Editor’s Note: this article was originally published on 30 May, 2012, by Jackie, The Amateur Explorer, and has been updated and amended by Stephanie Ma on 28 June, 2017.
Tai O, a well-known and beloved fishing village on Lantau Island, is a great escape from HK Island’s chaotic vibe. Teeming with a small village charm, which we are hard pressed to find in Hong Kong these days, its traditional way of life is still very much in tact. Tai O’s streets are filled with pedestrians and its vendors and businesses sell locally made products. Its main source of income is still strongly tied to the sea, and there is even a small, locally run heritage museum located within a traditional Tai O home, that offers a glimpse into the fishing village’s past. Small houses that sit above the sea on stilts, countless dried seafood vendors and friendly locals are found throughout the area. Next time you’re in need of a little escape, hop over to Tai O and check out the following things to do:
Photograph the old-style stilt houses
Deemed by many as Venice of the East, Tai O is home to a large community of Tanka people who have built their home on stilts above the Lantau waters for generations. These dilapidated, low-rising structures are a stark contrast to the concrete jungle that we are already so accustomed to, and seeing them makes you (almost!) forget you’re a stone’s throw from a bustling city.
Take a heritage walk around Tai O
Unbeknownst to many, the Tai O fishing village is actually a place of great historical value – it houses a myriad of graded structures dated back to the 1400s. A must visit is the Kwan Tai Temple, built in 1488 to honour the God of War and Righteousness. This place of worship is a photographer’s paradise with its colourful details and great cultural significance. Definitely Insta-worthy as well!
Roam wander-fully around the back alleys and footpaths
If you love immersing yourself into local cultures and lifestyle, Tai O’s got you covered. The back alleys and footpaths of the tranquil village are cluttered with retro-style architecture, setting you free from the hustle and bustle of our busy city. Make sure to check out the back alleys and footpaths of the tranquil village – they are cluttered with retro-style architecture.
Encounter the Chinese White dolphins
If you visit Tai O just to take snapshots of those stunning stilt houses, then you’re completely missing out. Add in a boat trip around the Tai O waters and pay a visit to the endangered Chinese White Dolphins – this trip should be added to the top of your travel itinerary to make your visit worthwhile! You’ll be truly mesmerised by the swift, glistening bodies of those magnificent creatures and the rich biodiversity Hong Kong has to offer!
Browse the local market
Any visit to Tai O would be incomplete without checking out the local market. From barbecued oysters and Cantonese-style pizza to “Husband Pancakes,” Tai O offers a wide range of unique yet delicious street eats that you would not normally find on Hong kong island.
Take the ferry to Mui Wo from Central pier, then hop on bus #1 to Tai O. Alternatively, take the MTR to Tung Chung, then take bus #11 to Tai O.
Author: Sassy Girls