. The official seal stamped on the bun is the chinese character for "peace".

I think it was 1 for HKD 8

I expected there was a queue but what I did not expect was the queue was never ending! I followed the queue and turned a few alleys before I could see the end... 

These buns worth 1.5 hours of our time... lol.. ok la I think can just buy from any bun shop lah.. 

Cheung Chau 長洲
How to get there: Take ferry from Central pier no 5 to Cheung Chau (55 min ride)
Refer to the fare table and ferry timing at
Piu Sik performance: 6 May 2014, 2pm - 4.30pm

Photo credits to Malcolm Soh