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Lantao Island day trip

Auchterarder...
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Lantao Island day trip

Husband and I are coming to HK in Nov for 8 days, this is the first time we'll have had more than the usual rushed 2 days before heading to chill on a beach in Thailand. Would like to take him to Lantao Island. Way back, some 20-25 years ago, I used to live in HK and if friends came to stay we would take them to see Lantao for the day. In those days, it was a long journey....bus from Mong Kok to TST, Star Ferry, walk to main ferry terminal, get ferry to Lantoa, then bus up to monastery. Another bus to Tai O to see the fishing village, then back to ferry terminal by bus, then ferry home etc. More time spent travelling than sight seeing!

Last time I was on Lantao, the buddha was being built. Now I read about the cable car up there and the MTR so what I'm wondering is, what is the best way to do this? is Tai O still worth a trip? I recall the little floating boat that got pulled along by a rope to get you to the other side but heard this is now a bridge? Do they still have fish hanging up to dry on the streets? Is there a walking trail we could do for a couple of hours to take in the views and get away from the crowds? Is the cable car really worth a trip or are the views that good and should we do it one way, then do the old method (bus and ferry) back to take it all in at a leisurely pace?

Thanks.

New Forest, United...
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1. Re: Lantao Island day trip

I used to do the same Lantau trip before the Tsing Ma Bridge and Lantau Link to the new airport opened too. Most people get to the Buddha and Po Lin Monastery at Ngong Ping these days by taking MTR to Tung Chung and then either cable car (25 mins) or number 23 (45/50 mins). On a clear day the views from the cable car are pretty spectacular as it crosses Tung Chung Bay and then over the mountains and its well worth the journey. However, there are often lengthy queues at the cable car terminus. Although the cable car itself is a great attraction the unfortunate consequence is that Ngong Ping has become rather commercialised with a tacky "culturally- themed" Chinese village complete wirh Starbucks, Subway, restaurants and souvenir shops, and more recent developments such as the new piazza. However, the Buddha, monastery and Wisdom Path (about 15 mins walk from the Buddha past the tea gardens) where there is a viewpoint with views up to Lantau Peak and down to Shek Pik Reservoir and the south coast are well worth visiting.

There are various walks in the area and the circular Nei Lak Shan Country Trail which is quite easy and well marked;

hkwalkers.net/eng/…Route_Map.htm

Tai O, at the moment is relatively unspoilt but that is likely to change with the opening of a new hotel and visitor centre in the old police station shortly and a drive to increase tourist numbers although its usually pretty busy anyway with mainland tourists these days, like just about everywhere else in HK. A bridge replaced the hand-pulled ferry in 1996 but the old ferry is still brought out as a tourist attraction sometimes at weekends. The shrimp paste factory is still there and fish are still hung out to dry. Some of the old stilt houses were destroyed in a fire a few years back but have been replaced with new stilt houses instead of modern buildings. There are a couple of interesting museums, the Tai O Rural Committee Showrooms and the Tai O Culture Workshop, both on Wing On Street. Probably best to see Tai O before it, too gets commercialised. You can walk through the village to the Yeung Hau Temple and nearby pavilion, and along the way you "lose" much of the crowd of visitors.

A "round-trip" is a good way to see Lantau, MTR to Tung Chung, cable car to Ngong Ping, bus 21 to Tai O (15 mins), bus 1 along the South Lantau Road to Mui Wo (40 mins) and ferry to Central. "Ordinary Ferry" (same boats but a different operator and refurbished), as opposed to Fast Ferry (catamaran) makes for a scenic cruise. Ordinary Ferry takes about 55 mins, Fast Ferry, 30 mins.

You can also of course do the trip in reverse.

One of the easiest and best walks in the area is the downhill walk through the Tung Chung Valley from Ngong Ping to Tung Chung through forested hills, past streams and waterfalls past Po Lam Monastery at Tei Tong Tsai and Lo Hon Monastery at Shek Mun Kap (you can go inside both provided meditation isn't in progress). Takes about 90 mins to Tung Chung Road from where there are frequent buses to Tung Chung Centre, or about 2 hours all the way to the town centre.

Edited: 09 September 2011, 15:03
Hong Kong, China
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2. Re: Lantao Island day trip

SolentTravellers input and transport advice are very good and very wise. Little more to add other than support for taking the Ngong Ping cable car. While the village is a bit tacky, in my opinion, the cable car ride is tranquil and very enjoyable. Watching the Buddha come into sight is very nice!

After exiting the cable car, you can walk right through the Ngong Ping 360 created village if its not of interest to you, right up to Big Buddha and Po Lin. Its a very worthy 1/2 day trip from Hong Kong. Adding Tai O - make it a 3/4 day trip.

Have a great return trip to Hong Kong and hope you enjoy your 8 days here.

Hong Kong, China
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3. Re: Lantao Island day trip

There are many nice walks on Lantau! I think the one from Ngong Ping village to Shek Pik dam is quite nice, and fits well into a "circle tour" of Lantau.

Example: MTR to Tung Chung, Cable car Tung Chung to Ngong Ping. Hike from Ngong Ping down to Shek Pik Dam (about 2.5 hours). Bus to Tai O. Bus to Cheung Sha (stop and have dinner at The Stoep, right on the beach.) Bus to Mui Wo. Ferry back to Central.

Auchterarder...
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4. Re: Lantao Island day trip

Excellent advice thanks! Think I will do it that way, 'new route' there and the familiar route back, and will try to escape for a hike too weather permitting! Husband will be fed up of hearing me say 'wasn't like this when I was growing up here!'. Funny how I loved how it was and all the change that occurred and now when I return it's harder to get nostalgic when nothing is as familiar. Was totally shocked by the land reclamation at the ferry pier, soon a running jump is all that will be needed!

Elk Grove...
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5. Re: Lantao Island day trip

>>> Do they still have fish hanging up to dry on the streets? Is there a walking trail we could do for a couple of hours to take in the views and get away from the crowds?

Yes they still hang and dry fish and other seafood thing to dry on the street or near.

There is a path that take you to the back side of Tai O and up a small hill. Up there you can see the water between Lantau Island and the Pearl River Delta areas. There is a public, free telescope. We used it and spotted some pink dolphins. They like to swim after the net casted between two fishing boats.

Easy catch on some injured/stunt fish, I guess.

If you have time for a longer trail, you can also walk from Tai O to Fan Lau. The most western tip of Hong Kong SAR I believe. On a clear day perhaps you can see Macau across the water some 20 miles away. The trail is along the coastline pretty much. Elevation up/down is only about 200 meters or so. But it's about 6-7 km to get to Fan Lau. It may take 2-3 hours. From Fan Lau, you can walk to Shek Pik Reservior instead of back to Tai O.

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6. Re: Lantao Island day trip

Agree that the walk to Fan Lau is nice, but it is a long, flat coastal walk and a bit exposed -- the midday sun can get very hot, so if you do that walk be sure to have good hats and plenty of water. The entire walk from Tai O to Fan Lau (where there are remains of a Qing Dynasty-era fort) and then on to Shek Pik (where you can get the bus) will take more like 5 hours, I think.

OP, rest assured that you are not the only one "totally shocked" by the Central reclamation. Many of us who live here and have watched it happen shake our heads every day at the stupidity of the brilliant government planners who have destroyed a major part of the Central eco-system; the effects will only be seen as the years go on. As a result of being forced to move out into the desert, far from where people want to arrive or depart, the Star Ferry is slowly going bankrupt as its ridership collapses. Either it will go bankrupt, or more likely will be transformed like the Peak Tram into an expensive tourist travel experience, rather than a part of the pulsing lifeblood of a great city. Sic transit gloria mundi......

Elk Grove...
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7. Re: Lantao Island day trip

>> One of the easiest and best walks in the area is the downhill walk through the Tung Chung Valley from Ngong Ping to Tung Chung through forested hills, past streams and waterfalls past Po Lam Monastery at Tei Tong Tsai and Lo Hon Monastery at Shek Mun Kap

Yeah... that reminds me... when you pass by their Monastery, hold your nose and stop breathing and walk as fast as you can. They believe in using human fertilizers... :(

Auchterarder...
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8. Re: Lantao Island day trip

Thanks for the top tips. No danger my husband will do a 5 hour walk although I will try my best. And thankfully for me, I have no sense of smell so I won't be affected at least! It does have more disadvantages in the main though :)

Napa, California
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9. Re: Lantao Island day trip

I am following tour ideas as well - thank you!

10. Re: Lantao Island day trip

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