Tai O village: Hong Kong Day Trips
You are visiting Hong Kong. The first thing you must be thinking is that Hong Kong is all about a gigantic city. Well, not really: Hong Kong has many things to offer, and one of them is a authentic local culture. And Tai O village, on the western side of Lantau Island, is a magnificient Hong Kong traditional fishing village. To some, it’s comparable to Venice, in a much asian style. And they are not really wrong. The scenary of the houses above water is absolutely stunning, and the authentic feeling of the local life allows to see Hong Kong on a different light. Indeed, this contrast with the modern and chaotic megacity Hong Kong makes Tai O Fishing Village one of the must do day trips when visiting Hong Kong.
- 1 5 Things to do in Tai O Village
- 2 How to get to and off Tai-O Fishing Village?
- 3 Where to stay in Tai O Village?
- 4 End of our guide
5 Things to do in Tai O Village
Tai O offers various enjoyable activities. With the diminishing fishing activity, the village has chosen tourism as their mean of survival, and all the inhabitant work together to make your visit interesting. Here are 5 ideas of things that you could do:
Admire the scenery
When visiting a beautiful village like Tai O, nothing beats a simple stroll around it. Tai O is quite a small village, so you won’t need a lot of time to go through it in its whole. So don’t be lazy and go get lost in it! The houses are fascinating and you can get a sneak peak on the daily lives of local inhabitant of the village. You will surely stop a long time at the bridge, to admire the beautiful scenery of the village and the sea.
Stroll around the Market
The market is a fascinating place to visit, in any cities. You will see locals selling all kinds of peculiar products and get an idea of what is exactly a “local” product. Of course, you will see a lot of seafood, given the geographical localtion of Tai O. It was interesting to see that Hong Kong locals really like to dry their seafood (most of the seafoods sold were dry seafoods).
Take Boat tours
A lot of locals will offer you to take you on a boat tour. It can be a nice idea to enjoy the scenery from a boat! The tours are usually around 20 minutes and cost 20 HKD. Be careful as these are small boats that can be quite bumpy! If you are lucky you can even spot some dolphins, but we have heard that since the construction of a gigantic nearby bridge, the dolphins have moved on. Such a shame!
Kayak on the sea
We didn’t try this, but we’ve seen that some people could kayak on the sea. It looked really fun, and as the sea on this side is very calm, it should be very easy to get around on a kayak. If you are looking for a special experience, this could be the way to create an unforgettable memory!
Eat Street Food
The best way to experience a city’s culture? Eating street food of course! Like any authentic local villages, Tai O offers a large variety of delicious street foods. Here are some examples that you can try!
There was once a legend in Tai O, an old man that had mastered the egg puff cooking to perfection. Sadly, when we asked around, it seems that this old man retired. So you are left with other copycats… However these are really good so you should definitely try them! The special point is that these egg puffs are cooked with charcoal fire, giving them a special taste.
Behind the funny name hides a delicious local snack. Husband is a snack with some minced pork wrapped around with a local pan fried pastry, with some shrimp sauce and lettuce. And it’s DELICIOUS. It’s quite small so it’s perfect to eat it while strolling around the market. Don’t miss it, we really recommend it!
Tai O Donut
The Tai O donut is a round fried donut, extremely popular with tourists. The donuts are freshly fried directly in front of you and cost 10 HKD each. This was surprisingly good, as we first thought it was a normal donut! We really recommend this, but you might have to wait a while, this bakery had quite a long queue.
This a typical local dessert, that is quite special if you never tried red bean based desserts. The ones in Tai O are really good and for a dessert this is the healthy option!
Sorry for the blurry photo, but we had to add this snack as we really enjoyed it. It’s a local rice cake with some nuts on it (and sold on banana leaves). The texture is really funny at first as it’s sticky and elastic, but the taste was really good! Don’t be too intimidated by the weird apparence and try it! It’s delicious.
Curry Fish Balls
You can find these fish balls anywhere in Hong Kong, but the ones in Tai O were really huge. The size made them really juicy, and the overall taste was better. But maybe it was because of the fantastic surrounding! Anyway, classic Hong Kong snack!
The best one for the last! These barbecued skewers are AMAZING. You can get some on the go, or go inside the restaurants to eat them. You can chose seafood, meat,vegetables, anything you want! We especially liked the chicken and the clams there.
How to get to and off Tai-O Fishing Village?
Well, we are going to be honest with you, while Tai O Village is magnificent, the logistics are not optimally organized. It’s quite difficult to get there (and especially off the village). And the worst thing is that with the growing popularity of the village, a lot of people are trying to get there.
By MTR and Bus
This is the easiest way to get to Tai O:
- Take the MTR Tung Chung Line and get off at the last station of the Tung Chung Direction: Tung Chung
- From there, look for the exit B, and the bus terminus
- At the Bus terminus, take the bus 11 to get to Tai O
By Ferry and Bus
This way is also fairly easy and more interesting: you get to take the boat to Lantau island!
- Take the Ferry to Mui Wo at the Central Ferry Pier 6 (MTR Central Station)
- From Mui Wo, take the bus 1 to get to Tai O. The Bus terminal is just in front of the Ferry pier.
By MTR and a 4 hour trail
This is the most difficult, and also the most interesting. Follow the steps of the 1st way, MTR + Bus, but at Tung Chung station, do not take the bus. Instead, you are going to walk 4 hours along the coast of Lantau. This is for people who enjoy outdoor activities and hiking. It allows you to get through multiple countryside villages and to discover Hong Kong in a new light.
Getting off Tai O
This is where things get complicated: there will be a LOT of people trying to get out of the village, and the queue for the bus 11 will be so long you won’t see the end of it. And of course, the area is so remote there are no taxis. 2 solutions:
- Wait at the queue, there might be a lot of people, but the bus leaves every minutes so you will wait much less than what you think (around 30 minutes, but it depends on the day).
- Take the Bus 1 to Mui Wo (much less people will take this one) and take the ferry from there. This is the solution we took and it worked out great!
Where to stay in Tai O Village?
If you want to stay in Tai O Village for the night, there are several hotels in town. Here are some of them:
- Tai O Heritage Hotel: Nice hotel in a european style colonial building
- Tai O Inn By the Sea: For people with more budget constraint, a good quality/price ratio!
End of our guide
So that’s it! It might not take you the whole day (unless you did the hike from Tung Chung), but it’s long enough to go there in the morning and get back to Hong Kong in the early evening. We think this is a very good way to experience the real “local” side of Hong Kong, away from the craziness of the city.