Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Traveling to Hong Kong? Make sure to take in Lantau Island when you're there. And why just Lantau Island? From Lantau, there are so many other islands worth a visit, all just a few hours away. You just can't stand and watch the horizons from Hong Kong and not wonder what else is out there. And if you want an idea beforehand, keep reading!
Firstly there's Lantau Island, a ferry away from Hong Kong. Here, the fabulous Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha stand as exemplary forms of Asian architecture that blend wonderfully with their lush green hills. The Tian Tan Buddha himself, atop a hill, is worth the visit by itself. And if you have gotten this far, why not take a short ride from the Po Lin monastery to Mui Wo?
Mui Wo, situated on the Silvermine Bay, is a town that once accommodated the many lost souls who'd try their fates in the nearby silver mines that alas, aren't accessible anymore. The town itself is a reminder to those who came to look for fortunes here while the caves and the mines have been sealed off. And speaking of history, there is Fan Lau, a fort coming to its 300th birthday in a corner of Lantau Island. Built to protect shipping routes amidst all the cutthroat smugglers and pirates, the fort now stands tranquil and silent. And in both these places, the richness of nature is still as wonderful as their history.
Then there is Tai O, a petite fishing village west of Lantau Island. There are several temples like Guandi, Yanghou and Hongshenye here, as well as a chance to explore the waterways and pedestrian bridges of this area. And if you do, you might find a curious sight of many little houses built on stilts and realize why this little village is called the ‘Venice of Hong Kong'. The Tanka people who live in these homes had immigrated here centuries ago and are quite willing to tell you tales from years gone by. And if that isn't enough, one can visit their little museum, and even try out their native cuisine of shrimp and paste. Then you can pay any of the local boatmen and try your luck in finding the elusive, yet exquisite white dolphin. And yes, wouldn't it just make your trip to catch a glimpse of one?
Yet before heading off to Lantau Island, there is another little place that is worth a mention. Or one could come back from these islands, back to Hong Kong and head off again into a little one-square-kilometer island called Peng Chau. Here, you can visit the small Tin Hau Temple, or walk along the beaches. The view and simplicity of this little island is more than comforting and it gives a wonderful view of the lights of Hong Kong glimmering in her waters. Especially if one can take a small hike up Finger Hill.
There's really so much not just in Hong Kong but around that fills one with pleasure.