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Sep 18, 2017

Unwind in Tai O on Lantau Island

Need a break from Hong Kong’s frenetic pace? Tai O, located on the north western coast of Lantau Island, is a perfect getaway from Asia’s world city. Hong Kong is composed of over 250 islands, the most developed of which is Hong Kong island. The outlying islands are, comparatively, laid-back, wide open spaces that seem a world away. Just like Hong Kong itself, they showcase fascinating contrasts: tradition and innovation, serenity and dynamism, East and West.

Four of these islands – Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau – are popular, populous, and are tourist hubs in themselves.
The largest island, Lantau combines Western commercialism and Eastern spirituality; delicious food and rich heritage; flora and fauna; hills and seaside fun; Hong Kong’s international airport and soon to be the entrance for the bridge link to Macau.
The island is famous for Tian Tan, the Big Buddha, and for Hong Kong Disneyland. Tai O, and the famous Tai O Heritage Hotel, are also located in Lantau.

 

Tai O       

This coastal area is home to a vibrant fishing village and a local speciality market where you can taste some truly unique, authentic, home-made seafood delicacies. At the Tai O Rural Committee Historic & Cultural Showroom, you can view relics of a centuries-old fishing village.
When at Tai O, don’t miss the scenic homes of the Tanka people, the Stilt Houses. Interlinked and suspended above the water, the Tai O Stilt Houses show what it means to be one with the environment you live and work in. This tightly knit fishing community lives literally on the water! A true photographer’s paradise.

 

The Dragon Boat Water Parade of Tai O keeps heritage alive. The people of a centuries-old fishing village celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival to this day. The Tai O Heritage Hotel combines Eastern and Western architectural styles in a former outpost of law and order to make a masterpiece of architecture and heritage.
The flora and fauna of this coastal region shine as well as the culture. Popular Dolphin Watching Tours run from Tai O, taking groups out to sea to spot Hong Kong’s playful ‘pink’ dolphins. These charming, intelligent mammals are delightful to observe and interact with.
Tai O is also home to Yim Tin Mangrove Forest, an ecological treasure in a former salt marsh.

 

Tai O Heritage Hotel

The colonial edifice now known as the Tai O Heritage Hotel was first constructed under British rule in 1902 as a police station, to guard the shore against bandits and pirates. Located on a secluded stretch abutting Shek Tsai Po Street, the Hotel enjoys a great view of the South China Sea and the tranquil fishing village.
In 1902, the need was felt for a permanent police station on the small hill next to Tai O Ferry Pier, to reinforce police forces stationed on Lantau Island. This was established to help combat the pirates then prevalent in neighbouring waters. 
The police station served as more of an administrative centre. While they were occasionally called upon to fight crime, they had a community role to play in rural Tai O too. The police would be called in to settle family disputes and arguments among villagers.


Due to declining crime rates, the police station ceased to operate and functioned instead as a patrol post from 1996 to 2002.
In 2009, the building was renovated and restored to new glory, when it was converted into a nine-room boutique hotel – the Tai O Heritage Hotel.
        
The historical elements of the building were carefully renovated in a way that minimised the impact on the existing structure, to maintain its late 19th century character for the 21st century.
Consisting primarily of three sections – a two-storey main building, a two-storey outhouse and a one-storey extension added in the 1960s – the Old Tai O Police Station represents a classic example of colonial-style architecture.


       

Getting There
Since the airport was moved to Chek Lap Kok, on Lantau Island, connectivity of Lantau has improved greatly. The Lantau Link was constructed in 1997, building a road and rail connection between the airport and central Hong Kong.
Discovery Bay, located on the southern part of Lantau Island where over 20,000 residents live, is approximately 30 minutes by boat from Central or 10 minutes bus by from the nearest MTR station (Sunny Bay).

Specifics
Mozaic Club is hosting an event to visit the Tai O fishing village and Heritage Hotel on September 30, from 2:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. Members will be picked up from Tung Chung MTR station in a private bus and dropped at Tai O village. The group will have a boat and walking tour of the area and finish with a Barbeque dinner in the Tai O Heritage Hotel.
If you’re interested in joining us, please visit our Facebook events page: https://www.facebook.com/mozaiclub/ or visit our Calendar page: www.mozaiclub.com.hk

 

#TaiOVillage #TaiO #VillageTour #mozaiclub

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