Another great side trip when in Hong Kong is Tai-O. Located on Tai-O island which is just across a river from Lantau Island, it is easily reached by ferry boat or by bus. Travel directions are included at the end of the article.
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Upon arriving at Tai-O by bus, we take a short walk to the docks where boats depart regularly to go dolphin spotting. The first thing we do is hop on a boat to see some of the famous Chinese White Dolphins.
The cost may vary slightly when you go, but we spent 10HKD per person.
After we returned from the boat ride, we decided to see more of what the island had to offer. We crossed over the bridge into the village.
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In the village we pass numerous shops with dried fish, fish products, and tourist souvenirs.
Continuing in, there’s a small village museum depicting the tools and customs of the village over the course of hundreds of years.
There’s much more, please click to continue…
Of course, being a fishing village there were all manners of fish, mollusk, and other edibles from the sea.
On the other side of the main market street, the food stalls, which we passed in ones and twos open up and there are several. They’re busy with a couple of them having long lines. Knowing now how herd mentality works for tourists, we push on, not far ahead, and find stalls with little or no lines. They serve a variety of foods including fried fish, giant shrimp chips, and crepes as well as other goodies. We tried the crepes and they were delicious!
The homes range from old to ramshackle and I’ve read that some of them are no more than squatter huts. Interesting was that many had a layer of external insulation around them. They weren’t refrigerator boxes, as you could see inside the open doors that they were, indeed, people’s homes.
One property in excellent condition was the Shaolin Kung Fu school and culture center. It was very nice and had on its grounds many statues.
Along the road you may see a few altars to the “land Gods”. Common in Asian culture, it is for the spirits that inhabit the land and guard over (or against) your presence there. Locals tend to be careful to keep their own land Gods happy.
There were also a few victory gardens. They looked quite healthy!
Shrimp paste making. Pink shrimp paste is a common ingredient in Asian cooking and is made from fermented shrimp. They are ground and then dried. The smell is quite strong and so is the flavor. A little bit goes a long way! Once the shrimp paste is dried it does not require refrigeration.
Because of the short distance (and a light pole) and trying to time my shots between crowds of tourists walking by, my normal panning and shooting was disrupted and I ended up with a quite wavy panorama. This photo, however, should give you a good idea of how many trays were just from this one shrimp paste operation. Now, open a jar of pink shrimp paste, smear it all over a newspaper and hold it under your nose and you’ll get an idea of what the area smelled like! 🙂
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Directions to Tai-O
Take the New Lantau Bus from the following places:
Mui Wo – Bus no. 1, Tung Chung – Bus no 11, Ngong Ping. – Bus no 21
You can also catch a ferry boat from any of these locations:
Tuen Mun, Tung Chung, Sha Lo Wan, Tai O
We stayed at the Butterfly on Pratt in Hong Kong. Click HERE for the best deal for the hotel.
If you wish to find other accommodations in Hong Kong, click HERE.