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Average hiking time: About 4.5 hours | Distance: About 14.5 km | Difficulty: Difficult
Tai O is one of Hong Kong’s oldest fishing villages. This hike transports you to ground zero of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage, heavy with pungent smells. Hong Kong owes its origins to villages like Tai O, and the aromas recall almost-gone eras of its history.
Tung O Ancient Trail starts at Tung Chung Fort, built in 1832. The site became a naval headquarters in 1898, then turned into a police station and later a school.
The mostly concrete, gently undulating Tung O Ancient Trail takes you past centuries-old villages, vestiges of Lantau’s traditional agricultural and fishing life — you may catch a whiff of incense from an old temple or of drying seafood and freshly stirred shrimp paste.
The concrete path eventually turns into a mountain trail as the distinct stilt houses of Tai O appear in the distance, sitting above the water as they have for generations.
The deeper you venture into Tai O, the stronger the cacophony of smells from its famous foods, such as salted fish, duck egg yolks and shrimp paste, becomes. A couple of hundred metres later, you arrive at the end of the trail, Tai O Heritage Hotel. Perched high on a lush hillside, this historic building was originally a police station from 1902.
There are stores at Sham Wat Wan. Plenty of shops can also be found near MTR Tung Chung Station and Tai O Market.
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