Sure, there's Big Buddha and a bunch pink weirdos* (*Tai O pink dolphins), but Lantau Island has so much more to offer! Prepare yourself for an escape in a peaceful bubble, where you won't see any skyscrapers nor any sign of stress. That said, you might even find serenity...
Even though we loved the bustling city life on Hong Kong island, our move to Lantau Island was the best thing we've done since our big move to Hong Kong. It’s a whole different world here, where life follows the rhythms of the waves, and where cattles are part of the landscape. For those who follow us on Instagram, you've probably seen pics of our afternoons in the jungle and our running sessions by the beach. Here, our biggest worry of the day isn’t getting onto the MTR during peak hours, but whether we'll cross a cobra or not on our way home.
Real escape from the crowds of the city in only a few minutes ferry ride or MTR, the island will surprise you by its authenticity -discover what to do on Lantau Island.
lantau island - where's what?
Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, Lantau is the largest island of Hong Kong. If you've already been in HK, you probably know it as the island of the airport -you'd be surprised to see what's hidden on the other side of the mountain! From Mui Wo to Tai O, Lantau's community lives in total harmony with nature. It’s not only a fantastic place to live, but also a perfect destination -the kind of place that allows you to completely disconnect from the city.
10 things to do on lantau island
1. find the wisdom at po lin monastery
Big Buddha is a classic for any first trip in Hong Kong. Not only it's one of the largest outdoor sitting buddha in the world, it's also a magical place hidden in the midst of Lantau jungle. Down the statue, you'll find a majestic monastery where, if lucky, you might see some monks praying.
2. fly over the mountains with a ride on the cable car
On sunny days, a ride on Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car is a must. Although you should get there early and ideally on weekdays to avoid the crowds -it gets crazy on weekends. You'll have gorgeous views of the airport and Lantau mountains, all the way to Big Buddha. When you're in Tung Chung Cable Car station, don’t leave without a stop in the souvenir shop –that’s where you can buy my illustrated postcards! ;-)
3. Share the beach with catles and water buffalos
Ahhh Cheung Sha Beach. A white sandy beach lined with trees to offer the perfect shady nap spot... You'll sometimes see water buffalos hanging around with their tribe. You can rent a paddle board, go kayaking or swimming – and even surfing in typhoon season- or simply enjoy the serenity. You’ve got plenty of options for food and drinks, although I must say, if you like fish & chips, I'd recommend Long Island. They also serve delicious ribs, curries and burgers. For a smaller bite, Lantau Grocer next door offers refreshing homemade smoothies, salads and sandwiches.
Long Island, 35, Lower Cheung Sha Village - Lantau Grocer, 38, Lower Cheung Sha Village
4. go trail running in the jungle
With its high peaks and its lush jungle, Lantau is a fabulous playground for all hikers and trail runners. Among others, I would particularly recommend a sunset climb up the Sunset Peak, on Lantau Trail.
5. travel in time and Enjoy the magic of Tai O by the sunset
Tai O is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Hong Kong -the fishing boats making it so special. For a truly immersive experience, spend the night in Tai O Heritage Hotel*, one of the most elegant and authentic places to stay in Lantau. This colonial edifice used to be a police station to guard the shore against bandits. It has been beautifully renovated, to be now a chic hotel with an incredible view on on the bay and a stunning glass-roofed restaurant. *Book in advance, as it's often sold out.
Tai O Heritage Hotel - Shek Tsai Po St, Tai O, Lantau Island - (852) 2985 8008
6. eat a real indian curry in yat tung
Right near Tung Chung Fort is Yat Tung, which has a strong Indian community, and with it comes an Indian restaurant serving mouth-watering food. Think spicy lamb, beef kadhai, tandoori chicken, curries and all kind of naans.
Handi Indian Restaurant, No. 8 Ha Ling Pei Tsuen, Tung Chung Road, Lantau Island, Hong Kong - Tung Chung MTR
7. Hike from Tung Chung to Mui Wo
Take the MTR to Tung Chung, then go for a two hours hike on the Olympic trail. You will get great views on the island, plus a good exercise -essential after all that good food in HK! Whereafter you'll deserve one of The Kitchen's delicious wood fired pizzas with a glass of fine Italian wine... Then Silvermine Bay Beach awaits you for some good time on the sand. Finish you day trip with a great journey back to Hong Kong Island... by ferry. Such a perfect day, isn't it?!
The Kitchen - 18A Mui Wo Ferry Pier Rd, Mui Wo, Lantau Island - (852) 5991 6292
8. Hit the waves & drink cocktails on the beach - California style!
Pui O Beach is simply one of the coolest place to spend a weekend with your friends. You've got the campground, the kitesurf spot, the waves, the beach, and The Mavericks. An open-air designed bar & restaurant with seatings made out of skateboards, a skate ramp inside, greeeat music spun by local DJs, craft beers, pink nachos (!!), and good vibes.
The Mavericks - Pui O Beach, South Lantau Rd, Lantau Island - (852) 5662 8552
9. sleep in a teepee!
Yes, still in Hong Kong -Palm Beach, precisely. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to live in a teepee village? In South Lantau, you can go for the adventure a spend a night in an authentic hand-painted American Indian Teepee. Ocean in the front with many water sports activities, from surfing, kayaking, wave windsurfing and all sorts of boarding, palm trees in the middle... and a campfire. Don't forget the marshmallows!
Palm Beach Teepee Village - Cheung Sha, Lantau Island - (852) 2980 4822
10. wild wild lantau: enjoy the exotic wildlife !
Lantau Island is known as the island of snakes –you’re not a real local until you’ve crossed a cobra or a python on your way home. But is it really dangerous and what should you expect? First, the snakes. Cobras, pythons, red necked … There are plenty of species wandering around Lantau Island’s lush nature, but they aren’t all dangerous. Of course, you’re most likely to cross a snake if you go hiking into the jungle in summer, but as long as you don’t surprise them, you should be okay. There's also a bunch of massive, colorful, beautiful creepy spiders!
Did you know that such places exist in Hong Kong? This city will never cease to amaze me. If you plan to visit the 852, you should read my 10 reasons not to come to HK for a stop-over.
Like the article? Comment it, like it, share it! And enjoy your trip in Hong Kong!!