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Tung Chung to Tai O: from the modern to the ancient in North Lantau

Tung Chung to Tai O: From the modern to the ancient in North Lantau

Photo credit: Jessica Li

ANNOUNCEMENT
ANNOUNCEMENT

Some attractions and facilities may be temporarily closed due to the current health precautions. Please check their respective websites before you visit.

Average hiking time: Around 4.5 hours | Distance: About 14.5 km | Difficulty: Difficult

The hike from Tung Chung to Tai O takes you from a satellite city of towering skyscrapers to a traditional fishing village, with some spectacular scenery along the way.

Start your day by getting in touch with North Lantau’s history, visiting Tung Chung Fort which was once an important part of the defences along this stretch of coastline under the Qing dynasty (1644 –1911). Cross over the main road to join the Tung O Ancient Trail, which begins in the mangrove-lined mudflats of the Tung Chung River estuary and takes in Hau Wong Temple — built in 1765 and still a place of worship today.

The route takes you under Ngong Ping cable car, and it runs parallel to Hong Kong International Airport and the engineering marvel that is the 55-kilometre-long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. But you soon leave the modern world behind as you move further in the direction of Tai O and begin to immerse yourself in the old ways of Hong Kong island life.

Tai O traditions

The walk itself is undemanding. It meanders along the North Lantau coastline past a succession of bays and villages that have remained unchanged for decades.

After a section of unpaved track — and the best views on the hike — you descend into Tai O, which became a home to fishermen during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), taking in the heady aromas of dried fish and shrimp paste as you wander past the stilted houses of the local fisherfolk to reach the main village.

Once in Tai O you can stock up on salted egg yolks and sun-dried salted fish, or enjoy snacks such as tofu pudding and Chinese sweet dumplings either steamed or cooked over charcoal. Enjoy a coffee at the heritage hotel that was converted from a listed colonial police station, or head up a small hill called Fu Shan where you can enjoy stunning views over the airport and bridge. Or simply sit back with a cold beer and soak in the atmosphere of this charming throwback to old Hong Kong.


TUNG CHUNG FORT

Stop 1: Tung Chung Fort

Situated at the foot of the Pearl River estuary, Tung Chung has long been a strategic location. The fort dates back to the Qing dynasty, with an inscription saying it was built in 1832. It became a naval headquarters in 1898, then turned into a police station and later a school.

REFUEL
REFUEL
There are village stores along the trail where you can get noodles, sandwiches and drinks, but taking your own refreshment is advised.
TUNG O ANCIENT TRAIL

Stop 2: Tung O Ancient Trail

The Tung O Ancient Trail has been the main connection between Tung Chung and Tai O for generations. You can enjoy views of the spectacular Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge as you follow the coastline to Tai O.

Trail condition
Trail condition
Relatively long distance with a fair amount of uphill and downhill sections.
TAI O STILT HOUSES

Stop 3: Tai O Stilt Houses

Dubbed “the Venice of the Orient”, Tai O is a quaint fishing village featuring stilt houses Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info . You will also find traditional sun-dried seafood and delicacies such as shrimp paste and salted egg yolks.

TAI O HERITAGE HOTEL

Stop 4: Tai O Heritage Hotel

Converted from a former police station and dating back to 1902, the Tai O Heritage Hotel Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info offers colonial-style guest rooms and a glass-roof restaurant for visitors who want to get a taste of the more refined side of Tai O.

See more…Fu Shan
See more…Fu Shan
Not part of the official route, it’s worth taking a small detour to walk up this small hill — just 75m high — at the back of Tai O village where you can enjoy spectacular views over the South China Sea.

To Tung Chung Fort

TO TUNG CHUNG FORT:

  • From MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, take bus 3M, 11, 11A, 23 or 34 from the Tung Chung Bus Terminus and alight at Ha Ling Pei. Follow the signs to Tung Chung Fort.

 

LEAVING FROM TAI O HERITAGE HOTEL:

  • Take bus 11 to MTR Tung Chung Station.

  • A ferry service is available from Tai O to Tung Chung and Tuen Mun.

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