Tuesday, 10 March 2015

My Saturday Trip To Tai O Fishing Village, Lantau Island

In a village with a dwindling population of 2700, Tai O is an unlikely outpost of rural charisma. A quaint old little fishing village with resplendent backdrop of the mountains, it is now one of my favourite experience in Hong Kong. It is very picturesque, quite, less tourists, and has a more authentic feel and way of life.

Situated on the far western edge of Lantau Island, Tai O is a real insight into Hong Kong’s humble beginnings. As I started my journey to the village, the Stilted Houses, known as Pang Uks, were enchanting and for me still have their own charm. At a break between the houses, I stepped down towards the waters edge to take a closer look. The reflection of the stilt houses shimmered in the tranquil waters below.

Fish remains a central part of Tai O life - The ubiquitous scent of shrimp paste, the village's celebrated produce, lingered in the air through the day. In the Tai O Market, you can buy plenty of dried seafood and spicy shrimp paste.

It was pleasant meandering the small alleys, seeing all the shops selling live and dried fish, as I made my way. Every now and then, the creek would disappear and reappear behind the shop fronts and scenes of everyday life.

Exceedingly pleasant, most of Tai O elderly people go about their daily routines, oblivious to the snap-happy throngs of tourist. Everywhere flowers blossomed and throughout the day tiny white puffy clouds floated lazily across an azure sky. A couple of cats slept securely under gentle weeping willow trees. 

The area's once prolific salt marches still yield the salt used to dry duck egg yolks. Rows of fish, gutted and hung by their tails can be seen in front of the porches along with beautiful clementines that were placed on open weave basket trays left to dry slowly naturally under the sun.

The northern fringe of the town is enveloped by a lush carpet of mangroves and it is not uncommon to see an egret, wading through the marshes. The southern coast, on the other hand, is lined by a string of long unspoilt beaches, backed by the mountains tracing the island’s backbone.

I kept walking out to the point where I reached the beautiful Tai O Heritage Hotel. If you stay in this recently renovated Hotel for a night, you have Tai O basically to yourself in the evening as the tourist are gone.

Late in the afternoon, I lingered at the Tai O Lookout Area and watched the silhouettes of passing container ships as the sun sank lower towards the rippling waves. Nearby, a young couple ambled hand in hand while some fishermen waited patiently for the next catch. I turned around and under a peach sky, the surrounding hills smoldered an alluring shade of golden amber.  

Below were some of the photos that I took that day. I hope you will enjoy them.

I have divided my trail to Tai O Village into four parts so that you could follow my journey

PART 1 : Start of the Journey - Stilt Houses

PART 2 : Tai O Market

PART 3 : Details of the Village

PART 4 : Open Sea

There are two ways to get to Tai O Fishing Village. You could take the MTR Train to Tung Chung Station and go down to the Bus Station and take Bus number 11 to Tai O. The bus ride is around 45 minutes.

Alternatively, you could go to Pier No. 6 at Central and take the fast ferry to Mui Wo. The fast ferry takes around 35 to 40 minutes while ordinary ferry takes 50 to 55 minutes. Upon arriving at Mui Wo Dock, take Bus no. 1 to Tai O. The bus journey takes about 35 to 40 minutes.

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