Feeling a little cramped in the dense busyness and fantastic chaos that is Hong Kong? Well, if you’ve got a weekend off, then you need to get out of town! Tai O Village is two hours from Central, but a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life and skyscrapers.
Considering cars are discouraged in Hong Kong, your best form of travel to Tai O is public transit. Take the MTR to Tung Chung Station and then the number 11 bus from Tung Chung Town Centre to Tai O; this journey is a little over an hour. Alternatively, get to the IFC Mall (1 Harbour View Street Central, Hong Kong, very well known, just ask) and take the ferry from the Central Ferry Pier (in front of the IFC Mall) which connects to Mui Wo on Lantau Island, where you can catch the number 1 bus from the bus terminal. The ferry is a slower, more scenic route, offering great panoramic views of Lantau and Hong Kong Island.
Tai O is a visual treat and a great way to get to know traditional Chinese life. Tourism has given this quaint fishing and salt farming village a new lease on life, as visitors stroll in and are welcomed by open markets, charming restaurants, cafés and shops. Seafood and their infamous shrimp paste are always the specialty of the day, and when you’re full, take a sampan tour around the bay, where you might catch sight of a school of dolphins, some of them pink. While touring around you will immediately notice the distinct architecture of Tai O, the traditional stilt homes built along the water, known as pang uk 棚屋.
If you choose to spend more than the day, a great place to stay is the Tai O Heritage Hotel, housed inside a 110-year-old former police station with colonial-style arcades and a traditional pitched tile roof. The hotel offers nine beautiful guestrooms, brick fireplaces and French doors, and all offer peace and quiet along the water, where you’ll only hear trees and the occasional passing boat. The Tai O Heritage hotel is non-profit; with all proceeds going toward Tai O cultural organizations. This little village is a step back in time, with modern conveniences. Visiting for a day or weekend will give you an opportunity to experience rural Chinese life. Tai O fishing village is a great place tota enjoy yourself, unwind and even find a little traditional Zen.