Hong Kong/Lantau

Misty mountains on Lantau Island

Lantau (Chinese: 大嶼山; Pinyin: Dàyǔ shān) is the largest island in Hong Kong and despite having both the airport and Disneyland it offers quiet mountains and villages that seem a world away from the busy pace of life in Kowloon.

Understand

With the opening of the Lantau Link, a road and rail connection between the airport and central Hong Kong in 1997, Lantau Island is now firmly connected to the mainland of the Kowloon peninsula. The new airport at Chek Lap Kok has led to the establishment and rapid expansion of a new town, Tung Chung, and the improved transport links have brought further development in the shape of Disneyland, a cable car to Ngong Ping monastery, and an entire new road to southern Lantau. Sizeable sections of Lantau Island are declared country parks, though the island seems poised for more development.

There are four sizeable communities on Lantau:

Get in

From the airport

Lantau Island is adjacent to   Hong Kong International Airport, and linked to the airport island by two short bridges. The best ways from the airport are taxi and bus. There is no train service from the airport to Lantau, and it is probably cheaper to take a taxi than to take the Airport Express train to Tsing Yi and come back via the standard MTR.

Blue coloured taxis from the airport to anywhere in Lantau are relatively fast and pleasant, however they can be in short supply on weekends. (You can call a number displayed at the taxi stand to try and get one faster). Red taxis are (only) allowed to take you to Tung Chung and Disneyland on Lantau, although their use for short distances is generally discouraged by the airport staff.

Alternatively, there are frequent buses that travel towards Tung Chung MTR station, including S1 and S64 from the airport terminal. Although you can use the A35/N35 for traveling to Mui Wo directly from the airport, the frequency of this particular route is sparse. It's usually better to change on to local buses at Tung Chung MTR interchange, where you can find buses to most destinations across Lantau island.

It's about a 5km walk from the airport to Tung Chung. The main (northern) bridge is a highway that doesn't allow pedestrians, but there is a nice walkway over the southern bridge. Considering the bus fare is around $4, you shouldn't have to consider this option.'

By train

The portion of the Hong Kong MTR network on Lantau island

The Tung Chung MTR line is the fastest way to get to Lantau if you are going to the north of the island. The Tung Chung line also connects with special rail services at Sunny Bay that take visitors directly to Disneyland.

The trip to Tung Chung takes around 25 minutes all the way from Hong Kong station and costs $18-20.50. Children 11 years and under enjoy a 50% discount.

There is a monthly ticket for this line available at the MTR stations, although you would have to use it every day to make much saving from it.

By boat

The obvious way of getting to the island is to take a ferry. Ferries depart from the Outlying Islands pier in Central, to the west of the Star Ferry terminal. The largest operator is the New World First Ferry.

Ferries to the island, as well as buses, impose a 50% surcharge for travel on Sundays and public holidays (with the exception of services to/from/within Discovery Bay, Disneyland and the airport). It's cheaper, and less crowded, to visit during the week or on Saturdays.

Tuen Muen->Tung Chung->Tai O: There is a small ferry that runs between Tuen Muen in the New Territories to Tung Chung on Lantau to the touristic fishing village of Tai O on Lantau every day in the mornings and late afternoons. If you are visiting Tai O then this ferry might be a nice way back to Tung Chung. (The Tung Chung ferry pier is however a long walk from the MTR/Bus station.)

By bus

There are buses from all parts of Hong Kong that go to the Airport, and are cheaper than taking the Airport Express. (A bus from the airport to Hong Kong Island will cost around HKD $40)

Tung Chung and Discovery Bay have some bus connections to Hong Kong as well, although they are usually a less compelling option than taking the MTR train.

By car

Whilst you can drive your car onto Lantau, the road system is limited and much of the island is zoned as a country park and is off limits to normal vehicles. If you really want to see Lantau you should get out of your car. The Disneyland is however still accessible by car and connected by the Lantau Link expressway.

From Mainland China

From Macau

There is a ferry between Macau and the Hong Kong International Airport a few times a day, although it appears you can only use this if you are going to board a flight and not to disembark on Lantau itself.

Get around

Sunrise over Lantau Island

By bus

On Lantau seemingly short distances on a map (e.g. Tung Chung to Ngong Ping, less than 6 km by cable car) can take a while by road, due to the twisty mountain roads and their circuitous routes.

The major bus interchange in Lantau locates nearby the Tung Chung MTR Station. New Lantau Bus serves numerous of bus routes which connects to most of famous attraction and villages along the Lantau Island. Some bus routes traveling within south Lantau region, connecting places including Tai O and Mui Wo.

By taxi

Blue taxis are allowed to take you anywhere on Lantau island. Note that there are not so many of them, so be careful to rely on them during busy times. The fares are slightly cheaper than the red Hong Kong taxis.

Red taxis are allowed to serve only the airport, Tung Chung and Disneyland. They are not allowed anywhere else on Lantau island.

By bicycle

Mui Wo: There is at least one bicycle shop in Mui Wo (just opposite the main bus station), where you can rent bicycles hourly or for the whole day.

Yat Tung: There are a few bicycle shops in Yat Tung (close to Tung Chung) with bikes for rent.

By foot

If you are not going too far, there are generally convenient footpaths all over the island. There are paved paths all around Mui Wo to some of the villages, many of which are within a 30 minute walk or less.

Be careful walking too far in summer months since most routes do not have any amenities and it can get very hot! Hiking between June and October is not recommended, although people do it.

Popular routes include:

By cable car

Ngong Ping 360 is a spectacular 5.7 km cable car journey between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, which is easily accessible from Tung Chung MTR station.

A single trip costs $94 ($135 round trip) on normal days and more on special days. The cabins glide over the South China Sea and the verdant mountainous terrain of the North Lantau Country Park for 20-25 minutes and provide some of the best panoramic views in Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong International Airport and the Tian Tan Buddha Statue.

This is one of Hong Kong's main tourist attractions, and lines can be very long. Tickets can be pre-purchased online.

Watch out for people trying to sell you tickets outside the station. The latest trend was to sell you a single tour on the cable car and an all-day pass for the Lantau bus system. While it might be nice to take the cable car up to the Buddha (the line for the cable car can be long), and the bus back, the all-day pass for the bus is probably a waste of money.

See

Gateway to Hong Kong Disneyland
Tian Tan Budda - The largest seated Buddha in bronze
Wisdom Path, near the Po Lin Monastery
Silvermine Bay Beach
The Ferry Pier
Dragon Boat in Mui Wo

Do

Buy

Tung Chung: There is a large mall called CityGate Outlets, next to the MTR Station, that has many 'factory shops' of many famous clothes and fashion brands, such as Adidas, Esprit, Giordano, Levi's, Nike, Quiksilver and Timberland. This mall is very popular with mainland Chinese tourists. The prices are cheaper, although the items for sale may not be the latest. The cheapest prices are during the end-of-season sales. Note that in most shops in City Gate there is no refund policy. Next to CityGate is a more downmarket mall called 'Fu Tong', which has a limited number of local shops, many local restaurants and a Hong Kong style wet market.

Tai O: There are lots of tourist shops selling local food and delicacies.

Mui Wo: There are some novelty and food shops, although generally not a great deal here.

Discovery Bay: At the heart of the community lies the commercial centre, DB Plaza, where residents and visitors gather for socializing or functions. As a residential district, most shops serve residents' needs - including supermarkets, banks and chemists; but there also exist a sizable number of independent and novelty shops. For the tourist there is very little here.

Eat

Mui Wo

Tung Chung

Discovery Bay

Drink

Sleep

There are some guesthouses (a few of which call themselves hotels) and two hostels on Lantau. Lantau also has 10 campsites. When you get off the ferry pier in Mui Wo, there are some booths were you can rent apartments for the weekend. There are several small cabins for hikers at Sunset Peak which go for $300 per cabin/night (sleeps about six people, but very old). There is also accommodation at Disneyland, at the Disneyland Hotel, and the Disney Hollywood Hotel.

Go next

Take the ferry back to Central. There are also inter-island ferries to Peng Chau and Chung Chau.


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 08, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.