A world away from the concrete jungle and contemporary skyscrapers of Hong Kong, Tai O is a traditional fishing village that has retained its charm despite the comings and goings of tourists. It was historically home to Tanka, or boat people, and is made up of buildings on Lantau Island and stilt houses in the Tai O River.
What to see in Tai O
Simply strolling around Tai O and getting a feel for daily life here makes it well worth a trip, but there are a few attractions that deserve your attention:
- Local speciality markets: Tai O's traditional delicacies are based on their fishing heritage and spicy flavours: you'll find dried and salted fish and shrimp paste sold in stalls throughout the town.
- Pang uk: much of Tai O is made up of houses built on stilts above the water, known as pang uk, making it charmingly scenic.
- Boat trip: many visitors to Tai O choose to explore by boat to immerse themselves in the town's lifestyle. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the Chinese white dolphins - known as "pink dolphins" that inhabit the area. It's easy to find a local to take you on a tour.
- Dragon Boat Water Parade: inscribed on China's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Tai O's dragon boat water parade is held every year during the Dragon Boat Festival to invoke blessings for well-being and peace.
How to get to Tai O
- From Tung Chung: bus number 11 will take you to Tai O. The journey takes about 40 minutes and tickets are 11.80 HKD (US$ 1.50) (19.20 HKD (US$ 2.50) on Sundays and public holidays).
- From Ngong Ping: making the most of your time on Lantau Island after visiting the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha, you can take bus number 21 directly to Tai O. This takes 15 minutes and costs 6.60 HKD (US$ 0.80) (14 HKD (US$ 1.80) on Sundays and holidays).
Worth a visit
A refreshing and authentic experience awaits you in Tai O, the perfect place to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and to discover the area's traditional roots.