Jamie | Founder of J3 Private Tours Hong Kong | Offering Award Winning Private Tours of Hong Kong
The Tai O Fishing Village on Lantau Island, Hong Kong | step back in time and enjoy a private walking tour around this iconic village | cultural tourism at it's very best.
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What an odd place but no matter how many times I go there I always find something new to marvel at.
I also think it is such a shame that it is so far away from town, it can easily take a couple of hours to get there from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island... personally I enjoy the the trip out there but it is a factor in whether you make the trip or not.
Tai O tends to be very quiet during the week but can get very, very busy on weekends, again this is also a factor as transport can be a troublesome issue on Saturday and Sunday.
In addition the visitor mix at Tai O is quite odd as most of the time it is crowds of Hong Kong residents who make the trek out there (and mainly retirees) as it makes for a lovely day out, the rest of the visitors tend to be hordes of Tourists on the NP 360 Big Buddha | Tai O Excursion Tours who take advantage of the close proximity of Tai O to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island.
Indeed when I take my guests on one of my Private Tours of Lantau Island it is generally a full day tour or 8 hour tour and we cover both places and it is a fabulous day out.
At Tai O I do NOT do the touristy thing of going around the village by boat, it is a pretty quick ride but you miss out on so much, on my walking tour we do as advertised, we walk around the village and it is so much better, you see a lot more interesting things and we can explore without any sort of time pressure.
Oh and I really like to visit the Tai O Heritage Hotel, an old Police Station and a reminder of British Colonialism, we can either take a 5 minute boat ride to get there or opt for a rather interesting walk which is just lovely if you are a bit of a photographer.
Gentrification in Mong Kok in Kowloon, Hong Kong goes very slowly, there are still so many of these massive old style apartment blocks from the 1960's.
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Apartment Buildings in Mong Kok, Kowloon, what can I say, I have always had a fascination with these old rather massive apartment buildings and trust me these apartments which are smallish (600 - 800 sqft) can be extremely expensive as they are located very close to the subway station.
For our big property companies these huge buildings are not that attractive from a redevelopment point of view, essentially they need to track down every single property owner (and there could be many hundreds of them) and make an offer, many owners live overseas and are difficult to track down, patience is a virtue as it could take decades to redevelop a building like this and in the meantime the buildings crumble.
"There are around 4,000 buildings which are 50 or more years old in Hong Kong with an increase of 500 a year over the next decade, according to the Urban Renewal Authority. By 2046, 300,000 private flats will be over the age of 70, official statistics show."
This was a quote that appeared in an article in our newspapers in 2017.
In the meantime as they decay and crumble I will enjoy looking at them and taking photographs.
The rather odd relocation of the Dim Sum Restaurant, Ding Dim 1968 that on the surface makes no sense at all.
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To be honest I am not a fan of this restaurant and imagine my surprise when I received an email from them saying they had relocated their restaurant.
Part of the reason I did not like the place was 1) it's location 2) you could only fit about 10 people in the restaurant... to be fair the dim sum was pretty decent but the other factors meant I did not visit on a regular basis.
So they have moved to a better location on Wyndham Street just yards away from the Tai Kwun Centre (Arts Hub) and very close to Lan Kwai Fong, the drinking district but still they cannot get that many people in the restaurant.
The reason why the move makes no sense, other than it is a much better location, is that bars and restaurants along Wyndham Street rarely last more than 6 - 12 months because of the very high rents, indeed Hooters which was literally about 75 yards away went out of business recently and that was plagued by financial difficulties for a year before it closed down.
Therefore they must be chasing the daytime trade that visit the Tai Kwun complex on Hollywood Road and perhaps the lunch trade from the surrounding buildings, the food is ok and quite cheap but I cannot see it appealing that much to the hordes of bankers | lawyers | socialites who visit Wyndham Street after dark.
... but hey, what do I know about the restaurant business.but when I took this photograph it was lunchtime and the restaurant was basically empty.
My friend Amy of Hong Kong Greeters, she does awesome Private Car Tours of Hong Kong in a rather snazzy Nissan 7 Seater (and also a Toyota Alphard for Lantau) or as I call it the Amymobile.
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Amy is a great friend of mine and she is an amazing private tour guide and she also has a bit of an ace up her sleeve in so far as she can offer fabulous car tours in Hong Kong for those that need this option, (great for families!)
Here it is in Amy's words
"In an air-conditioned luxury private car, we will drive to some of the places most visitors do not get to see in Hong Kong, and includes some of the best experiences possible. With new Toyota Alphards and Nissan Serenas you will be in the utmost comfort and safety. Perfect for layover tours or when you only have a short time in the city.
You can delve into history and experience the local way of life in the colourful Hong Kong Island, Kowloon or Lantau Island including, along with some of the major attractions along the way. We have helped so many visitors who didn’t want to miss out – even if you are in Hong Kong for only 5 hours, we can help you with a full itinerary on your layover tour. Choose from some of the following highlights…
Once inhabited by pirates, a must-stop visit is Victoria Peak. Immerse yourself in the panoramic view of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, and get close to some of the most expensive real-estate in the world… nothing sets the density, money and scale of the city better! [Optional return by Peak Tram funicular].
Get a better understanding of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism whist visiting the vibrant Wong Tai Sin Temple and by contrast the peaceful the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Gardens. They represent different strands religion but have equal importance in the hearts, minds and belief systems of the people of Hong Kong.
Aberdeen Harbour, thought to be the fragrant harbour’s namesake due to the early trade in sandalwood, is a perfect place to see the contrast between fishermen’s boat houses and the luxurious yachts in Aberdeen Marina on a sampan ride.
Shopping at Stanley market, famous for fashion, Chinese crafts and paintings… the choice is endless!
Escape and enjoy the beauty of the (restricted access zone) of Lantau Island in a private vehicle. Discover hidden markets, stilted houses and of course skip walking the 268 steps up to the Big Buddha himself. Minimum booking 5 hours, additional charges for entering the restricted permit area, maximum 6-passengers.
We can also provide a private car transfer service for the airport and cruise terminal to taxi you and your luggage to and from your hotel. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details".
You simply cannot get a better car tour in Hong Kong.
Being Jackie Chan, Taxi driver in Hong Kong.
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I always scan the driver ID Cards in Taxi's in Hong Kong simply because sometimes you see some great names.
This is one of the best I have seen and unlike most of our grumpy taxi drivers this chap had a great sense of humour and clearly liked being identified as Jackie Chan,
You can talk all you want about how fast the Tesla Model S is but to a car nut like me I would take the Mercedes every single time
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I do love this image
In March 2017 the Hong Kong Government slapped a tax on Tesla's (about 80%) and sales ground to a halt, I can say that Tesla is making a strong comeback on the Streets of Hong Kong, I am seeing a lot more newly registered Tesla's in the past 3 or 4 months (2018) which surely means that people see them as a luxury car and are buying them on merit, they are still a fair bit cheaper than most similar luxury cars in Hong Kong.
I have been in a few of them but it makes no difference, I am simply not that much of a fan.
I am somewhat of a car fanatic as most of you will know and I would much rather have the Mercedes Benz AMG in the image above, the growl the car made as it went whizzing by was simply awesome, I just do not have time for silent cars.... funnily enough one of my favourite car growls is also a Mercedes Benz, the amazing G Wagon, oh my what a noise that makes.
Also, you simply cannot compare a Porsche GT3 RS with a Tesla side by side, ok the Tesla might be 0.4 of a second faster to 60mph BUT it can never replicate the roar that the Porsche makes, the Porsche is the one of the best WHOA | OH MY GOSH | HOLY SHOOT moments ever as it accelerates, the Tesla is BLAH by comparison.
So there you go.
Oh my golly gosh, the simply amazing Pagani Zonda Absolute - this is a custom made car and is rumoured to be the only one of it's kind in the world and it is in Hong Kong!... oh... and yes, this is my picture, talk about being in the right place at the right time.
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