Hong Kong
Where East meets West
Hong Kong Travel, tours, sightseing, Lantau

Lantau Island

Lying to the west of Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula, facing South China Sea, Hong Kong's largest island occupies an area of more than 146 km², and with a population of only 45,000 (mostly in Tung Chung - next to the airport, and in Discovery Bay) it enjoys plenty of free space, with steep lush mountains, rugged coastline and some fabulous sandy beaches...

 

Lantau's craggy terrain, with mountains rising from the sea to a height of almost 1,000 m at a steep gradient, makes the island a true paradise for hikers, ramblers and trampers

 

But the island is not all about nature and hiking trails... As a matter of fact, its vast size made it the ideal home to both Disneyland Hong Kong, as well as to Hong Kong's ultra modern airport (which is not on Lantau itself, but on the adjacent Chek Lap Kok, a small island which was "extended" by land reclamation).

 

Lantau is connected to the rest of Hong Kong through the mighty Tsing Ma Bridge (one of the world's longest span suspension bridges), so getting to the island's northern side, where Hong Kong Disneyland and the airport are, is possible by both MTR, bus and the Airport Express Train (which is relevant only for those who want to get to the airport itself).

 

The island's various bays are also served by ferries: There are large ferries that travel to and from the city, as well as some small vessels that ply around the island and connect it with the smaller islands around.

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Inaugurated in 2005, the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort occupies an area of 310 acres around Lantau's northeastern tip.  It consists of the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park, two hotels (Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel), and some retail, dining and entertainment facilities. 

 

In order to make it as "Hong Kong friendly" as possible, Disney incorporated Chinese culture, customs, and traditions when designing the resort.  Just like most of Hong Kong's large architectural projects, Hong Kong Disneyland also follows the rules of Feng Shui.

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Just like other Disneyland parks across the world, the park boasts five themed lands: First, there is the Main street USA "themed land", designed to resemble the centre of an early 1900s American town. This area is inspired by Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri, and you can enjoy various attractions here, like riding nostalgic vehicles, visiting the "Animation Academy" and watching all those flamboyant street-parades which Disneyland is so famous for. Adventureland, the second "themed land" is meant to resemble the rough jungles of Africa and South America, and features attractions like the famous "Jungle River Cruise" and "Tarzan's Island".  You can also watch their staged musical "Festival of the Lion King"... which is based on the film.  

Then there is Fantasyland, where you can enjoy some gentle rides themed after Disney's classics, like "Cinderella carousel" , "Dumbo carousel", "Snow white grotto" , "Sleeping Beauty Castle" and a lot more...

Tomorrowland, the park's fourth "themed land", is where you should be able to "experience the future"... with rides like the "Space Mountain" (an outer space-themed roller coaster ), The "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters" (A dark ride, based on Toy Story 2, where you can ride a space vessel and shoot a laser gun), "Autopia" (small size raceway) and "UFO Zone" (Unbelievably Fun Objects - water ray guns that were put there as a part of an "alien invasion" and seem to be quite helpful in a hot and sticky day...)

 

"Toy Story Land", the latest edition to Hong Kong Disneyland, has opened in 2011.  Take a look at this short article to learn more about it (it also has some nice photos) 

Toy Story Land, the fifth and most recently opened "themed land" of Hong Kong Disneyland, is based on the Disney·Pixar film series Toy Story and boasts quite a few exciting attractions like the "RC Racer" (27-meter-high-U-shaped coaster), the "Toy Soldier Parachute Drop" (a parachute jump–style ride) and the "Barrel of Fun" (where you can meet the heroes of Toy Story and take photos with them)
 

 

The themed park is open daily, from 10 am till around 8 or 9 pm.  Ordinary single entry tickets cost around HK$ 300 - 350 for an adult, HK$ 210 - 250 for a child, and HK$ 170 - 200 for a senior (over 65), but there are all sorts of special offers and combo tickets, worth knowing about... for more details, you should visit their website (which is really packed with all the information you'll need): http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com

 

Getting to Hong Kong Disneyland is, obviously, easy: the MTR is probably your best bet... Take an MTR to Sunny Bay Station (along the orange marked Tung Chung Line) and interchange for the pink marked Disneyland Resort Line.

 

There are also several bus routes connecting Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with Disneyland: Citiybus's route No. R11 departs from North Point ferry Pier and travels through Causeway Bay, Wanchai, Central and Sheung Wan before heading to Lantau Link and Disneyland,  while route No. R21 travels through Kowloon (mainly along Nathan Road) and collects passengers from Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan, Yau ma Tei and Mong Kok.

There is also a ferry-pier next to the resort, but there is no scheduled service yet.

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Traveling with the MTR's orange marked Tung Chung Line till the end will bring you to Tung Chung, a fairly modern town on Lantau's northern shore, right in front of the airport.  The average visitor will not find much of interest here, but the town is a gateway to some of the island's most prominent attractions, so you have to pass through it anyway...

Ngong Ping 360, one of Hong Kong's must-dos (equivalent to Victoria Peak), is possibly one of the territory's largest tourism projects, consisting of a cable-car system and the Ngong Ping Village.

 

The 5.7 km long cableway departs from Tung Chung Town (next to the MTR terminus), crosses the water to the airport's southern shore (where it passes through an "angle station"). It then crosses the bay again and starts climbing up the mountain, hovering above Lantau North Country Park to another angle station near Nei Lak Shan, before finally descending to the Ngong Ping Terminal.

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The journey takes 25 minutes and gives passengers a chance to enjoy some lovely panoramic views of the island and its surroundings.

 

A nice 1-minute video of Po lin Monastery and the "Big Buddha"

Ngong Ping Village, next to the cableway's top terminus, is a 1.5 hectare culturally themed village that has been architecturally designed and landscaped to reflect the cultural and spiritual integrity of the Ngong Ping area

 

Built in one of Lantau's most beautiful highland areas, just next to the famous Po Lin Monastery and the colossal Tian Tan Buddha (and with the island's highest peak as a backdrop), the village has some attractions that features Buddha's life and philosophy... Walking with Buddha is a multimedia facility that takes the visitors along the life story of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became Buddha, and his path to enlightenment.  The Monkey's Tale Theatre is where you can watch a comical, computer animated sound & light show, inspired by the Jātaka Tales (folklore-like stories about the previous births (jāti) of the Buddha). 

 

In the "village" streets, there are street performances which are quite nice and a choice of shops and eateries (as expected...).  The Ngong Ping Teahouse is quite recommended. Owned and managed by Wing Wah, a well known local food producer, the teahouse is beautifully decked out and gives you a chance to learn a lot about traditional Chinese tea ceremonies (and, of course, to have some nice Chinese tea and cakes...).

 

The recently opened Ngong Ping Nature Centre is the village's latest attraction. Managed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department it boasts some interesting displays about the nature of Lantau Island.  The centre also operates free nature guided walks that cover the area around the village (although most of them are conducted in Cantonese...).

 

Po Lin Monastery, just next to the "village" was originally built in the early 1900s by three Zen masters who arrived here from the Jin Shan Monastery of Zhe Jiang looking for a peaceful and secluded place where they can put up a Buddhist monastery.  Originally called "the big hut", the small monastery developed a lot in the 1920s and the 1930s and thereafter... and plenty of structures were added...

 

The monastery's most prominent attraction is the world famous Tian Tan Buddha, a colossal bronze statue of the seated Buddha, built between 1990 and 1993Also known as the Big Buddha, it is the world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha, soaring to a height of 34 meters above its base and weighing 250 tons... Thanks to its location, on top of one of Lantau's high hills, it can be seen from quite far on a clear day (some say from as far as Macau...).

 

The statue sits on a lotus throne, on top of a three-platform altar that resembles the Altar of Heaven of Tian Tan (that is the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, after which the statue was named).   268 steps lead from the monastery to the statue's base, but there is also a small road that goes there, for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped.

 

Back to the monastery, where there are some buildings and temples worth paying attention to... The Welto Temple, a decently decorated traditional Chinese building, The Hall of Great Hero (also known as 'the Big Temple'), is where the statue of Buddha is housed, and The memorial gate, one of the monastery's first structures.

 

Just a few minutes walk behind the monastery, the Wisdom Path is where the Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra (or just Heart Sutra), one of Buddhism's best known and most popular scriptures, is written on large wood poles along a path.  The 260 words prayer is engraved on the 38 wooden beams (each is around 8 - 10 m high) in traditional Chinese characters... Each pole bears a portion of the prayer... and the poles are lined along an "" shaped path (which represents infinity).

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The area around Ngong Ping has a lot to offer to those of you who like nature trails... from family leisure walks to some seriously tough stuff...

 

Ngong Ping Fun Walk is, as its name denotes, an easy trail of just 1.5 km.  Despite of being short, it passes through some very scenic spots from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of Lantau Peak and Shek Pik Reservoir.  There is also a Tree walk along the trail and an old Tea Garden.   The walk starts from the Tea Garden, halfway between the monastery and the Wisdom Path.

 

A much longer trail (although relatively easy) goes down from the monastery to Shek Mun Kap (not far from Tung Chung Town):  The concrete trail starts near the Tea Garden (where the Ngong Ping Fun Walk starts from) and goes downhill through the S.G.Davis Youth Hostel and the small gate.  On the way, you will pass through a natural mountain-stream pool (very refreshing on a hot summer day) and next to some small wayside monasteries and temples. 

 

Lo Hon Monastery, not far from the trail's final destination at Shek Mun Kap village, is a very nice place with a good vegetarian restaurant, where you can have a delicious lunch for a joke of a price...

 

Getting down to Shek Mun Kap village, you can either take bus 34 to Tung Chung Town Centre (from the village itself) or walk down to the main Tung Chung Road, from where you have more public transport options... either to Tung Chung Town or to Mui Wo and Cheung Sha, on the other side of the island.

 

Nei Lak Shan country Trail is a very scenic trail, running in a circuit around the summit of Nei Lak Shan (751 m) through the picturesque highlands around the area of Ngong Ping.   It starts from the gate along Ngong Ping Fun Walk and moves through the forests that surround the peak, passing through view points. 

The trail is 5 Km. long and takes about two hours to complete (fairly easy walk). It was blocked by landslides at the time of writing, but should be open by the time you'll get there (you can just inquire when you are there...).

 

70 Kilometers long Lantau Trail is the island's own cross-country trail.  Winding through mountains and valleys, it is divided to twelve sections... some are reasonably easy, while others are meant for fit folks only... As in most of Hong Kong's trails, There are map boards at every stage junction, and distance posts are positioned every 500 metres along the route so hikers can know their location.  At each fork junction, a yellow direction sign provides clear guidance with useful information like destination names, hiking time required and distance...

 

A nice 1-minute video, showing the stunning panoramic views from Lantau Peak... Getting there is not easy, but the resward makes up for the efforts...

 

Stage 3 and Stage 4 of the trail are meeting just behind Po Lin Monastery (where Ngong Ping Fun Walk passes), so you can combine a visit to Ngong Ping and the Tian Tan Buddha with your walk

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Stage 3, the tougher between the two, starts from the main Tung Chung Rd. and climbs quite dramatically from an altitude of just approximately 350 m. a.s.l to Lantau Peak  (934 m), it then descends steeply towards Po Lin Monastery. Although it covers a distance of only 4.5 Km. it can easily take 4 hours to complete and you need to be fit, or you'll have to huff and puff till you bust your lungs... 

 

You can get to the starting point from either Mui Wo Ferry or Tung Chung town: there are several buses (like 3M) that run along this route and you need to drop off the bus when you see the notice board with the Lantau Trail map (there is a small blue booth next to it).

 

Stage 4 of the trail starts from near the Wisdom Path and Ngong Ping Fun Walk and is a piece of cake compared to Stage 3.  It covers 4 Km. of descent, takes only 1 - 1.5 hours to complete and ends up on Keung Shan Road, from where you can catch a bus to Tai O village or to Mui Wo Ferry or even to Tung Chung town

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Po Lin Monastery is open to the public every day, between 9 am and 6 pm (the Tian Tan Buddha can be accessed between 10am and 6pm) and admission is free.  There is a nice vegetarian restaurant within the monastery, where you can have lunch. 

 

For more information about the monastery, you can call them on 2985 5248 or visit their website: http://www.plm.org.hk/blcs/en/index.asp

 

Ngong Ping Village and its themed attractions are open daily, 10 am - 6 pm (from 9 am to 6:30 pm on Sundays and special days). These are also the operating hours of the cable car service.

 

There are different prices for the different packages they offer: their "all in one ticket" is called Journey of Enlightenment Package and it gives you a return journey on the cable car + entry to Walking with Buddha and the Monkey's Tale Theatre (It currently costs HK$ 145 for an adult, HK$ 75 for a child and HK$ 108 for a senior), but you can also buy tickets only for the cable car ride, or only for the attractions you want to visit... There are also all sorts of promos every now and again, as well as special combo tickets (with the Wetland Park or the Ocean Park), so it's really a good idea for you to check it out with them.  You can call them on 2109 9898 or visit their website: www.np360.com.hk (choose Bookings to get more details on prices).

 

Getting to Ngong Ping Village by public transport is also possible (although it is really recommended to ride the cable car... at least one way): From Tung Chung town, you can take bus No. 23.  From Tai O village, bus No. 21 and from Mui Wo Ferry, bus No. 2

 

The New Lantao Bus Company currently offers a fairly interesting combo-ticket that gives you a one-way cable car ride up to Ngong Ping, as well as unlimited bus-rides on Lantau (for the same day) at a cost of HK$ 76.  If you are planning to combine the visit to Ngong Ping with Tai O, Mui Wo and some other places, buying such a ticket can be a good idea...

The ticket can be purchased at the Tung Chung Bus-Terminus, just next to the entrance to the cable car station (the booth is located right next to the escalator the climbs to the Cable Car Station)

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Discovery Bay (commonly abbreviated as DS), on the island's northeastern side, just a couple of kilometers from Disneyland (in beeline), is Lantau's "sans souci"... A glitzy seaside development with beautiful ocean views, privately owned clubs and a sizeable community of expatriates from more than thirty countries...

 

Occupying some 650 hectares of picturesque bays and hillside, Discovery Bay is a great place to relax on the sandy beach and have lunch in one of the 'alfresco' restaurants around... It is also the gateway to Peng Chau Island and boasts some lovely nature trails you might want to know about...

 

Using private cars in Discovery Bay is generally not allowed, so it's pretty much a "pedestrian-friendly" area... Residents are either using their golf carts or the internal transport system that connects the various estates to the centre and to each other...

 

Using the ferry is still the most popular way of getting to DB.  Modern, comfortable and fully air-conditioned ferries run between Central and Discovery Bay 24 hours a day / 7 days a week... They depart from Pier 3 in Central (Hong Kong Island) every 20 or 30 minutes, depends on the time of the day, and take about 25 minutes to get to DB's ferry pier.

 

Using the bus is also an option (especially if coming from Tung Chung town). Buses run between Tung Chung and Discovery Bay from 6 am till the wee hours of the night... They depart from next to Tung Chung's MTR station (route No. DB01R) every 20 - 30 minutes and will drop you off at DB Plaza, right in the middle of things...

There are also buses from MTR Sunny Bay (DB03R) and from the Airport (DB02R).

 

No matter whether you arrived here by bus or ferry, you will end up in the heart of DB... near Discovery Bay Plaza and the D deck (which is "Hong Kong's largest oceanfront alfresco dining destination", according to its proprietors...).  Here you can stroll between some up class shops, try one of the 'alfresco' seaside cafés and enjoy the lovely views of the sandy manmade beach at Tai Pak Bay... The D deck also makes a good place to have a romantic dinner, as you can see the nightly fireworks from Disneyland...

 

Nim Shue Wan Ferry Pier, on the other side of the small peninsula and just a short distance from DB Plaza, is where you can catch a Kai-to water taxi to Peng Chau Island from... the boats are operating 7 days a week, from as early as 6:40am till after 10pm.  They depart every 30 - 40 minutes and some of them pass through Trappist Haven Monastery on their way to the island or back...

 

One of the area's nicest walking trails starts at Nim Shue Wan (next to the Kaito pier) and goes southwards, to Trappist Haven Monastery and Mui Wo.                

If you don't feel like walking the whole trail, you can just walk to the monastery (known today as Our Lady of Joy Abbey) and back to DB (or take a Kaito from the small pier, next to the monastery).

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Although it is one of the world's most crammed cities, Hong Kong boasts plenty of greenery and offers some really nice walks... The trail from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo, for example, is very scenic, and is worth considering, if you have enough time...  Click here to read about it (including detailed instructions and plenty of nice pics)

 

Mui Wo, a relatively small rural-town on the shores of Silver Mine Bay, just a few kilometres southeast of Discovery Bay, is another lovely retreat and a principal ferry gateway to Lantau, as well as to Peng Chau Island.

 

Located on the banks of the River Silver (although the word 'canal' is more appropriate), the town enjoys some magnificent sea and land sceneries... with long sandy beach, steep forest-covered hills and a scenic bay...

 

Silvermine Bay Beach, just a few minutes walk from the ferry pier, is possibly the best thing this small town has to offer to its visitors... It's a long, beautiful beach with lifeguards on duty and the whole shebang of facilities... other than the beach, there is a lot you can do and see in the area around Mui Wo... 

 

Cycling around Mui Wo's area is very popular... There are several bike-hire shops in town (Friendly bicycle shop seems to be very popular and good) and you can rent all types of bikes... from the simple ones, to professional mountain bikes.

 

There are many bike trails along and behind the bay... some of them cross fields with small village houses, while others run along the beach.

  

Silvermine Waterfall, not too far from town, makes a nice ride and you can also pass by the Silvermine Cave, where silver used to be mined during the second half of the 19th century.  Not far from the cave and the waterfall, there is a small Man Mo temple, worth visiting.  The temple (just like its "counterparts" on Hong Kong Island and in the New Territories) is built after two gods: the god of literature (Man) and the god of war (Mo).

 

Getting to the waterfall and the temple is not too difficult, and you can even do it easily on foot:  Walk two minutes north of town till you reach a place where a small mangrove fringed creek meets the sea (next to Silvermine Beach Hotel, which can be seen on your left if coming from the ferry-pier, along the beach).  Just follow the small creek inland and you will get there... (There are also some directional signs)

  

Another possibility is to head southeast along South Lantau Road, through the lush hills, to the beautiful beaches of Pui O and Cheung Sha Beach.

 

Getting to Mui Wo is fairly simple: Ferries run here from Central, Discovery Bay, Peng Chau, Cheung Chau and Chi Ma Wan.

 

New World First Ferry Services operates the ferry service from Central (Central ferry pier number 6) on Hong Kong Island.  Their modern ferries and fast-ferries are plying the route 7 days a week... and almost 24 hours a day.   They are also the ones who operate the Inter-islands service (Peng Chau - Mui Wo - Chi Ma Wan - Cheung Chau).  For more information, you can call their customer service hotline on   2131 8181 or visit their website http://www.nwff.com.hk

 

Buses to Mui Wo can be boarded at Tung Chung town (No. 3M), Ngong Ping (No. 2), Tai O village (No. 1) and at the airport (No. A35).

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Numerous hiking trails lead from Mui Wo to other parts of the island:  A relatively easy trail leads to Discovery Bay (via Trappist Haven Monastery), and then there is Lantau Trail, the island's longest nature trail, that also starts from here...       

 

As already mentioned, the 70 Kilometers long trail is divided to twelve sections, the first of which (possibly the easiest) starts next to the Ferry Pier and runs along South Lantau Road to the foot of Nam Shan Mountain, where the second section starts from... It's a relatively easy 2.5 kilometres walk that shouldn't take more than an hour and makes a good warm up before starting the much tougher second section... 

 

The second section starts on the South Lantau Road, between Mui Wo and Pui O, at an elevation of just slightly more than 100 M a.s.l (there is a board with a map and a sign - in case you come with the bus and need to know where to drop off).   From here, the path climbs dramatically to Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan), Lantau's second highest peak... at an altitude of 870 M a.s.l... Climbing the mountain is quite difficult but the stunning views make a good reward (and as its name denotes, it's a great place to watch the sunset from...).  From the peak, the trail descent sharply towards Tung Chung Road, from where you can take a bus or continue walking along Lantau Trail's section No. 3 

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Pui O and Cheung Sha Beach are located just three or four kilometres southwest of Mui Wo and boast some of Lantau's loveliest sandy beaches, with marvelous sceneries, lifeguards on duty, shark nets and all the expected facilities...

  

Hong Kong is full of surprises, such as the Asian Water Buffalos of Pui-O

 

While in Pui O, you should take a walk across the marshes and the low-lying wetland next to the village, where you can encounter Asian Water Buffalos (one of the last places in Hong Kong where Water Buffalos still live). The buffalos also walk inside the village itself, every now and again... and while they look huge and intimidating, they are actually quite peaceful and used to see people around...  

 

The wetland is not too big and there are comfortable concrete walkways across it, so thirty minutes or one hour should be enough... 

 

Along Pui O's seaside promenade there is a fairly nice campsite where you can spend the night (2984 1116 / 2852 3220)

 

Ooh La La is a lovely seaside café and restaurant, where you can seat 'alfresco' and choose from a selection of salads, burgers, fish, pasta dishes and so on...  Food is pretty nice and so is the ambience... only problem is that the place is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (10:30 am - 8:30 pm, phone: 2984 8710)

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Cheung Sha Beach, one or two kilometres east of Pui O, boasts a long strip of fine sandy beach with some nice seaside cafés and restaurants, gorgeous views to enjoy, and the whole shebang of beach facilities you might need...

 

The curved bay at the eastern end of the beach (called Lower Cheung Sha village) is where you can find some popular (and good) restaurants, located within former village houses.  The Stoep, a true South African style seaside café and grill house is one of Lantau's best restaurants and is very popular among locals and visitors alike... Vivaciously decorated with cheerful colors, it serves generous portions of luscious South African style BBQs, alongside a whole shebang of yummy café fare, like Seafood Pasta, Cod cakes, salads, and so on... Ambience is young and carefree... almost like visiting a tropical resort  (Phone: 2980 2699)

 

The western side of the beach (behind the small headland) is much longer and quieter than the easternmost bay (surprisingly... as the road almost kisses the beach here...).  Lifeguards and facilities are located at the westernmost end of the beach, next to the bus stop.

 

Getting to Pui O and Cheung Sha Beach is quite easy: From Mui Wo Ferry, you can take any bus (they all go this direction anyway) and drop off at either Pui O village,   Lower Cheung Sha village or upper Cheung Sha Beach (the westernmost end of the beach, near the corner of South Lantau Road and Tung Chung Road).

From Tung Chung town, you can either take bus No. 3M to Mui Wo or No. 11 to Tai O village (drop off near the corner of South Lantau Road and Tung Chung Road - not valid for Pui O).  From Ngong Ping, take bus No. 2 to Mui Wo.  

From Tai O village, you can either take bus No. 1 to Mui wo or No. 11 (drop off near the corner of South Lantau Road and Tung Chung Road - not valid to Pui-O).  

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Onwards (westwards) with South Lantau Road, along the island's southern shore, you will pass by Tong Fuk and reach Shui Hau, a small village where you can drop off the bus and visit Lantau's biggest and richest mudflat... where creatures like mussels, shells, horseshow crab and fiddler crab can be found...

 

Two or three kilometres west of Shui Hau village, the road changes its name to Keung Shan Road and crosses the dam of Shek Pik Reservoir. This is one of Lantau's most scenic areas and if you have the time, you can drop off and take a short stroll around.

 

Two kilometres after Shek Pik Reservoir Dam the road forks.  The right branch climbs up to Ngong Ping and the giant Tian Tan Buddha, while the left branch (or rather straight) continues all the way to Tai O village, one of Lantau's must-sees.

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Hidden in a small bay on Lantau's west side, Tai O, "the Venice of Hong Kong",  is a quiet fishermen village where little has changed through the years...  

           

This short video takes you for a tour of Tai O Fishing Village, "the Venice of Hong Kong", including the famous canals and the stilt houses... 

The village was originally built by the Tanka: the famous boat people who were one of the earliest clans to migrate and settle in Hong Kong.  The Tanka arrived from China's southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, specialized in fishing and salt production and has traditionally lived on junks.  Later on, people from other Hong Kong ethnic groups also came here...

 

The village is one of the last places in this region where you can still see plenty of traditional Pang uk houses, built on stilts over the water.  It is divided to three parts... Two parts are located on Lantau Island itself (on the banks of the river), while the third part is located on Tai O Island (the river splits to the north and west, and at this fork lies the island) and this unique geographical feature is what gave the village its special "Venice" look...

 

Being traditional fishermen, the people of Tai O mainly worship Tin Hau (Matsu), Goddess of the sea, protector of the seafarers and Hong Kong's most beloved deity... However, they do also worship other gods... There are four temples in the village, each one of them with its own story : Tin Hau Temple, Quan Di Temple, Hung Sang Temple and Yang Hao Old Temple.

 

Another interesting aspect of traditional lifestyle you should see, when in Tai O,  is the way they produce salted-dried foods... mainly traditional shrimp-paste making and the drying of duck egg yolks.

 

The Tai O Rural Committee Historic and Cultural Showroom, near the bus terminus, is like a small museum where you can see some interesting bits and pieces, related to the village's past... Open daily (except Monday), entrance is free.

 

Take a stroll through the village's pedestrian only alleys and browse through the small stalls where dried foods and other souvenirs are sold... The smells of dried-salted foods blend with those of fresh seafood, creating an aroma that is unique to Tai O...

 

Wing on Street, not far from the bus terminus, is packed with exotic shops, stalls and eateries. Nearby Tai O Culture Workshop is some kind of a privately owned museum, established and managed by Wong Wai-king, a local charismatic lady who works tirelessly to preserve the village's heritage and to promote tourism (and eco tourism) in the region.  The small museum exhibits a nice collection of traditional daily items, historical objects, and some natural exhibits from the area (Phone: 2985 6118).

 

You can also join a boat ride. They last 25 - 30 minutes, don't cost much, and you get a chance to see the stilt houses from the water and to sail around Lantau's southwestern side (including some shockingly beautiful views...).  The boat operators (or their salespeople) will probably tell you about the Chinese White Dolphins you are going to see on the way, but that doesn't usually happen. Nevertheless, the boat ride is still fun and if you do wish to encounter the dolphins, you'll better join Hong Kong Dolphinwatch

As expected, Tai O's seafood eateries are great... and even the simplest street stall is not likely to disappoint you...

 

The nice thing about Tai O is that even after droves of visitors has been trampling its streets for quite a few years, it still somehow manages to maintain its quaint fishing village character...

 

Getting to Tai O village: From Mui Wo Ferry, take bus No. 1.  From Tung Chung MTR, take bus No. 11 and from Ngong Ping, you can take bus No. 21

 

There is also a ferry service, operating from Tung Chung Ferry Pier (not far from Tung Chung MTR), but there are just a few boats a day so it doesn't really make much sense... for more information, you can call Fortune Ferry Company Limited on 2994 8155

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