For most Hong Kong doesn’t typically conjure up images of ancient fishing villages. Tai O is a world apart from Hong Kong Island’s Central financial district and the tai-pans who make it tick.

A fishing village on Lantau Island Tai O is connected to a smaller island by a steel pedestrian bridge. Also known as the Venice of Hong Kong it was settled hundreds of years ago by the Tanka (boat) people from mainland China.

Its inhabitants live in stilt houses built over a waterway, a big attraction for the waves of foreign and local tourists who visit it on weekends. They come to wander its alleys and sample the seafood restaurants. In 2000 a fire burned sections of the wooden stilt homes. Many have been rebuilt with aluminum. Tai O village also has a seafood market and three temples.

How To Get ThereTai O is located on the western tip of Lantau Island. It’s a nice way to take a break from the crowds and the journey is enjoyable. To get there you can catch a ferry from the outlying ferry pier in Central to Mui Wo on Lantau. The fast ferry takes about 30 minutes and the slow ferry about 50. Try and take the slow ferry at least one way so you can sit outside on the open deck which provides spectacular views of the busy South China sea and Hong Hong harbor. From Mui Wo catch a bus, a scenic ride that takes about 40 minutes. Buses are outside the ferry terminal and clearly marked.

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