11 September, 2017
What's On HK

A Local’s Guide to Lantau

11 September, 2017

Disconnect from the city by getting into the wild

 

Even though we loved the bustling city life on Hong Kong island, our move to Lantau Island was the best thing we have done since our big move to Hong Kong. It’s a whole different world here, where the tempo of life is done by the rhythm of the waves, and where cattle are part of the landscape. Here, our biggest worry of the day isn’t getting onto the MTR during peak hours, but whether we will cross a cobra on our way back home.

From Mui Wo to Tai O, the Lantau community lives in total harmony with nature. It’s not only a fantastic place to live, but also a perfect weekend destination and the kind of place that allows you to completely disconnect from the city. Not sure where to begin? I’ve sorted out a few plans that will help you fall in love with this island as much as I have.

What to do on Lantau Island?

A picturesque day from Tung Chung to Tai O:

You may think of Tung Chung  as the last place you’d want to hang out on your days off, but you’d be surprised by the gems that are hidden in this district.

a locals guide to lantau - tai o

Explore Tung Chung Fort

Start your day with an exploration of this historic fort built in the 12th century. Surrounded by giant palm and banana trees, and with Tung Chung’s immense buildings in the background, it offers some pretty unique views.

Tung Chung Fort, Ha Ling Pei Tsuen,Tung Chung Road, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Lunch in Lantau’s Little India

Right near Tung Chung Fort is Yat Tung, which has a strong Indian community, and with it comes an Indian restaurant serving mouth-watering food. Think spicy lamb, beef kadhai, tandoori chicken, curries and all kind of naans.

Handi Indian Restaurant, No. 8 Ha Ling Pei Tsuen, Tung Chung Road, Lantau Island, Hong Kong 

Hike to Tai O Village

Time to work off those extra calories with a scenic 15-kilometre hike! Venture across small villages, along the sea with panoramic views of the airport, and then into the jungle, finally arriving in quaint Tai O Village.

How to get there: Past Yat Tung Estate, take the stairs going downhill signed Hau Wong Temple, then walk to San Tau area in the direction of San Shek Wan. You’ll find signs indicating Tai O.

Drink in Tai O Heritage Hotel

Stop for some refreshing drinks in Heritage Hotel’s splendid terrace. Back in 1902, this hotel was a police station, established to combat pirates prevalent in the neighbouring waters! Today, it’s a luxurious hotel with its own vintage architectural charm.

Tai O Heritage Hotel, Shek Tsai Po Street, Tai O, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Sunset from Tai O Pier

Why would you take the bus to get back to Tung Chung when you can hop on a ferry? It offers some gorgeous sunset views, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the famous Lantau pink dolphins during the ride.

A day on the trails, from Lantau Peak to Tung Chung via the Big Buddha:

a locals guide to lantau big buddha

Hit Lantau Peak Trail

On sunny days, this hike offers some breathtaking views of the island that can almost make you feel like you’re in Fiji! It takes two and a half hours to get to the Big Buddha, and the best way to do it is to reward yourself with a picnic once you get to the Peak. It’s very quiet on weekdays, so you might have the trail just to yourself.

Lantau Peak Trail starting point: Pak Kung Au bus stop

From Ngong Ping Village to Tung Chung, Option 1 : HIKE

There are plenty of options to recharge your batteries in Ngong Ping Village. Once you’re ready to get back to Tung Chung, you’ve got two options. The first is to climb down following the trail under the cable car. It’s takes three hour downhill with zillions of steps, but is an excellent work out!

From Ngong Ping Village to Tung Chung, Option 2 : FLY

If you’ve had enough action for one day, you can hop on Ngong Ping Cable Car for a scenic ride over the Lantau mountains. When you arrive in Tung Chung Cable Car station, don’t leave without a stop in the souvenir shop – that’s where you can buy my illustrated goods!

Thai delights before night

After this sweaty hike, the only thing you’ll want to do is to go back home, take a shower and crash on your sofa. But before that, stop in My Thai restaurant for a delicious curry, grilled pork neck or a spicy tom yum soup to take away.

My Thai, GF, Coastal Skyline, 12, Tung Chung Waterfront Rd, Tung Chung, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

A day (secret) beach hopping,  from Lo Kei Wan to Stony Beach:

a locals guide to lantau - Lo Kei Wan

Hike along the coastline to Lo Kei Wan

Looking for a day far from the madding crowd? Following the colourful coastline, this two hour hike might offer you the peace you’ve been dreaming of. To enjoy the serenity at its best, make sure to take your camping gear and stay for the night, as there is a campsite on the trail. Lo Kei Wan is a lovely little beach. You might want to get there early to have time to soak up the atmosphere. From there, a 25 minute-walk will take you back to Shui Hau Village. Don’t forget your mosquito repellent!

How to get there: Shek Pik Reservoir bus stop, take the road on the left and follow the signs.

Take a nap in secret Stony Beach

From Shui Hau, hop on a bus to Tong Fuk Bus Terminus. Walk pass the little bridge, then straight ahead on your right-hand side you’ll see a small path going down. A 10 minute-walk into the lush jungle will take you to Stony Beach, a quiet little section far from the tourists.

Barbecue under the stars

Be sure you’re hungry before you hit The Gallery. This small restaurant serves some of the best meat on Lantau Island. Steaks, salads, burgers and pizzas are all made with quality, sourced ingredients. The atmosphere on the terrace is laid-back, and the staff friendly. Thankfully, there are big fans to keep you cool in summer.

The Gallery, 26, Tong Fuk Village, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

A day of action, between South Lantau beaches and Sunset Peak:

a locals guide to lantau - Shui Hau Wan

Kitesurf in Shui Hau Wan

When the wind allows it, Shui Hau Wan is the best kitesurfing spots in Hong Kong. Days of riding in summer are rare (and are often in winter), but when the wind picks up, the beach transforms into an exciting riders’ spot. There’s an IKO school on the beach if you feel like giving it a try!

Hong Kong Kiteboarding School, 9288 4571 

Enjoy water sports in Cheung Sha Beach

If you’re not keen to try kitesurfing, head to Lower Cheung Sha Beach for some SUP (stand up paddle boarding), skimboarding, kayaking or swimming – and even surfing in typhoon season!

Eat the best fish & chips at Long Island

You’ve got plenty of options for lunch in Cheung Sha, although I must say, if you like fish & chips, you simply can’t miss having them at Long Island. It also serves delicious ribs, curries and burgers. For a smaller bite, Lantau Grocer next door offers refreshing homemade smoothies, salads and sandwiches.

Long Island, 35, Lower Cheung Sha Village, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Lantau Grocer, 38, Lower Cheung Sha Village, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Sunset from Sunset Peak

Leave the beach while the sun is still up and take a bus (number 11 or number 23), or a taxi to Pak Kung Au. It’s time to climb that scenic Sunset Peak! Don’t forget your camera and, most importantly, a flashlight for you hike down in the dark.

Read all about it “Sunset from the Sunset Peak“ on Miles of Happiness. 

Cocktails on the beach at Mavericks

Get on a bus or hail a taxi to Mui Wo, and if it’s a weekend or public holiday, stop in Pui O to finish the day with your feet in the sand and some cocktails at Mavericks. This relaxed beachside bar and restaurant will give you a good old holiday feel!

Mavericks, Pui O Beach, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

A day up and down the mountain, from Tung Chung to Mui Wo:

a locals guide to lantau hike

 

Hike from the mall… to the hills

There aren’t many hikes where you start window shopping with Kate Spade and Michael Kors and later get lost in the jungle, but this one does. You’ll later find your feet on the beach, and see water buffalos wandering around. Start the hike at Tung Chung MTR station, then cross City Gate mall, walk all the way to Carribean Coast, Hei Tung Street, then follow the path along the sea. After Pak Mong village, you’ll see a sign indicating the Olympic Trail or Mui Wo – follow it. This 10.5 kilometre-hike takes about two and a half hours up and down the mountain. Make sure to take plenty of water, as some parts are pretty steep.

Find the wisdom in old Man Mo Temple

On your way down to Mui Wo, in the village of Pak Ngan Heung, you’ll see an authentic little temple. It was built in 1958 and has origins in the Ming Dynasty. Although small in size, it has its own charm, complete with gorgeous artworks.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Cool down with a swim

When you reach Mui Wo, you’ll probably dream about two things: a swim and a cold drink. Everything in its own time! Head to Silvermine Beach for a well-deserved refreshing jump in the sea!

After effort comes comfort… food!

Mui Wo offers plenty of delicious options. A favourite among the locals is The Kitchen, situated opposite the Ferry Pier. It serves massive portions of homemade pasta (the mushroom & truffle is a delight!), and giant crusty pizzas. If you’re looking for something more exotic, Bahce Turkish Restaurant near the ferry serves some great savoury dishes.

The Kitchen, Scenic Crest, 18A Mui Wo Ferry Pier Rd, Mui Wo, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Bahce Turkish Restaurant, Mui Wo Centre, 3, Ngnan Wan Rd, Mui Wo, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Wild wild Lantau: what to expect?

a locals guide to lantau wildlife

Lantau Island is known as the island of snakes –you’re not a real local until you’ve crossed a cobra or a python on your way home. But is it really dangerous and what should youexpect?

Snakes:

Cobras, pythons, red necked … There are plenty of species wandering around Lantau Island’s lush nature, but they aren’t all dangerous. Of course, you’re most likely to cross a snake if you go hiking into the jungle in summer, but as long as you don’t surprise them, you’ll be okay.

Spiders:

They are massive, colourful and creepy – we’ve all had the chance to see one of these, on Lantau, Lamma Island or anywhere else in Hong Kong. If you’re scared of spiders, avoid the hike from Tai O to Man Cheung’s Infinity Pool: in summer, the whole track is surrounded by spiderwebs. The one and only time we did that hike, we spotted more than a hundred of them!

Lantau Cattles:

They are part of the Lantau family! They roam free and spend their time wandering around, from Cheung Sha Beach to the Big Buddha. Of course, they are friendly, but be nice, as they are precious to the locals and very protected.

Lantau Water Buffalos:

They’re awesome and impressive! Water Buffalos were once a very important part of the village life in Lantau, and until the 70s, they were still being used in Pui O to plough the fields. Like the cattle, they now roam free on the island. As long as you leave them alone, they are very friendly. Be careful if you have a dog though, they have a tendency to wind them up when they want to play.

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