Home Hongkong Hong Kong – Lantau: from skyscrapers to the fishing village of Tai O

Hong Kong – Lantau: from skyscrapers to the fishing village of Tai O

by Sabine
Published Last updated on
Languages / Talen

Looking at the beautiful skyline of Hong Kong, it’s as if Hong Kong consists only of tall skyscrapers. But nothing could be further from the truth: Hong Kong is so much more than gray buildings! I took a day trip to Lantau Island, where I was met by Hong Kong native Elaine, who proudly showed me her little hometown. She led me through the narrow streets and past small houses. I marveled at the great contrast with the mainland, none of which is evident here in Tai O. Read on and discover the other Hong Kong!

Lantau: Hong Kong’s largest island

Only a good half-hour away from the busy downtown area, I found Lantau Island. Arriving in the capital by subway, I first catch the bus to the giant Buddha, one of the most tourist sites in Hong Kong. I climb the many steps to the top for a beautiful view of the surroundings. However, it is so touristy here that I quickly left. I send Elaine a message that I am on the bus to Tai O. On the way, all I see are green mountains, beautiful beaches, deserted roads and small islands. How beautiful it is here! Even in Hong Kong, you can spend days hiking through pristine nature or relaxing on a deserted beach. Arriving at Tai O, I seem to have arrived in another world: what a contrast to the downtown area!


Tai O Hong Kong: a picturesque fishing village on stilts

Tai O is a typical fishing village where the inhabitants maintain a totally different lifestyle from the Hong Kong mainland. Life revolves around the sea and drying fish. The village consists of wooden houses high above the water, where many families live together. The water is low now, but can also rise considerably, protecting the cottages on stilts from flooding. Several large and smaller temples can be found in the village. The views from the hiking trails are also very nice. From here you can walk through beautiful green mountains all the way back to the capital on Lantau.


With a local through Tai O: 5 facts

Elaine tells me all kinds of interesting things about life in this fishing village. Here are 5 facts about Tai O!

In one house on stilts, several families live crammed together in a very small space. Families living in the back must first pass through someone else’s house to get into their own.

A typical house consists of a kitchen and bathroom, with the footpath in between used as a living room. So as a tourist you just walk through these people’s houses, something I thought was quite a crazy idea.

Going to the toilet is done in a wooden shack next to the house. Everything falls down into the water.

I have noticed that the relationship between Hong Kong and China is not too good. Elaine is also quite negative about the Chinese and afraid that China will eventually turn her cute little village into an amusement park. There have been plans for years to build a cable car from Tai O up the mountain, something that will totally destroy the picturesque scene.

During our walk, she gave me a typical snack that was surprisingly delicious: a kind of dough ball made of flour and egg, topped with sugar. Cold fresh lemon tea with honey is also tasty. Delicious!


Wandering through a fishing village in Hong Kong

After she took me to her favorite little restaurant, we had a nice chat and some food, Elaine had to go back to work. Before catching the bus myself back across the island to the metro, I went to wander around this amazing village. After a few days in the busy city, this was a very pleasant change and a feast for the eyes. Check out a small selection of photos and enjoy this special life as I do!


Would you also like to tour Hong Kong with a local? Find a local guide who can tell and show you all about this beautiful place!


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