Somewhat offbeat attractions - Tai O on Lantau Island

Get there by ferry + bus, very touristy on a weekend but quiet during the week, forget the boat tour rides and simply explore on foot.. Tai O Fishing Village is absolutely fascinating and well worth the considerable effort to get there and back.

 

 Not at all what I expected

Not at all what I expected

It has been decades (!) since my last visit to Tai O on Lantau Island so I took the plunge and went to visit on a Saturday just to see if all the Tripadvisor reviews were correct in so far that Tai O is a tourist trap. 

First up, this is not a casual spur of the moment type visit, you need to allow 2 hours travel time there and 2 hours back, it is in a pretty remote spot and there is NO easy way to get there, having said that, the bus ride to Tai O is brilliant, I loved it!

I took a Ferry from Central Ferry Pier # 6 to Mui Wo on Lantau, had a quick squizz there (not much going on in Mui Wo but they do have a MacDonalds and a 7 - 11!) before getting on the bus to Tai O, the ride is roughly an hour.

When I got to Tai O it took me a few moments to orient myself but then it kind of came flooding back... as it was Saturday it was crowded and noisy but surprisingly I would say 95% of the visitors were local Hong Kongers... 

I decided straight away that I would not do a boat tour (and it is really cheap) this is the worst part of Tai O, all the touts at the entrance to the "village" selling boat tours, once you are past them it quietens down considerably.

I spent an hour just wandering around and I was very pleased, there are some great photo opportunities, nobody bothered me, local people actually smiled (now there's a first!) and at anytime I could pop into some decent looking cafe's.

Tai O is considerably bigger than you think, I reckon I could have easily spent 3 hours there wandering around on foot (this is why most people opt for a boat tour) but I cut short my visit due to some massive thunderstorms that rolled in. 

In a nutshell, once you get past the boat tour touts and into the village it becomes a very interesting place and not touristy at all, the word that comes to mind is the place is COOL and is so not like Hong Kong. 

I will let my pictures do the talking. 

 Actually quite interesting

Actually quite interesting

 Not the most luxurious housing in Hong Kong

Not the most luxurious housing in Hong Kong

 Once you get past this bridge and the boat tour touts it becomes a lot less touristy

Once you get past this bridge and the boat tour touts it becomes a lot less touristy

 Enough to make me vomit, on the other hand you might relish it! 

Enough to make me vomit, on the other hand you might relish it! 

 Forgive the image angle but this is the first time I have seen a shark skin! 

Forgive the image angle but this is the first time I have seen a shark skin! 

 There's always a Temple when you need one. 

There's always a Temple when you need one. 

 The usual suspects

The usual suspects

 I didn't get a chance to explore the Church in the background

I didn't get a chance to explore the Church in the background

 There is always a festival going on somewhere...

There is always a festival going on somewhere...

 One of my better images

One of my better images

 This section burnt down a few weeks back

This section burnt down a few weeks back

 I like the hilly backdrop

I like the hilly backdrop

 You really wouldn't want to fall in this water

You really wouldn't want to fall in this water

 A keen gardener me thinks

A keen gardener me thinks

 All the mod cons....

All the mod cons....

 Basically just glorified tin huts

Basically just glorified tin huts

 No sign of life in the heart of the village

No sign of life in the heart of the village

 Some pictures just look better in black and white

Some pictures just look better in black and white

 Like I said, glorified tin huts

Like I said, glorified tin huts

 A lot of these places also double as restaurants

A lot of these places also double as restaurants

 I am not going to speculate as to what the pond scum is

I am not going to speculate as to what the pond scum is

 A bit arty on my part

A bit arty on my part

 Probably an ancient temple built in 1757

Probably an ancient temple built in 1757

 Local wildlife

Local wildlife

 One gets the impression that a bit of smuggling goes on

One gets the impression that a bit of smuggling goes on

 Flag day

Flag day

 Rather quaint isn't it....

Rather quaint isn't it....

 One level up from living on a boat

One level up from living on a boat

 Smugglers discussing tactics

Smugglers discussing tactics

 This one scene alone is worth the trek

This one scene alone is worth the trek

 A crime scene, Police are still trying to figure out who or what started the fire

A crime scene, Police are still trying to figure out who or what started the fire

 Obviously the home of the village chief

Obviously the home of the village chief

 When a meteor strikes

When a meteor strikes

Once you are done with Tai O, you can get back to civilisation by taking a bus to either Tung Chung (the bus stops next to the MTR Station) or back to Mui Wu and a trip back to Central on the Ferry. 

So in conclusion, I think Tai O is a really cool place but it is 2 hours there and 2 hours back from either Central on Hong Kong Island or TST in Kowloon but it is absolutely worth the effort


I do personal walking tours around Hong Kong, I am on the streets every day and I have a somewhat interesting perspective of this wonderful city I have called my home for 37 years. My private walking tours are perfect for visitors who want a detailed overview of Hong Kong prior to exploring on their own and for people who are only here for a day or two who want to make the most of their limited time here.

Many clients book me for their first full day in Hong Kong, they get to see the best that Hong Kong has to offer + a crash course on our wonderful public transport system and then they go exploring for the rest of their stay armed with step by step instructions and recommendations from me....

...oh, and if you book a tour then you are booking a tour with me, I do not employ other guides.

Jamie's private walking tours - no ordinary experience



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Posted on June 10, 2013 and filed under Offbeat attractions.