When you want a break from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s urban areas, Lantau is the perfect place to go. Whether you want to go for a hike, shop at Tung Chung’s outlet mall, eat fresh seafood in Tai O or even just relax on the beach, Lantau Island offers a variety of activities and will have you going home relaxed and refreshed. Here’s your big guide to what to do and see when you’re on Lantau Island.
To start off, why not head to Tung Chung on the orange line on the MTR to experience an up-and-coming district with a small-town feel. The new extension of the Citygate mall gives you access to the most popular brands at outlet prices and the newly opened The Silveri Hong Kong – MGallery Hotel has added some more flare with a rooftop dining option.
Citygate Outlets is the best place to go for designer clothes on a budget. The mall also houses an MCL Cinema if you’re looking to watch the next blockbuster. From the restaurants in Citygate Outlets to the smaller restaurants around the residential buildings, the area offers a plethora of dining options, from dim sum and steakhouse to sushi and Thai food, your stomach is bound to thank you for the experience.
If Citygate’s restaurants don’t appeal to you, take a taxi (or walk to get those steps in) to the nearby Sheraton Hotel where they have a mix of different restaurants that will definitely cater to your appetite. Go to La Vista where you can enjoy arguably some of the best Mexican food in Hong Kong, Funky Monkey for their extravagant cocktails and juicy Nepalese momos or Sunset Grill for a more elegant meal with a breathtaking view.
Ngong Ping & The Big Buddha
Getting to Ngong Ping is super easy and affordable. There are three ways to get to this serene place so take your pick! The first way is to go by cable car via the Ngong Ping 360 cable car terminal in Tung Chung. You could be spontaneous and show up to buy your ticket there or, plan ahead and book online here. If heights aren’t your thing, take the number 23 bus to Ngong Ping via the Tung Chung bus terminal and enjoy the relaxing and scenic bus ride. The last and probably most challenging way to get to Ngong Ping is to hike! Many people have taken up the challenge to hike all the way from Tung Chung to the Big Buddha. Although the walk may be gruelling and will make your calves and thighs feel as though they were on fire, it is so rewarding at the end when you get to have an amazing lunch at one of the many restaurants Ngong Ping has on display once you get there.
The Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha) is the largest seated buddha built outdoor, measuring at a height of 34 metres (112 feet). It is by far one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions and is definitely worth the visit. If getting out of the busy city for some peace is on your agenda then this is the place to go. Climb 268 steps to the base of the Buddha for a closer look at the 34-metre-tall statue and its surrounding mountain terrain.
Pui O Beach
This beach is home to Pui O’s beloved water buffalo that at times walk on the beach and actually interact with visitors when they feel comfortable. Pui O is only a 25-minute bus ride from the Tung Chung bus terminal via the 3M bus that goes to Mui Wo. On first arrival at the beach, you will be able to see the beach’s only restaurant – Treasure Island Beach Club. They serve mainly western food that will fill you up after a long day under the sun.
When you walk to the left of the restaurant, you will find newly renovated bathrooms with outdoor showers, as well as barbeque pits and seating areas. Keep walking along the beach and you will immediately see picnic benches that stretch to the far side of the beach where you can enjoy your own snacks and drinks.
Cheung Sha Beach
If you’re looking for a beach with more restaurant options then Lower Cheung Sha is the place to be. All of Cheung Sha’s restaurants are situated right on the beach so you get to enjoy your meal while watching the ocean. Lower Cheung Sha beach is accessible by the number 11 bus from the Tung Chung bus terminal or by taxi from Tung Chung MTR.
Upper Cheung Sha is almost the polar opposite of its neighbouring beach. There aren’t any restaurants as all of them are in lower Cheung Sha, but the beach itself is a lot wider and larger and gets extremely popular during the summer so plan your beach day perfectly! We recommend starting your day at upper Cheung Sha for a tan and swim and ending it by walking to lower Cheung Sha for a relaxing lunch or dinner. Just like lower Cheung Sha, upper Cheung Sha is also accessible by bus 11 or taxi, but you could also walk there through the lower beach.
With some of Hong Kong’s best beaches, there are several water sports providers on Lantau. Options include surfing, kayaking, kite boarding, surfing, dragon boating and outrigging – here are some options:
Want to give dragon boat racing or paddle boarding a go? Then the South Lantau Paddle Club is the place for you.
Kitesurfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and surfing lessons and kit hire are available at Long Coast Seasport.
Shui Hau is the biggest mud flat in Hong Kong and is a very popular spot for clamming and kiteboarding. To find out more about kiteboarding, contact the Kiteboarding Association of Hong Kong.
To get to Mui Wo from Hong Kong Island, head to ferry pier 6. The fast ferry will have you in Mui Wo in 40 minutes, and the slow ferry in 60 minutes. Step off the ferry and straight into the laid-back town of Mui Wo. It’s a popular starting point to explore the rest of Lantau with a bus terminus with routes to Tung Chung and Tai O, plus there is Silvermine Bay Beach, which is clean, has toilets and showers, as well as a wide selection of nearby restaurants.
You can hire bikes and trikes to head out and explore the surrounding area including the Silvermine waterfall, which is to the northwest – paths are well signed. If you walk up the hill past the waterfall, then you will reach Silvermine Cave which is a remnant of the former Silver Mine that gives the area its name. It’s about a 3km gentle walk from Mui Wo (well signed) or better still, hire a bike/trike – fun for the whole family! Trikes/bikes are available for hire from Friendly Bicycle Shop.
Mui Wo is a popular starting point for mountain biking in Lantau and the best place to ride is the Chi Ma Wan peninsula. Just one point to note – to ride on Lantau without risking a fine, you need to obtain a license from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
Mui Wo to Discovery Bay hike
Hiking from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay is probably one of the easiest hikes you can do on Lantau Island. You can choose to hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo but it’s recommended that you do it the other way round as hiking from Discovery Bay would mean a literal uphill battle. Hiking from Mui Wo would mean you’d get to hike past the amazing Silvermine waterfall as well as a stop at Standing Rock, an area on top of a hill with large boulders where you can rest and take pictures! Once you stop in Discovery Bay, freshen up at the main plaza’s bathroom and get a lovely rewarding meal at one of the many restaurants Discovery Bay has to offer.
If it’s culture that you’re after, a day in Tai O will not disappoint. A traditional fishing village with several hundred homes built on stilts over the water, Tai O is well known for dried seafood including salted fish and shrimp paste. The locals sell their produce and street food on the narrow little streets in the heart of the village and the market area is constantly bustling. The busiest days in Tai O are the weekends when it’s a popular destination to take a boat trip out to explore the narrow waterways.
Other highlights in Tai O also include a walk down past the village houses to the Tai O Heritage Hotel, which is a restored 19th Century Police Station overlooking the sea. The walk along the promenade is quite serene the closer you get to the hotel, with an amazing view of the ocean and the boats that pass by. Tai O Lookout, the glass-roofed restaurant situated on the first floor of the hotel gives you the chance to look at the fantastic view while you enjoy some Cantonese and Western dishes. We recommend going to the restaurant just before sunset to get the best experience.
Fun for kids
Treasure Island located in Pui O is an outdoor, adventure and environmental education centre. If you want your kids to be part of the next generation of Hong Kong wave riders to learn to catch the waves, then why not send them on a surf camp in the summer.
Ark Eden runs eco day camps throughout the school Easter and summer holidays, inviting children to join their green team, learning to play in nature, and become ambassadors for the planet.
Head image source: Ngong Ping 360