Lantau Island is Hong Kong’s largest island with some of the most popular attractions like the Giant Buddha, Ngong Ping 360 with its fantastic cable car, as well as Hong Kong Disneyland. It is almost twice the size of Hong Kong island. The island offers some of Hong Kong’s best beaches, hiking trails, fishing villages, and peaks and also has a long stretch of shopping outlets. It offers travelers unique and natural landscapes to explore all within an hour of the city’s downtown. Developments are changing Lantau, but the island is still known as the ‘Lungs of Hong Kong.’ There is still ample room for development in this island and this island remains a welcome green gateway. Lantau has it all. Whatever your philosophy, Lantau Island’s magic brings solace to the soul, senses, and shopping bags.
1. Tai O Heritage Hotel
This hotel is listed as a grade 11 historic building. It was formerly the Tai O Police Station and has been converted into a heritage hotel by the government. Take time to linger and soak up the old charm of this boutique hotel. Every brick of this 110 year old colonial architectural gem will take you on a refreshing journey, blending its originality with contemporary attractiveness.
This nine room hotel is a profound reflection of its historical elements and details such as the cannon, searchlights, guard towers, and temporary holding cells, being restored and refurbished. Reflecting its fishing village heritage, the guest rooms are named after different police ranks, former marine police boats, and popular Tai O attractions. The colonial décor of the glass roofed restaurant, Tai O Lookout and a menu that includes exclusive Tai O specialties will bring you back to the charming past.
Tai O Heritage Hotel
Address: Shek Tsai Po St, Tai O, Hong Kong
Price: Free admission. But hotel room and meal prices vary.
Website: Tai O Heritage Hotel
2. Tai O Stilt Houses
Tai O is a unique fishing village with many houses built on stilts. Locals call Tai O fishing village the ‘Venice of the East.’ The indented skyline of stilt houses plus the crossing waterways and bridges of today’s Tai O evokes the rustic past of Hong Kong as a fishing village. Stilt houses lining up on both sides of the waterways form a unique attraction in Hong Kong. Bordered by anchored fishing junks, traditional stilt houses cramp together to form clusters, where the kitchen of one house usually extends into the living room of another. Tai O residents enjoy close community relations thanks to this unique structural design. In a traditional stilt house, the front is dedicated to daily living, while the back and the passageway are used for drying salted fish and seaweed. To get there, just walk 5 minutes from Tai O bus terminus to the Rope-drawn Ferry Bridge, then take a stroll along the waterfront. There is a small museum full of traditional clothing, farming and fishing gear. There are also stalls selling souvenirs, as well as fish. Besides, you can’t miss the pungent odor of shrimp paste! It will definitely make you hungry.
Tai O Stilt Houses
Address: Tai O, Lantau Island, Outlying Islands
Website: Tai O Stilt Houses
3. Wisdom Path
The Wisdom Path is a series of 38 wooden steles (upright monuments) containing verses from the famous Buddhist text, the Heart Sutra. The steles showcase the Chinese version of the famous prayer revered by Confucius, Buddhists, and Taoists, and are arranged in an infinity shape to symbolize cosmic infinity based on a calligraphy by famous scholars. The gentle breeze, the rustling of trees, and the timelessness of the wooden steles gives a sense of tranquility. Set in the hills of Ngong Ping and a short walk from Big Buddha, Wisdom Path offers soothing eyefuls of the South China Sea. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the Wisdom Path if you are walking from the Big Buddha.
Address: Lantau South Country Park, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Price: Free entry
Website: Wisdom Path
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4. Cheung Sha and Pui O Beach
When it comes to beautiful beaches, the village of Pui O can boast of not only one, but two contenders: Cheung Sha and Pui O. Head to one of them to have a cooling dip under the sun, make some new friends or better yet, to flop on the fine sand for a few hours. There are also a few eateries nearby, so you can stick around for the sunset views. To get to Cheung Sha Beach, just take a 25 minute ride on the New Lantao Bus 1 or 2 and stop at Mui O Pier. To get to Pui O Beach, take New Lantao Bus 1 and stop at Mui O Ferry Pier.
Cheung Sha and Pui O Beach
Address: South Lantau Road, Lantau Island, Outlying Islands
Website: Cheung Sha and Pui O Beach
5. Local Specialty Market
Memories of Hong Kong’s fishing past are still evident in the unique delicacies, such as shrimp sauce, shrimp paste, salted fish, and dried seafood, produced in Tai O. A hint of sea zest is emitted from the homemade dried seafood lining the street market. Adjacent to the Rope-drawn Ferry Bridge, on Tai O Market Street, you will find shops selling these homemade specialties. Apart from that, some local tours even cooperate with Tai O Rural Committee and organized visits to shrimp paste factories and salted fish plants. To get there, walk for 5 minute from Tai O Bus Terminus towards the Rope-drawn Ferry Bridge. The attraction is just across the street.
Local Specialty Market
Address: Tai O, Lantau Island, Outlying Islands
Website: Local Specialty Market
6. Discovery Bay
Closed to motorized traffic, the large residential development of Discovery Bay offers fresh air, a green environment and beautiful beaches. You can take a slow winding walk up to the Lookout Point that is over the bay and enjoy the multitude of up-market restaurants, bars, and cafes at D’Deck. It is truly a paradise for foodies and tourists alike. Apart from that, the open air plaza near D’Deck boasts a garden, sidewalk cafes, as well as water features that make for an ideal break. Besides that, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Peng Chau, Lamma Island, and Hong Kong Disneyland from Lookout Point. It’s a defining moment for visitors and travellers if they are here.
Address: Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Website: Discovery Bay
7. Mui Wo
Mui Wo is a hidden gem for holiday-makers. Besides its vibrant marketplace and picturesque Silver Mine Bay Beach, the small rural town is well-known for its seafood. You will get to enjoy a fresh catch against the backdrop of a waterfront panorama in one of the specialty restaurants at Mui Wo Cooked Food Market, near the pier. Local saltwater specialty include Babylon shells, mantis shrimp, and sea shrimp. Also, try the clams, which are fresh from the waters of the Silver Mine Bay. To get here, catch a ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo. You can spend half an hour to one hour in Mui Wo. Head over now and try the delicious seafood.
Address: Tung Wan Tan Road,Mui Wo, Lantau Island, Outlying Islands
Website: Mui Wo
8. Yim Tin Mangrove Forest
More than half of the mangrove species in Hong Kong can be found in Tai O. Locals call them da long su (wave resistant trees) for their endurance in the face of tides. Salt production and fishing used to be the mainstays of Tai O. However, the local salt industry began to dwindle in modern times by mangroves, which eventually transformed the area into the ecological treasure it is today. To get there, walk for about 20 minutes from the Tai O Bus Terminus to Sun Ki Bridge, then to Cheung Kee Store. Once you reach the store, take the path by the stilt houses.
Yim Tin Mangrove Forest
Address: Lung Shing St, Tai O, Hong Kong
Website: Yim Tin Mangrove Forest
As Hong Kong’s largest outlying island, Lantau Island is perhaps the most famous internationally for being the home of Hong Kong International Airport. Whether your idea of magical is Buddhist architecture, fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle, a plate of calamari, a walk on a stretch of beach, or a day spent coming in and out of shopping outlets, Lantau Island offers visitors everything they could desire. Over the past few decades, Lantau Island has also become an expatriate’s paradise, where non-native Hong Kongers escape after a day of work to a place that feels like an exotic getaway. Even locals who live here could tell you Lantau Island has largely escaped over-urbanization but still has retained its charm. Just half an hour from the financial heart of Hong Kong, Lantau Island is a world apart. It is a multifaceted and multicultural destination.
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