Connected to the rest of Hong Kong by the iconic Tsing Ma Bridge, Lantau Island is the largest of Hong Kong’s islands and offers visitors a diverse array of attractions and activities from picturesque beaches and dolphin watching to monasteries and theme parks.
For those whose accommodation in Hong Kong happens to be in the New Territories areas like Tsuen Wan, for example, getting to Lantau Island is a breeze. Tsuen Wan is situated directly across the Tsing Ma Bridge from Lantau. One of the most popular Hong Kong serviced apartments properties – Bay Bridge Hong Kong by Hotel G (formerly The Bay Bridge Hong Kong Hotel & Serviced Apartments) – sits on the Tsuen Wan shoreline looking out over the bridge.
Bay Bridge Hong Kong by Hotel G, like many of the hotels and serviced apartments in Hong Kong, is conveniently located near the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) which can be taken to Lantau Island. Along with the MTR, busses, taxis and ferries can also be taken there.
Lantau Island is almost double the size of Hong Kong Island itself, and Hong Kong International Airport is situated on the small island of Chek Lap Kok on the north side of Lantau. The journey by road or rail between the airport and Kowloon or Hong Kong Island takes visitors along a good portion of the Lantau Island coastline and across the Tsing Ma Bridge.
For those who want to explore Lantau Island beyond the scenic views to be enjoyed en-route to or from the airport, there is much to see and do.
For starters, Lantau Island is home to one of Hong Kong’s biggest attractions – Hong Kong Disneyland. Yet it is not the only themed park on the island; there is also Ngong Ping 360 which includes a 25 minute cable car ride from Tung Chung from which visitors alight to the culturally themed Ngong Ping Village. Here there are shops and eateries, and from the village a short walk takes visitors to the renowned Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping Piazza and Wisdom Path.
Once a remote monastery in the island’s lush mountain scenery, Po Lin Monastery gained renown when the Tian Tan Buddha statue (known informally as the Big Buddha) was erected in 1993. This 34-metre high bronze Buddha draws pilgrims from around Asia, while sweeping mountain and sea views can be enjoyed from its base.
Soothing scenes of the South China Sea can also be appreciated at Wisdom Path, a short walk from the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. Wisdom Path traces a series of 38 wooden steles (upright monuments) containing verses from the centuries-old Heart Sutra – one of the world’s best known prayers revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike.
Linking the area’s spiritual and scenic attractions is Ngong Ping Piazza, which itself comprises four components – the new Pai Lau ornamental archway built in the northern architectural style of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the Bodhi Path central walkway leading from the new Pai Lau to Di Tan and lined by statues of the Twelve Divine Generals and 40 lotus-shaped lanterns, Di Tan (Earth Temple) which is the open space facing Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha and where religious ceremonies are occasionally held, and the Chinese landscaped garden.
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The Tai O Fishing Village on the western side of Lantau Island is another area offering attractions for the visitor. This includes the Tai O Rural Committee Historic & Cultural Showroom which provides an insight into the community’s past, the Tai O Stilt Houses built above the island’s tidal flats by the Tanka people fisher folk, the Yim Tin Mangrove Forest, the Tai O Cultural Workshop museum, Tai O Heritage Hotel dating from 1902 and the Local Specialty Market at Tai O where the pungent flavours and aromas of Hong Kong’s fishing heritage abound.
The Tai O area is also famous for its dolphin watching. Local company Hong Kong Dolphinwatch operates a three hour boat cruise to see the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins or ‘pink’ dolphins three times a week.
For those who fancy some seaside dining, then D’Deck at Discovery Bay is the spot to head for. Here there are a number of restaurants along the waterfront promenade serving a range of cuisines, with the Hong Kong Disneyland fireworks at night providing an exciting spectacle.
Beach-lovers have a choice on Lantau Island. There is Cheung Sha Beach, one of Hong Kong’s longest, and Pui O Beach – both ideal for a cool dip, while the Silvermine Bay Beach area has become popular with urbanites looking for a quieter life than the city hustle and bustle.
Lantau Island also rewards those who make the three hour hike up the 869-metre high Sunset Peak with gorgeous sunsets, and those who climb the two hours up Lantau Peak (the second highest summit in Hong Kong) with beautiful sunrises.
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