Venice of Hong Kong- Nature and Islands- Part 3
Happy lunar new year (Year of Tiger) to all the Asians! I will also share something related to tiger in this article, so do read until the end to find out!
Tai O (大澳) is located on the west of Lantau Island (大嶼山), the place is also given a beautiful name “Venice of Hong Kong”, due to its preservation of fisherman lifestyle and village. A very characteristic architecture at Tai O is the pang uks (棚屋), which is a kind of stilt house built above the water. As I was exactly at the same location once before the sunset and once after, we get to enjoy two different views near pang uks.
How to get to Tai O? There are several ways to reach Tai O. We took bus 11 from MTR Tung Chung Station(東涌站) to Tai O. Another way will be to take a ferry from Tuen Mun (屯門) to Tai O. We started our trip from the center of Tai O market (大澳街市), where we saw many vendors selling seafood such as squid, dried puffer fish decorations, and so on…
Strolling around streets of Tai O, we captured beautiful ocean view and boats that looks like those in southern Europe. Moreover, we passed by Kwan Tai Temple (關帝廟), a temple worshiping Guan Yu (關羽), who was a righteous military general from Eastern Han Dynasty (東漢). Due to his loyalty, wisdom, and his righteous characteristic, people who do business will worship him, hoping their business partners are as reliable as him. Even gangsters worship him because of his loyalty, hoping their “brothers” are always loyal to them. Kwan Tai Temple at Tai O is a grade II historic site, since it was built back in Ming Dynasty (1488–1505) and was renovated several times in Qing Dynasty, which was the last dynasty in China.
After touring the city center, we started our hike at Fu Shan (虎山), the Mandarin name of Fu Shan means “Tiger Mountain” (something related to tigers as promised). Before we got to the hiking trail, we came across the coastline that looks like a small beach. Along the way, we saw many dolphin sculptures, as it is said that we can see white dolphins from the hiking trail if we are lucky enough. To be honest, I am not really sure if it was some mental indication from all the signs telling me that I could encounter white dolphins, that in the end when I saw something jumping from the water that I thought it was the dolphins. However, it could also be me hallucinating. I could only watch from afar without a binocular, so that I am not 100% sure that what I saw were white dolphins.
What I did see was the impressive Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (港珠澳大橋), it is a 55 km long bridge-tunnel that connects Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macao. It is by far “the longest sea crossing and open-sea fixed link in the world”. It also greatly reduces passengers’ time travelling between those three places. We also caught a glimpse of the panorama of other mountains on Lantau Island.
Another thing to take note of is the hiking trail. Even though most of the hiking trails look like the one on the left, easy to walk on, there is a small part that looks like the one on the right which requires us to use our hands to grab the ropes.
Lastly, we ended our hike with a beautiful sunset from pang uks (see photo above) and some very delicious local desserts that I would definitely recommend!