HONG KONG – 5 fun & cultural things to do on Lantau Island

On the island called Lantau Island you find a various range of activities from old forts, fishing villages, the largest bronze free-standing Buddha in the world and the modern Disneyland amusement park. I visited Lantau Island with my son during our annual China holiday. Transportation there is unique on the special Disney metro line or the cable car with full glass compartments including the floors. To explore all it will take you two days; one for Disneyland and another for the other sights. In this blog post I take you to all the interesting places. Will you join me?

Tung Chung Fort on Lantau Island

The Tung Chung Fort dates back to the Qing dynasty and more precise 1832. It was a perfect location on Lantau Island to serve as a maritime base to control the ships sailing between the mainland and the island on their way to Guangzhou. In the early 20th century the fort was used as a police station by the British. After that it served as a Committee office and as primary school of Tung Chung. Today the fort is a national monument and easily visited before going up the mountain by cable car. There are various cannons on display outside and inside the museum you find some artifacts and background information on the fort. If you have the time you can walk the fortified wall which is a nice walk, unless it is raining like when we visited. It is an interesting place to learn more about the history of Hong Kong Lantau Island.

HONG KONG - 5 fun & cultural things to do on Lantau Island

Glass cable car at Lantau Island

The Ngong Ping Cable car starts at Chung Tung city and goes up the mountain to Tian Tan Buddha and Ngong Tourist Area. The cable car line is 5.6 kilometers long and the unique thing is that it has glass cabins! Once you pass the sometimes long lines to get into the cabins it’s time for a thrilling ride. Below your feet you see everything from a new perspective. Up you go the mountain with forest, grasslands and water streams passing beneath you while you have a bird’s eye view over the island. We had bad weather and the cabin was swinging from left to right due to the wind; a bit scary actually. It was probably halfway when we entered the clouds and we could not see anything more as grey surroundings until up the mountain where it cleared a bit. Mist, drizzle mixed with rain was waiting for us at the top!

HONG KONG - 5 fun & cultural things to do on Lantau Island

Tian Tan Buddha

Tian Tan Buddha is located on Lantau Island in Ngong Ping. This bronze Buddha is the largest in the open air in the world. It was a bit difficult to spot, even with its size, due to the cloudy weather but during a few moments it cleared a bit to admire this huge statue. It is not an old Buddha with just over 20 years old. You walk up almost 300 stairs to the Buddha which was not the best thing that day due to rain and humid air. Around the Buddha you find various statues and inside an exhibition. In Ngong Ping you can explore a bit more but we decided to take a taxi and head for Tai O fishing village hoping it would be a bit better weather there.

HONG KONG - 5 fun & cultural things to do on Lantau Island

Fishing village Tai O on Lantau Island

Tai O is a fishing village on Lantau Island and also called the Venice of Hong Kong. The settlement dates back to the Stone Age and has been in use since then. Piracy and other illegal activities where not uncommon in the old days. Tai O is now famous for its many stilt houses along the river mount. Most young people move away from Tai O to the big city but the elderly still go out for fishing daily. Other sources of income are generated by the salt pans and salt winning. Tours are offered to go out on the sea to watch white dolphins. Unfortunately it was not the time to go see them but this is something I have on my to-do list to do when I’m back in Hong Kong. Another thing I could not do due to the weather was to have a nice lunch there with fresh fish on a terrace overlooking the river or sea. We walked up and down the town along small alleys and along the river but as it was raining we quickly walked back along the sea-shore. We got fully wet and at the end luckily there was a small boat which took us for a small fee back to the main area were we took a taxi back to Tung Chung and from there the express train to downtown Hong Kong.

HONG KONG - 5 fun & cultural things to do on Lantau Island

Disneyland Hong Kong

I’m not a fan of amusement parks at all unless they have thrilling roller coasters which I can ride directly and twice with a fast lane pass. My visit to Hong Kong however was with my son, then 8 years old. He wanted to go there but did say after the visit his expectations where to high. We arrived on the special Disney metro line which I must admit was pretty neat. It was HIS day so he got the map of the park and I told him “I will follow you; you are the boss today”. As for planning he did well, learned from me :-), and we saw all of the attractions he wanted to see. By accident he planned some “baby” attraction where he was a bit ashamed being on the ride. It’s not a park I enjoyed a lot but the father and son time is unforgettable.

HONG KONG - 5 fun & cultural things to do on Lantau Island

Our visit to Disneyland on Lantau Island had great weather but the other day when we explored the fort, cable car, the Buddha and the fishing village Tai O we had terrible rain. I can recommend each single place for a visit out of busy Hong Kong as Lantau Island is much more quiet and a great place to unwind a bit. I must go back to have a great lunch with fresh fish and watch white dolphins!

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Gallery Lantau Island

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