Lantau is the perfect destination for a mini-break away from the city. Let's explore how to maximise your time in just 48 hours... Make sure to pack light for this adventure; there will be hiking!
It's been a long week. The clock hits 6.30pm on Friday evening. It's pens down, computer off and time to relax.
7pm - Jump on the MTR to Tung Chung
The Tung Chung line takes exactly 30 minutes to whisk you away from the noise of the city to the new-town of Tung Chung. The restaurant and bar scene in Tung Chung has exploded in the past few years and now is a great time to explore.
It's now 7.30pm.
Opposite Tung Chung MTR Exit A is a free shuttle to The 4 Points by Sheraton. Get on it (they leave on the hour and half hour) and check yourself in for one of their new staycation packages including a traditional room, welcome drinks and breakfast buffet starting at $1500+.
After the drinks and bag drop off, head out for a bite to eat at The Next Chapter, who have just released their new Winter warmer menu including decadent dishes like Spanish Red Prawn Pasta, and Bone Marrow with Black Truffle Risotto. Check out a video of these delicious dishes being made.
The Next Chapter is located at Tung Chung Waterfront Road near the escalator. Booking is essential - Whatsapp 2907 6808 and make sure to mention IslanderHK when booking.)
After dinner, head to The Tavern for a night-cap and to get a feel of the local vibe before retiring back to your 4 Points Sheraton Hotel room for a long and comfortable night's sleep.
Morning dawns, so grab the included buffet breakfast from your staycation package, digest and relax back in the room or go for a dip in the pool, then book a table at the all new Tung Chung Kitchen, a contemporary buffet style restaurant located within the hotel. There is a choice of carvery, Indian food station and more.
It's now 3pm.
After your food coma, pack up, check out and head along the sea front through the newly opened promenade to the Tung Chung Pier. You can stock up on drinks, both alcoholic and non, as well as sweet treats (and fishing supplies!) at a new convenience store located next to the ferry dock. It cheaper than the vending machines out front and Joe, the owner, is lovely.
It's now 3.25pm.
There is a ferry at 3.25pm that will carry you to Tai O along the beautiful Lantau coast for approximately 45 minutes. Make sure you sit upstairs, whatever the weather. Keep your eyes peeled for the now very rare pink dolphin as you cruise past tiny villages and the end of Chek Lap Kok airport runway. A plane spotter's paradise.
Disembark at Tai O and send yourself back 100 years into old Hong Kong. Tai O, although a bit touristy now, is still very much a functioning and thriving fishing village. Take a left past The Black Pearl bar (A bar for sunsets but maybe not for food), then right up the main street. When you get to a bridge on your left, take it. This is a top photo spot, especially at sunset. Carry on over and at the other end check out the crazy shops selling dried puffer fish and tiny starfish key rings. At the end of this road, (there is an HSBC ATM here should you need one) take a right and up into the more interesting villages that stand on stilts. I say more interesting as some offer cooking classes and will show little groups the old ways in their own houses. (If you were to go straight off the ferry then turn left after the bridge, the people are far less welcoming - totally understandable but good to know.)
Cool fact: On the walk through the village, you'll cross over a bridge that looks like it's made by the locals and is held up with hope. That's because it is! The local population asked for a bridge in that location from the government, but the government said no, so they built one themselves. I love a local initiative.
You'll notice a lot of the buildings are made of what looks like foil wrap. There was a huge fire that ripped through Tai O on 3 May 2000, taking with it 90 homes, but thankfully no lives. It was agreed new homes would, perhaps, be made of less wood!
On the walk back take the main street again and you'll come across delicious donuts from the Tai O Bakery at 66 Kat Hing Street. They're the proper sugary ones made fresh to order and well worth the wait if there's a queue.
It's now about 5pm.
If you're getting peckish, beyond donuts, there is a cute, and now thanks to Netflix, famous little cafe called The Banyan Tree. It's probably one of the last places to quietly sit and enjoy the view of the main estuary, as all others have been eaten by health and safety and food standard laws.
It's now about 5.30pm.
Right, you've had your cake and eaten it, now time to move on to Pui O for a magical adventure on the beach.
If you're in a hurry, jump in a blue taxi and request Pui O beach, Treasure Island. If you're taking your time, get in the queue for the Number 1 bus and ride it for the next 30ish minutes and request the Pui O stop. This bus is nicknamed the Vomit Comet so be ready if you're a 'car sick' sort of person.
It's now about 6.15pm.
You'll rock up at Treasure Island; an amalgamation of bar, restaurant, surf camp and Cabana. It's the Cabana we're interested in. They're literally on the beach and face out to the sunset. Although very basic, they're a very cool and unforgettable way to spend an evening.
For dinner you can head back to Pui O where there is a nice Indian called The Aviator run by a guy called Sunny. Let him know Andrew from IslanderHK sent you ; )
If you're not in the mood for Indian food, grab a table in the Treasure Island Beach Club for dinner, enjoy a few sun downers then stagger 10 meters to enjoy a restful night's sleep. The rooms have their own toilets and showers, and also have air-con units for the summer.
Good morning! It's now 8.30am
Perhaps go for a walk on the beach and see how many cone shell crabs you can find. I find the left end of the beach more interesting. After a stroll, pack up, check out and head to Garden Plus in Pui O for a delicious and reasonably priced breakfast and a well needed cup of coffee.
It's now 10am - You've got 3 options:
1. Get on a 3M or number 1 bus to Mui Wo. Quick, easy and a little dull. 2. For the more adventurous - Walk to Mui Wo via Lantau Trail section 12. It's a lovely walk that takes around 1hr 30mins.
3. For the super adventurous and also curious, add on a couple more hours and check out Sea Ranch - a very peculiar, once luxury development of nearly 200 units hidden away on the South Lantau coast. It's still inhabited by nearly 40 of those units who pay one of the highest management fees in Hong Kong. Beware of their security though. They try and chase you away if you set foot on the estate - just don't let them catch you! The beach is public and offers a good view of Sea Ranch if you don't fancy playing cops and robbers.
It's now... Lunchtime, and hopefully you made it to Mui Wo with a healthy appetite.
Mui Wo is a hungry person's haven. There are a surprising number of excellent places to eat for such a small town. The population is only 5,500!
My number 1 is The Kitchen. It's the first place you come to if walking on Lantau Trail Section 12 as you enter Mui Wo. All the pasta and pizza bases are handmade on site and the portions are massive and incredibly reasonable. Personally, I'd just stay here, enjoy the food, grab a bottle of something and let the afternoon pass you by.
The China Beach Club. Very relaxed and also pet friendly. It's not very big so is worth booking. The portions are incredible and the apple crumble is famous.
Tak Chai Kee Chinese Restaurant. Located just past the cooked food market on a little hill opposite the sea, Tak Chai Kee has been there for years and is a solid and dependable restaurant for well cooked food, good service and big, cold bottles of beer.
It's probably about 2-3pm.
follow the many signs to the cave and waterfall. Mui Wo is famous for it's silver and lead mine, but that was only in operation for 12 years and has been sealed up to people for safety reasons, and to give space to the local rare bat species who have decided to make the caves home.
Opposite the cave entrance is Silvermine Waterfall, which a great place to clamber about in the dry season, and watch in awe during the rainy season. It's a really pretty spot and well worth the 20 minute walk to get there from the town.
I'm guessing it's about 5pm.
If you're peckish, there is a store on Silvermine beach called, imaginatively, Beachhouse, where you can get a coffee and a bite and watch the world go by. If you still have any energy left, you can rent a bike from Friendly Bicycle shop and go for an explore before jumping back on the ferry to Central.
If you've a few minutes to wait for the boat, there is a great pub called The China Bear just next door to the ferry pier (beside McDonald's) to enjoy a swift half before heading home. The ferries are regular so don't be scared to have a second drink!
I hope you've enjoyed this whilstle-stop tour of Lantau Island. I've tried to include a bit of luxury, some scenic views, local culture, exciting accommodation and excellent food.
If you've got any other suggestions, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.