If you’re wondering what to do while visiting Hong Kong, consider making a trip to Tai O. Tai O is a small fishing village that definitely offers some contrast to the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. We visited Tai O as part of our day on Lantau island and are certainly glad that we did. You can see most of the village in an hour or two and it is a great destination after seeing the Tian Tan Buddha.
How to get to Tai O
Tai O is probably most easily accessed by bus or taxi from the giant budha as it is only about 15 minutes away. The main issue is that the bus isn’t always super frequent and you may end up waiting 20-40 minutes to fit on a bus, alternatively you can hire a taxi. We were pulled from the bus line by a friendly couple from Hong Kong who asked if we would like to share a taxi. With the 4 of us it was ultimately about the same price (about 80$ HKD) as the bus would have been but saved us waiting in line. If you can make the bus in good time it might be worth it, but ultimately it only costs a few bucks more for the taxi.
What to do in Tai O
Tai O is ultimately the destination to see. It is a fishing village unlike any we had ever seen before. The people were friendly and live in unique houses. There are buffalo that walk right into parts of town and houses on stilts. The streets are lined with markets selling all variety of sea creatures and other food. There are some delicious snacks to be had and souvenirs to be bought. You will see many elderly locals playing Mah Jong in the streets and crowds watching sporting events. As it was in the midst of Lunar New Year, there were lion dancers making their way through already packed streets and squares.
As you enter the village and approach the channel, you will be met by boat operators trying to sell boat trips out to the bay in an attempt to see dolphins. A seat on the boat can be purchased for 20$ HKD and can probably be bartered a bit lower but when you’re only paying about 3$ CAD you wonder if it is really worth it. Be aware, the operators say the trip will take 20 minutes but I am fairly certain that it wasn’t quite that long but it was long enough to feel like I got my 3$ worth even though we never spotted a pink dolphin.
How to get back
After you have finished wandering the streets of Tai O simply make your way back to the parking lot where you were dropped off and hop on the bus to Tung Chung station (it is very clearly marked and will probably have a long line) or take a taxi though this is a longer ride and will cost a bit more.
Tai O was a photographer’s dream as it is so full of character. If we ever return to Hong Kong, Tai O is definitely a place I would return to.