The fact it is an outlying island does nothing to discourage travellers from visiting Lantau. Among the 260 outlying islands of Hong Kong, Lantau (along with Lamma and Cheung Chau) is the region’s best known and most easily accessible island. Lantau provides you with a delightful retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban Hong Kong because life here is gentler, slower and more peaceful, thanks to the abundance of indigenous forests. But before setting your mind on discovering today's Lantau, take time to breathe in Lantau as a sanctuary of exploration into Hong Kong’s past.
Major historical events happened here, such as finding early human artifacts and rock carvings dating back to the Bronze Age, being the place of refuge during the fall of Song Dynasty, serving as the first European (Portuguese) trading settlement, and finally being an important trading post for the British. Soon after they left, it became the site of fishing villages but has transformed into a developed land after several major infrastructure projects, namely the Lantau Link, Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ngong Ping 360.
Although most people arrive here because Hong Kong International Airport is just on a small island north of Lantau, the relative scarcity of high-rise residential developments in the area proves its low population density with only 45,000 people living in the settlements scattered throughout the 146.16 square kilometers land area.
The green terrain and many iconic attractions give Lantau its appeal. Some of the most fascinating are:
2. Po Lin Monastery
3. Tian Tan Buddha - the world’s largest seated bronze Buddha
4. Ngong Ping 360 - a tourism experience which combines a 5.7km cable car journey and a cultural themed village
5. Tai O - a fishing town showcasing traditional stilt houses
Activities that can allure you into the island are windsurfing and swimming at Cheung Sha beach and Silvermine Beach in Mui Wo. Mui Wo is a rural town with a number of temples, old buildings, and even a waterfall and an old mining cave, which you can also visit as you follow a hiking trail. Discovery Bay - a residential development staging a golf and marina club for members and guest which holds the Dragonboat races during May, the Halloween Festival during October, and the Multi-cultural Festival - is also a good place for entertainment. For a shopping frenzy, the Citygate Outlet mall with tons of mid-priced brands is located next to Tung Chung MTR Station.
Twisty mountain roads and circuitous routes in Lantau don’t hinder the availability of public transportation on the island. On Lantau, you can travel by bus and taxi (blue-colored ones). The major bus interchange is located near the Tung Chung MTR Station; New Lantau Bus has numerous bus routes which can bring you to most of famous attractions and villages along Lantau. Take note that seemingly short distances can take a longer time to reach than expected because of the winding roads. You can avoid the long travel time though by riding a cable car between Tung Chung and Ngong Pin. It offers one of the best panoramic views of Hong Kong as well. If you’re coming from other parts of Hong Kong, the fastest way to get to Lantau is still by train, with the Tung Chung MTR line. Another option is to take a ferry departing from Central, to the west of Star Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong Island.