Hong Kong is popular as it is: urban, hip, foodie’s dream. I can talk all about the great food in the multiple Michelin starred restaurant or the shopping frenzy you can do there. But lo and behold, I was charmed by none other than a small, fishy fishing village west of the main Hong Kong island, on Lantau Island. Seriously though, even a typhoon-like rain did not stop us loving this little hamlet called Tai O.
It was a red-level rain storm when we started our journey to Tai O via Tung Chung. That literally meant we were soaked by the sheer amount of rain that could flood a fishing village. And yet, we still went ahead with this crazy scheme just so we can catch a glimpse of rural Hong Kong. No wonder the bus driver gave us a stink eye when we disembarked, three suitcases and all.
Anyone else would have been close to be discouraged at arrival by the fishy whiff, the salty air and just the general wetness of it all. But no, we are here on a mission. So we were there to stay. Thankfully, our B&B lady, Veronica, came all the way out to the bus stop to greet. Dressed in her wellies and raincoat, with two umbrellas at hand, she was a sight for sore eyes.
Tai O was just a world of it own, despite it being just an hour out from the glitzy Hong Kong. Walking along the rope drawn drawbridge over the tiny harbour, you’ll see stilted house above the tidal waves as they were 100 years ago. Soon, you’ll encounter this community squares, surrounded by temples.
As Veronica led us to her modern B & B, yes, in the middle of this quaint fishing village, it was bliss. Off with the wet clothes and hop into the shower it is! I rarely ever recommend a place to stay but I must say, this B & B was the perfect pit stop for us to explore Tai O.
Admittedly it is a small fishing village, so if you’re not one for fishy smells, you might not like this place as much as I did. I love the little alleys and how it is only navigable by bikes. And the surprises you get just from these alleys are so delicious! Of couse the surprises are food-related. As you know, this tummy of mine is very closely related to my namesake.
You’ll see lots of Hong Kong favourite street snacks as you explore the islands. The charm of the oldest fishing village doesn’t just rely on food of course. You can still observe the fishermen here going about their daily life. You’ll also get probably the freshest seafood around here. Word has it that if you want quality dried shrimp, you come here.
As we chose to stay over on this side of Lantau Island for the next three days, we even found the time to meet the locals on our hiking journey, namely: a cow and a certain giant Buddha!
Well, we didn’t have the best of luck for weather. So obviously the big buddy in Ngong Ping could only say hi over the fog. But for any Chinese wuxia film/novels fans out there, here is you can find the legendary Po Lin Monastery.
So here we say bye to the big fellow up there, from our gondola back to Tung Chung. So Hong Kong is more than just the money. If you are willing to go just a little bit out there, you’ll discover some fishy finds worthy of your time, say maybe the way home.
For all public transport fee across Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territory (Lantau), Octopus card is the way to go.
Around Lantau Island:
Tung Chung Station:
From Hong Kong Station, take the Tung Chung Line all the way. It is the main transfer point to Tai O and Ngong Ping.
Ngong Ping and the Tian Tan Buddha:
Tung Chung, Exit B. Follow the signs to Ngong Ping 360 cable car. Round trip to Ngong Ping costs HKD 255 (~USD 33) per person.
Tung Chung, Exit B. Follow the signs to the bus terminus. Take bus 11 to Tai O. It will take you around 50 mins to get there.
Ngong Ping. At Ngong Ping village, take bus 21 to Tai O. It will take you around 25 minutes to get there.
Misshoggy stayed in Espace Elastique in Tai O.
B & B front door, courtesy of Espace Elastique.