Tai O Travel Guide

  • Tai O
    by bpacker
  • View of the River
    View of the River
    by kmhvino
  • Butcher or psycho vet?!
    Butcher or psycho vet?!
    by DSwede

Tai O Things to Do

  • Possibly the smallest draw bridge

    Quite possibly the worlds smallest draw bridge is in Tai O. Sun Kei street and Sun Kei Bridge are pedestrian-only streets, at most only ~2m wide.If you find this bridge, just continue across and wonder the small little alleys and foot paths into the labyrinth of the stilt village.Depending on the tide's cycle and the size of the boats, this little...

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  • Kwan Tai Temple

    Kwan Tai Temple is about as central in the village of Tai O as you can get. The temple is a modest one, but is rich with decorations and ornate tiles. It is small and only requires a few minutes to visit.

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  • Stilt Houses

    Built on stilts in a narrow creek channel, these house are the most distinctive characteristic of Tai O. They are inhabites mostly by the Tanka people, descendants of the ancient Yueh tribe who were Hong Kong’s first major settlers.

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  • Tin Hau Teample

    Built in the 25th year of Jiaqing reign of the Qing Dynasty (1820), the temple located at Fan Lau Tsuen of the southwest of Lantau Island honors Tin Hau – the guardian of the sea to form Tai O, Cheung Chau and nearby outlying island. Cantonese opera performancre is arranged when villagers celebrating the annual Tin Hau Festival.

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  • Hung Shing Temple

    This is a simple temple for workship of the Sea God, and features a bell cast in the first year of Emperor Qian Long (1763), the same year the temple was built.

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  • Narrow Lanes

    Narrow lanes meander through tiny Tai O village. These little walkways are barely two metres wide and every once in a while, you'll see children playing and village elders walking through. Oversized signs hang and almost touch overhead .

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  • Over Tai O

    Colourful Clan Banners fly overhead the village of Tai O. Traditions, customs and folks practices are pretty much alive in this place. It's almost as though time has stand still for this place while the rest of HK continues to evolve.

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  • Dried Seafood

    You'll see dried oysters and clams for sale everywhere you go in Tai O. They're ugly as hell but one wrinkled oyster can make the difference between a full-bodied broth and an ordinary soup.

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  • Dried Seafood

    And in those narrow lanes, in little nooks and crevices are shophouses selling dried seafood like fish skin, fish stomach and other stuff some folks won't dream of eating.

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  • Small Sea channel

    Initially, I thought that Tai O was built over a delta river but it's actually straddling a small sea channel between Lantau and a small island on which part of the village lies.

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  • Precarious little houses

    Everywhere in Tai O are little shanty houses precariously built on stilts with crude ladders leading to small fishing boats.

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  • Dried fish

    Salted dried fish, hang to dry in the hot sun on poles. Traditional method of preserving fish and a reminder that time stands still for Tai O.

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Tai O Restaurants

  • salted fish

    Tai O is also renowned for native products such as salted fish, dried seafood, shrimp roe and shrimp paste, while fried water convolvulus with shrimp paste and steamed salted fish are pretty poplar dishes. Meanwhile, favorite food such as Tai O fried rice with diced chicken and salted fish cubes, salt-roasted chicken, fried rice with shrimp roe,...

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  • Step by Step to Eating the Best Seafood...

    Now if you're a true foodie in Hong Kong, you'll know that that the best seafood to be had over here is in Tai O. Contrary to belief, you won't find good seafood in a neon-lit floating restaurant stupidly named after an elephant. The glitz is just expensive razzle dazzle for the foreigners. Tai O is for the more discerning local. Every local worth...

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  • Step by Step to Eating Tai O

    Well, I deliberately put this picture here so that you can see what the poor fish looked like as dinner. It was steamed with spring onions and soya sauce sauteed with garlic. Delicious!

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  • Step 4: See if your fish is still...

    The poor fish was still wriggling hard and gasping for air in the plastic bag. Guess it has not entered his head that he was to be dinner. This sounds cruel but the fresher the fish, the better he will taste. No chinese will eat a fish that has been dead, frozen for months and made into a fish stick.

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  • Step 3: Check your Fish!

    We grabbed our prize catch with glee and examined the poor fella for signs of diseases. In the meantime, one of us dropped some change into the net and gave it to the fisherman.

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  • Step One:Buying the Fish

    Now if you're a true foodie in Hong Kong, you'll know that that the best seafood to be had over here is in Tai O not in some neon-lit floating restaurant stupidly named after an elephant. The glitz is just expensive razzle dazzle for the foreigners. Tai O is for the more discerning local. Every local worth his salt knows that the seafood in Tai O...

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Tai O Transportation

  • Tai O

    Avoid those dolphin trips anyway, they go speeding around with no regard for the dolphins' safety. Highly suspect. And Ocean Park is only if captive animals are your thing. If you want to see the pink dolphins, go with hk.dolphinwatch.com - the morning tour still gives you the rest of the day in Tai O.

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  • From HK to Tai O

    There's a couple of methods of getting to Tai O. Though it's a little off the beaten track, it's fairly accessible. If this is your first trip to the Far East* , you can take a fast (30min) or slow (1hr) ferry from the pier next to the Star Ferry in Central Hong Kong to Mui Wo on Lantau. From Mui Wo, take the bus #1 to Tai O Village.Alternatively,...

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  • Exploring Tai O by boat

    After crossing the bridge to Tai O, you'll notice yellow tourist boats that offer a quickie ride around Tai O (20min, HK$40 ) or a longer ride that promises pink dolphin sightings about 200m offshore ( 45min? HK$100). Note: After I wrote this tip, I got an ominous feeling that some anally-fixated traveller will write to me after reading this and...

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Tai O Local Customs

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Locals working hard

    by DSwede Written Oct 4, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you come to visit Tai O, you will no doubt notice the large fishing fleet out in the harbor, near the bus station.

    However, those large boats are only a piece of the puzzle. Most of the residents fish by themselves, working hard nearly every day to put food on their plates and maintain the village that you are now taking for granted.

    Please be respectful to the hard working locals. These two offered me a 5 minute ride down the channel to get the sites, all for a modest tip of $5HK. Its a better way to see the sites and more intimate than getting on a larger tourist boat.

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Tai O Warnings and Dangers

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Butcher or psycho vet?!

    by DSwede Updated Oct 4, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    About 100m down the small road to the right of Kwan Tai Temple is a butcher store... Obviously from the sign out front, they sell pork.

    But again, from the sign posted out front, I'm not sure you'd want to eat anything sold from there...

    Honestly, what that...?!

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Tai O Tourist Traps

  • Over Priced Dry Seafood Products!

    During the ~Chinese New Year~ On 2006, I have been to Tai O for a trip visiting the Old Fisherman's Village. For some Reason the village is very busy and Crowned with locals and Tourists. Before We decided to leave the village and continues on our trip, I decided to buy some Traditional DRY SEAFOOD Pruducts. So I have enter one of the Store in the...

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  • The Pink Dolphin Trap part 2

    This is just the photo of the one NOT to go to. So please take note and avoid like the plague!

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  • The Pink Dolphin Tourist Trap!

    In Tai O Village you have the wonderful opportunity to catch a rare sight of pink dolphins! I didn't even know that they existed, but the photos made them look so cute. There are two companies who run trips out very frequently. They are based on a bridge, one either side, but this is where you have to be careful.I took two photos of their little...

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Tai O Off The Beaten Path

  • The Flying Shark in Tai O

    Life is never dry in Tai O ! Just when you thought you're safe on land, you see a shark flying in mid air towards you, fangs and all. You wet your pants only to realise that it's just a stuffed fish hanging from the ceiling. You look closer and realise it is a shark, hung for proof of authenticity* that the fins in the shop are the real thing. If...

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  • Bird Sanctuary

    Just a couple of hundred metres away from Tai O Village and nearer the shoreline, is a small bird santuary where lots of water birds can be seen nesting or feeding. During the time when I was there, I spotted the little egret, cattle egret, black kites, white throated kingfishers, etc in the greenery.

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  • Mangrove

    A huge fiddler crab sun tans in the muddy banks of Tai O. There's thousands of them over here feeding on the rich silty banks.

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