AA A
Top

Tai O Leisure and Recreation Plans

Tai O is located on the western side of Lantau Island. When talked about fishing villages, Tai O has to be the most famous one in Hong Kong. Despite being in this vibrant Hong Kong, it did not fail to keep the local customs and traditions intact. Tai O is mostly located on the banks of the river, connected by two pedestrian bridges. Stilt house is the icon of Tai O, which happens to be one of the unique features in Hong Kong. Tai O used to be Hong Kong's main fishing port, Garrison town, and an important site for fishing and salt industry. Today, the local economy has shifted to be more dependent on small scale fishing and small catering business for visitors. Besides, some local traditional craftsmanship like the production of shrimp block and shrimp paste could also be found in Tai O. If interested, choose a route to enjoy and feel Tai O from taking a ferry to look over Tai O or simply walk around the village to see the natural scenery and feel the local vibes.

Purpose

The most popular spots for visitors to Tai O are the town centre and stilt houses, which are frequently overcrowded during weekends and public holidays. Apart from the narrow streets in town, there are other attractions worth visiting as well.

Tai O Leisure and Recreation Plans provide 3 walking trails and a sea route to guide visitors to areas outside the town centre. Also, we have some brief information and interesting stories about the heritage, culture and architecture of Tai O to encourage visitors to get to know more about the place.

Exploring Tai O

Exploring Tai O

Three walking trails are proposed to link up unique features (both "built heritage" and "culture") with a view to achieving "point-line-plane" effect:

Cultural / Scenic Walk
Reflects the local character, culture and heritage of Tai O. Walking along Shek Tsai Po Street, visitors can see buildings with functions serving Tai O, such as fire station, post office, clinic and community hall(or Town Hall as stated in map). Small businesses for drying salted fish, seafood and shrimp paste can also be found. Towards the end is the restored Tai O Heritage Hotel. Visitors can also walk up to the Fu Shan Viewing Point to oversee the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
Public Buildings at Shek Tsai Po Street

The buildings along Shek Tsai Po Street at the west side of Tai O town centre, including Tai O Fire Station cum Post Office, Tai O Jockey Club Clinic, Tai O Town Hall and Public Toilet well exemplify "Functionalism" in terms of architectural design. They are designed according to their functions, providing public services to the local community. Tai O Fire Station cum Post Office is the most recognizable building among them. The fire station and post offices are located on the ground floor facing the main street, while other government offices are at the first floor. The fire station is designed to accommodate small-sized fire engines and ambulances that suit to run along the narrow street of Tai O. The rooftop is designed as a training ground for the firemen.

  • Shek Tsai Po Street
Hung Shing Temple

Hung Shing Temple was built in 1746 for the local fishermen to worship Kwong Li Hung Shing Tai Wong of the South Seas, Hung Shing, the copper bell inside the temple was casted in the same year. In 1969 and 1995, the temple had undergone major repairs. The temple is a Qing vernacular building that has a two-hall-one-courtyard plan with three bays with external walls decorated with painting of Eight Immortals. On 13 February in the lunar calendar each year, residents organize a series of activities, such as ritual performances to express gratitude to Hung Shing for bringing good fortune and safety to them throughout the year.

  • Shek Tsai Po Street
Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture Centre

The Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture Centre, formerly Tai O Public School, is located at Shek Tsai Po Street. Its establishment was initiated by the Hong Kong Culture Association Charitable Foundation (HKCACF). The Shaolin Center is a non-profit organization that provides wushu training courses and camping activities to the public.

  • Shek Tsai Po Street
Tai O Heritage Hotel

Tai O Heritage Hotel, a Grade II Historic Building, was restored from the previous police station built in 1902. In 2013, it was awarded Merit award at UNESCO 2013 Asia Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Under the Revitalizing Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme by the Development Bureau, the old police station was turned successfully into a modernized hotel, while still keeping the vintage architectural charm of the late 19th century. Every historical element and detail, such as the cannons, searchlight, corner turrets, dry-goods store and cells distinctive to the former police station, has been restored and refurbished in the Tai O Heritage Hotel.

  • Shek Tsai Po Street
  • 11 am - 6 pm daily
The Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

Spanning over Lingdingyang, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), an unprecedented mega transport infrastructure project co-built by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, will connect the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the east and the Macao Special Administrative Region and Zhuhai City of Guangdong Province in the west. The entire HZMB project mainly consists of two parts: (i) the Main Bridge (i.e. a bridge about 22.9 km long and the associated sub-sea tunnel about 6.7 km long) situated in the Mainland waters which is being taken forward by the HZMB Authority; and (ii) the respective link roads and boundary crossing facilities under the responsibility of the three governments. The functions of the HZMB are to meet the demand of passenger and freight land transport among Hong Kong, the Mainland (particularly the region of Pearl River West) and Macao, to establish a new land transport link between the east and west banks of the Pearl River, and to enhance the economic and sustainable development of the three places. As regards the HZMB Hong Kong projects (Hong Kong Link Road (HKLR) & Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF)), the HKLR is a connection between the Main Bridge and HKBCF. The HKBCF will provide respective clearance facilities for goods and passengers using the HZMB.

Salt fish & shrimp paste

The most authentic specialty of Tai O is salted white herring. The white salt produced in Tai O is used for pickling and drying process. Since the sea water in Tai O is mixed with fresh water from the Pearl River, the salt is moderately salty and the salted fish is also with good taste. Shrimp paste is also famous in Tai O. The traditional way in making the shrimp paste is to place the silver shrimp in a wooden barrel, and then followed by stepping and grinding it into a sauce with a stone mill. The final step is to add some fine salt and then ferment it in a bamboo basket. The whole process takes about three weeks.

  • Shek Tsai Po Street
Heritage Walk
Mainly focuses on the busiest streets in Tai O town centre. Visitors can experience the village lifestyle and different architectural features from the Declared Monument Yeung Hau Temple, graded historic buildings, and the vernacular architecture of stilt houses. Visitors can also oversee the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge at the Tai O Viewing Point at Kau San Tei.
No. 1, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14 & 17 Tai O Market Street

Tai O Market Street has been, and still is the busiest economic center of Tai O. At both sides of the street, there are a number of Grade II Historic Buildings, including No. 1, No. 7, No. 9, No. 11, No. 13, No.14, and No. 17. These buildings are typical Balcony Type Shophouses constructed in the early 1930s. They are all two-storey high with same style balustraded cantileve. The ground levels of the shophouses are shops, whilst the upper levels are for residential use. No 1 sits at the corner of the street facing the pier. Its prominent location has made it a local landmark and a Tai O photo spot.

  • Tai O Market Street
Tai O Market

Same as buildings along Shek Tsai Po Street at the west side of Tai O town centre, including Tai O Fire Station cum Post Office, Tai O Jockey Club Clinic, Tai O Town Hall and Public Toilet, Tai O Market well exemplifies "Functionalism" in terms of architectural design. It is designed according to its function, providing public service to the local community.

  • Tai O Market Street
No. 46 & 48, Kat Hing Street

No. 46 & 48 Kat Hing Street are typical pre-World War II shophouses that serve both commercial-cum-residential purposes. They are all listed as Grade III Historic Buildings. The premises are decorated by several arched corridors, which add colonial colors to the place. These arched corridors are also the most distinctive architectural feature. The verandah of No. 48 Kat Hing Street has a modern-styled metal balustrade, while No. 46 has its original ornamental balustrade.

  • No. 46 & 48, Kat Hing Street
No. 60 Kat Hing Street

No. 60 Kat Hing Street is a pre-World War II building used for commercial-cum-residential purposes. It was built in 1933 and is now listed as a Grade II Historic Building. The previous first owner operated a grocery store in Cuba during late 20s/early 30s century, and sent money back to his wife for building the house. The building is a two-storey Balcony Type Shophouse high with a first-floor balcony. The ground floor had once operated as a clothing fabric shop, a sea salt selling shop, and a grocery store.

  • No. 60 Kat Hing Street
Sun Ki Bridge - Water Parade

During the Dragon Boat Festival every year, villagers in Tai O take out the travelling deity images of Yeung Hau, Tin Hau, Kwan Tai, and Hung Shing for the Water Parade.

Small boats loaded with travelling deity images are tied to dragon boats, and they will travel through various water channels for the blessing of the deities. Since nothing is allowed above the heads of the deity images during the "Water Parade", the bridges in Tai O are all built to be opened. It is a traditional event with a history of over one hundred years and was inscribed onto the third national list of intangible cultural heritage of China in 2011.

  • Tai O San Ki Bridge
Tin Hau Temple

Tin Hau Temple, a Grade III Historic Building, was built in 1772. It is located right next to Kwan Tai Temple. Many fishermen in Tai O worship Tin Hau as they believe that Tin Hau is not simply the goddess of the sea, but also the guardian of Tai O fishermen who drift and wander on waters throughout the year. The temple is only about one-third of the width and of equal length of the Kwan Tai Temple. The temple is a Qing vernacular building that has a two-hall-one-courtyard plan. The open courtyard between the entrance and main halls has been covered with a tiled roof. The walls and columns are made with green bricks to support the pitched roofs. Tin Hau is placed in the middle for believers to worship.

  • Kat Hing Back Street
Kwan Tai Temple

Kwan Tai Temple was originally built during the reign of Ming dynasty, and was rebuilt on the site in 1741. This temple is a Grade II Historic Building and is dedicated to the Chinese god of war, a Taoist symbol of force, loyalty, and righteousness. The temple is a Qing vernacular building, which has a two-hall-one-courtyard plan of a three-bay layout. The walls and columns are made with green bricks to support the pitched roofs. The middle bay of the main hall houses the statue of Kwan Tai, a symbol of braveness and royalty, for worship. The main ridge is made with Shiwan ceramics. These ceramics decorations are one of the best preserved samples in Hong Kong territory.

  • Kat Hing Back Street
Shek Lun Kok

Shek Lun Kok was built in 1934, and is a Grade III Historic Building. This is the most prominent residential building in Tai O. People in Tai O normally call it the "New Building". Shek Lun Kok was named after its owner, Wong Shek Lun, in the 80s. The main feature of the building is the elegant colonnaded verandah along the north and east façade at first-floor level. This gives the building a colonial appearance reminiscent of Mediterranean architecture. Shek Lun Kok is the only house in Tai O that represents a colonial verandah, hence it is a rare piece of built heritage.

  • No. 33 Kat Hing Back Street
Shrine with Stone Dog

The Shrine with Stone Dog is located at Kat Hing Back Street and is a Grade III Historic Building. It is believed that the shrine was laid here for more than 100 years. One legend says that it might be related to the dog-worshipping tradition of the Yao tribe or the She tribe who were the aboriginals of the Hong Kong region living here for a long time. Over the years, the shrine's function has evolved from "dog" worshipping into "earth god" worshipping.

  • Next to No. 75 Kat Hing Back Street
Wing Hing Petrol Station

Wing Hing Petrol Station is located at Kat Hing Back Street, and is a Grade III Historic Building. It was built before 1941 for the storage of kerosene. This building is a one-storey structure with a flat roof covered with insulation tiles, and surrounded by a boundary wall. There is a story that this place was used as a prison during the period of Japanese occupation. Since the 60s, the petrol station had changed to storing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) instead of kerosene.

  • No. 99 Kat Hing Back Street
Yeung Hau Temple

Yeung Hau Temple was built in 1699. It is one of the oldest temples in Tai O and was listed as a Declared Monument in October 2017. The Temple is situated at Po Chue Tam which literally means a pool of precious pearl. Legend has it that the Temple is intentionally located at Po Chue Tam to help protect residents against the strife between Sze Shan (Lion Hill) and Fu Shan (Tiger Hill) in competition for the precious pearl. The Temple compound consists of the main temple building and side halls constructed of grey brick, granite, and timber. The main temple building is a Qing vernacular two-hall-three-bay building, with a courtyard covered with a pavilion in-between the two halls. The Temple is also popular for its strong association with the Tai O Dragon Boat Water Parade, which is a traditional event with a history of over one hundred years and was inscribed onto the third national list of intangible cultural heritage of China in 2011.

The Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

Spanning over Lingdingyang, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), an unprecedented mega transport infrastructure project co-built by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, will connect the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the east and the Macao Special Administrative Region and Zhuhai City of Guangdong Province in the west. The entire HZMB project mainly consists of two parts: (i) the Main Bridge (i.e. a bridge about 22.9 km long and the associated sub-sea tunnel about 6.7 km long) situated in the Mainland waters which is being taken forward by the HZMB Authority; and (ii) the respective link roads and boundary crossing facilities under the responsibility of the three governments. The functions of the HZMB are to meet the demand of passenger and freight land transport among Hong Kong, the Mainland (particularly the region of Pearl River West) and Macao, to establish a new land transport link between the east and west banks of the Pearl River, and to enhance the economic and sustainable development of the three places. As regards the HZMB Hong Kong projects (Hong Kong Link Road (HKLR) & Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF)), the HKLR is a connection between the Main Bridge and HKBCF. The HKBCF will provide respective clearance facilities for goods and passengers using the HZMB.

Stilt Houses

Stilt house is an example of vernacular architecture that was developed slowly through time by the local people to adapt to the environment and their living styles. Stilt house first appeared in the early 18th century. At that time, fishermen living on the water started to move ashore, and the stilt houses were built along the tidal flats. As Hong Kong develops, the stilt houses have also evolved from buildings with a single storey vaulted roof or simple truss roof into two-storey buildings with strong foundations. After the fire in July 2000, some of the stilt houses were reconstructed with respect to the traditional vernacular architecture style.

  • Tai O river bank
Nature Walk
Allows visitors to experience the unique nature comprising Tai O Mangrove Replanting Area, wetland, marsh, historic disused salt pans and the vernacular architecture of stilt houses, and finally up to the hill to the viewing point at Lantau North Obelisk (嶼北界碑) viewing the Tai O centre.
San Tsuen Tin Hau Temple

San Tsuen Tin Hau Temple was built in 1722. Every year during the Birthday of Tin Hau, villagers will bring along fruits, roasted pigs, and joss sticks to the temple and worship Tin Hau. Not only that, the villagers will also invite famous Cantonese opera troupes to perform at the temple to celebrate the day.

  • Tai O San Tsuen
Wah Kwong Temple

Wah Kwong Temple is located at Tai O Hang Mei Tsuen. Not only does it have a long history, it is also the only temple in Hong Kong that worships the Master of Cantonese opera performer, Wah Kwong Master. Most of the worshippers are Chinese opera performers and villagers.

  • Tai O Hang Mei Tsuen
Lung Ngam Monastery

Lantau Lung Ngam Monastery is a Buddhist cum Taoist temple built in 1929, located at the foot of Lion Hill, Hang Mei Village. Facing the sea, there was once an extensive salt pan in front of the temple. The temple worships many different deities, and it is the only temple that has serving monks. Every year, many foreign Buddhists come for its reputation.

  • Foothill of Hang Mei Tsuen
Fong Bin Yuen

In 1934, a lady set up Fong Pin Yuen, which literally means the "house of convenience" on the foothill of the cemetery at the east side of Tai O. The house is a small two-bay pitched roof structure with flush gable end walls. Fong Pin Yuen served as an asylum for dying elderly persons and patients with serious illness. It was separated into two independent wards, one for each gender. There was an additional structure next door designed for children. At first, seriously ill people were sent here, so as to separate them from the community. Later on, it also accommodated seriously-illed elderlies and abandoned babies. This building, a Grade III Historic Building, is now abandoned because of the dilapidated state.

  • East of Tai O Town Centre
The Obelisk

The Obelisk is located on a hill next to Kau Ling Chung Campsite, while the other one is located on the Elephant Hill. They were erected there by the British Navy in 1902 to mark the sea border between New Territories rented to Britain and China.

  • North-east of Tai O
Tai O Mangrove Replanting Area

To compensate for the loss of mangrove in construction of the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and the associated development in North Lantau, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department established the mangrove replanting area in the disused saltpans by replanting multiple species of native mangroves between 2005 to 2007. The mangrove replanting area not only improves the landscape quality and brings about ecological enhancement at Tai O, but also provides foraging and roosting ground that benefits various terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, such as mudskippers, crabs and waterbirds.

River Channel, Disused Salt Pan and Mangroves

Salt production was once the mainstay at Tai O village. However, the local salt industry was gradually dwindling, resulting in abandonment of the salt pan. Some disused salt pans have gradually turned into mangroves and marsh by natural succession, which have now become important feeding and roosting grounds for birds, and also formed part of the natural landscape of Tai O.

Tai O Creek originates from the streams at Nga Ying Shan, flows through the southern slopes of Tsim Fung Shan and the Tai O Road, and connects to the Tai O alluvial plain and estuary at lowland. Sediment in freshwater input deposits at the lowland area and creates an inter-tidal habitat with rich biodiversity. Adjoining mangroves and exposed mudflat nourish fishes, shrimps and gastropods, which attract numerous ardeids and other waterbirds to feed here during low tides. This is a good place for nature appreciation and wildlife watching.

  • North and South of Sun Ki Street

Sea Touring Tai O

Sea Touring Tai O
Tung Chung

Tung Chung is located near Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. It is one of the transport hubs in Hong Kong, connecting Hong Kong, Kowloon, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, and in the future, Macao, Zhuhai, and Shenzhen via rails and roads.

Going from Tung Chung to Tai O is convenient. Either by bus number 11 at Tung Chung Town Centre bus station, or by ferry at Tung Chung Development Pier with just 10-minute walk from Tung Chung MTR Exit D.

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok and was first opened in 1998, connecting to over 220 destinations worldwide by over 120 airlines. It was selected as one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century by the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association. Up till now, HKIA has been recognized as the world's best airport more than 60 times.

HKIA is linked to the city's urban areas by various transportation systems. Along the journey to Hong Kong's city centre, you will see several major infrastructural facilities in Hong Kong, like Tung Chung New Town, North Lantau Expressway, Tsing Ma Bridge, Western Harbour Crossing, etc.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB)

Spanning over Lingdingyang, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), an unprecedented mega transport infrastructure project co-built by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, will connect the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the east and the Macao Special Administrative Region and Zhuhai City of Guangdong Province in the west. The entire HZMB project mainly consists of two parts: (i) the Main Bridge (i.e. a bridge about 22.9 km long and the associated sub-sea tunnel about 6.7 km long) situated in the Mainland waters which is being taken forward by the HZMB Authority; and (ii) the respective link roads and boundary crossing facilities under the responsibility of the three governments.

The functions of the HZMB are to meet the demand of passenger and freight land transport among Hong Kong, the Mainland (particularly the region of Pearl River West) and Macao, to establish a new land transport link between the east and west banks of the Pearl River, and to enhance the economic and sustainable development of the three places.

As regards the HZMB Hong Kong projects (Hong Kong Link Road (HKLR) & Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF)), the HKLR is a connection between the Main Bridge and HKBCF. The HKBCF will provide respective clearance facilities for goods and passengers using the HZMB.

Sha Lo Wan

Walk along Tung O Ancient Trail, you can easily reach Sha Lo Wan. Along the way, you can enjoy its natural eco-environment. There are various living creatures, like butterflies and fiddler crabs. In May, you can see moth larvae very easily.

Sham Wat/San Chau

Shum Wat is one of the sites that are of high ecological value in Lantau Island, there are mangroves and mudflats. The diversified habitats have made the breeding of many precious species, like Megophrys brachykolos, horseshoe crabs, and Romer's Tree Frog, much easier.

Mangroves live in coastal intertidal zones, where the soil is loose, but their structural character allows them to grow against the adverse environment. Of the 8 types of mangroves in Hong Kong, 3 of them can be found in Shum Wat. Not only is mangrove an important source of organic matters in coastal intertidal zones, it is also a habitat for many juvenile fishes and crustaceans.

Also, there are some rich and unique vegetation near Shum Wat. You might be able to see azaleas with white or pink color between spring and summer in the woods. In order to conserve these natural resources, the surrounding areas are listed as "Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)".

North-Eastern Coast of Tai O

The north-eastern coast of Tai O mainly consists of Jurassic sedimentary rocks interbedding sucession of grey fine-grained sandstone alternated with siltstone and sandy siltstone. There are two main groups of rocks in the Sham Wat area. The older, forming the low ridge of hills along the coast, while high hills are composed of largely metamorphosed (altered) Jurassic volcanic rocks. Along the north-eastern/north-western coast of Tai O, you can see the well-known Hung Fan Shek (Red Dust Granules) and Tseng Kwan Shek (Old Man Rock).

Hung Fan Shek (Red Dust Granules)
Taking a boat ride to commute between Tung Chung and Tai O, you may find the surface of the seashore en route full of pink granules of varying shapes, which are called "Hung Fan Shek" by nearby residents. Hung Fan Shek, parts of the sedimentary rocks belonging to the Jurassic Tai O Foundation (about 145 million years to 201.3 million years ago), look like deep red because of their rich content of iron oxide. Some of the iron oxide therein, with such granules on the seaside and therefore susceptible to wave impacts for years, will wear off, leading to white marks on the rock surfaces.

Tseng Kwan Shek (Old Man Rock)
Taking a boat ride en route Tiger Hill in Tai O, you may find a mighty rocky giant on the seashore, half seated and gazing far at Ling Ding Yang. This piece of big rock is famously known as "Tseng Kwan Shek(Old Man Rock)". Same as Hung Fan Shek, Tseng Kwan Shek belongs to the Jurassic Tai O Foundation. Looking sideways, you may find that there is a sea arch between the Old Man's abdomen and his feet. Susceptible to wave impacts and corrosive seawater for years, the gaps among the rocks relatively prone to sea corrosion were gradually worn off and eventually opened, culminating in the formation of the sea arch.

Tai O Heritage Hotel

Tai O Heritage Hotel, a Grade II Historic Building, was restored from the previous police station built in 1902 to a heritage hotel. In 2013, it was awarded Merit award at UNESCO 2013 Asia Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Under the Revitalizing Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme by the Development Bureau, the old police station was turned successfully into a modernized hotel, while still keeping the vintage architectural charm of the late 19th century. Every historical element and detail, such as the cannons, searchlight, corner turrets, dry-goods store and cells distinctive to the former police station, has been restored and refurbished in the Tai O Heritage Hotel.


Tai O is a rural village, please respect the tranquility and keep it clean