When we think of Hong Kong, we forgivably, indeed, automatically think of Hong Kong Island. Close your eyes and it is that floating city of glass and neon that comes to mind. However, the island that gives the territory its name is one of 200 offshore islets of which Lantau is actually the biggest
Located to the West of Hong Kong Island near the mouth of the Pearl River, Lantau was until recently mostly comprised of fishing villages. But with space a premium in the SAR, the last few decades have seen rapid development of this hilly outcropping. Identikit high-rise apartments now line its shores while Hong Kong International Airport was opened there in 1998. However, it’s also rich in history and nature. Out on lovely Lantau there's plenty to see and do:
Poto Source: Wikipedia
The Ngong Ping 360 cable car affords fantastic views of low-density Lantau. It will also provide you with a birds-eye view of the islands star attraction, the Big Buddha. At Po Lin Monastery, a tranquil, century old Buddhist complex composed of palatial prayer halls, shrines, courtyards and gardens, the 112 feet, 250 metric ton bronze sculpture rests on a podium that visitors must climb 268 steps to reach. It is a must get Hong Kong photo. But if you feel fatigued afterwards, fear not. Below is one of Hong Kong’s finest vegan restaurants where you can gorge on fantastic tofu and vegetable dishes. To complete your spiritual sojurn why not walk the Wisdom Path, which traces a series of 38 wooden steles (upright monuments) containing verses from the centuries-old Heart Sutra, one of the world’s best-known prayers which are revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike.
MTR: Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take Ngong Ping Cable Car, which takes around 25 minutes. The monastery is 10 minutes walk away from here.
Photo Source: Sassy Hong Kong
On the western side of Lantau Island the fishing town of Tai O, divided by a creek, is a remarkable place to visit. Here there remain traditional stilt houses that reach into the sea, tangible signs of the Hong Kong of yesterday. At the market, there are tons of seafood specialities to sample. There are also plenty of natural wonders to enjoy including the unique habitats surrounding the Mangroves. Dolphin watching is also popular here best viewed from luxury boats that set out from TST. Visit during the Dragon Boat festival in June to see Chinese tradition at its most breath taking when the villages sail forth in their colourful rowing vessels to race to the beat of the imperial drum.
This is an upmarket, primarily expat development that overlooks two bays, Tai Pak and Yi Pak. As one might expect there are some fancy haunts here including the Discover Bay Marine Club and the Discover Bay Golf Club. But it’s also a fine place to hike the island from. The hills directly behind the apartment blocks reach up to 465 metres above sea level, and the hiking trails that traverse all the peaks on Lantau Island are accessible from here. The hills of Lantau tend to fall dramatically into jungle-covered valleys that spread up into verdant, grass-covered hills, making the walk a really fascinating one, the scenery every changing.
Ferry: A 24-hour ferry service travels between Dicovery Bay Pier on Tai Pak Bay and Pier 3 in Central Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Disney Land
There’s all the magic and fun might expect of America’s favourite entertainment studio including the Iron Man Experience, Star Wars: Tomorrowland Takeover – including a reimagined from Space Mountain – and the brand new stage performance Mickey and the Wonderous Book.
MTR: Disneyland Resort Station.
If history is more your thing, head to Tung Chung where you can check out a fortress originally built during the Southern Song dynasty a thousand years ago. It has been a place of salt smuggling, a pirate stronghold and naval fortress over the centuries. Now a protected heritage monument there are three arched gateways, each engraved with a Chinese inscription, and six still intact old muzzle-loading cannons, each resting on a cement base with enclosures made of granite blocks, which measure 70 by 80 metres.
MTR: Tung Chung