Ma Wan Island
Having only a small population of just under 1,000, Ma Wan Island is a fishing village only accessible by boats and ferries. It is located off the northern coast of Lantau island and under the Lantau Link which connects the new Hong Kong International Airport to the city center. Plans to develop the 0.97 km2 sized island emerged during the mid- 1990’s and it now has a large private estate and a public park.
The private estate is called Park Island. It is a resort style residential development and no automobiles can be driven in this area. The public park is named as Ma Wan Park and is comprised of two phases. The first phase features basic information of plants and trees in Hong Kong. Adding up to the educational atmosphere are paintings on walls and stones. The second phase is a theme park called "Ark Park" or Noah’s Ark. Inspired by the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, it is centered on the themes of nature, art, education, love and creationism. It is here where you can see the world’s only full size replica of Noah’s Ark. Generally, Ma Wan Park serves as a tourist attraction and education center that uniquely combines nature and the arts with great emphasis on outdoor interactive instruction.
Aside from Ma Wan Park, Tung Wan Beach is considered to be the main public recreational area in Ma Wan. The sand is soft and the water is so clear here. You can also enjoy the great view under Tsing Ma Bridge. Walking along the seaside road will let you appreciate the old village of Hong Kong. More than half of the indigenous village houses are already uninhabited but houses close to the sea still have an energy about them. The village is remarkable for its strong rural character with typically 2 to 3 story houses. Hong Kong people observe their religious customes wherever they go, therefore Tin Hau temples can be found in the island as well. These are dedicated to fishing and seafaring activities. Although because of the decline of both fishing and agricultural activities, many residents now engage in renting out leisure boats to tourists.
Because most Hong Kong people live in Park Island apartment complex, ferries are now operated to Central Pier (Hong Kong Island) and Tsuen Wan Pier (New Territories) from Ma Wan. It’s interesting that people like to take their dogs to Ma Wan for a walk since pets are allowed inside ferries to Ma Wan. There are also bus companies which operate bus services between Ma Wan and Tsing Yi MTR Station; between Ma Wan and Hong Kong International Airport; and between Ma Wan and Tsuen Wan. Urban taxis (servicing Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) are now allowed to travel in Ma Wan during the overnight period from 8pm to 7am to meet the residents’ transportation needs. Private vehicles are still not permitted to enter Ma Wan Island, however a permit can be requested from the Transport Department of Hong Kong.