Last updated on March 27th, 2022 at 01:27 am
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When my best friend came to Hong Kong for a couple of weeks, I was beyond excited because I finally had a close friend here. I’ve met some people here and there and answered a few uncomfortable questions but nothing beats a friend that you’ve known for more than 10 years.
She told me to plan our itinerary and I did my best to plan things that I thought would make her happy. We ate at Yat Tung Heen, shopped at Argyle Center in Mongkok, and went to my favourite cute gift stores, of course.
But I wanted to do a day trip with her. She wasn’t down for Disneyland (boo) and as I was thinking of ideas, I came across Tai O fishing village.
I’ve never heard of Tai O before (I know, I know. It makes me look like such a foreigner) but it’s called Venice of the East according to a Conde Nast article.
My best friend chose to not go (for reasons I will not share in case she doesn’t want people to know. She tells me she does read my blog so if you see this, hi!) but going to Tai O fishing village was then put on my bucket list.
One weekend, my dad decides that he wants to do a day trip with us two. Sorry mom!
(He likes to spring things on me. That’s how we ended up eating at One Harbour Road too a while ago.)
We were originally planning to go to Cheung Chau but when he asked me if there was somewhere else I wanted to go, I said Tai O fishing village. So off we went!
Getting to Tai O Fishing Village
Tai O fishing village is located on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. You need a special license to drive up there. Since most people don’t have that, here are the ways to get there from the city center.
- Take the ferry from Central to Tai O
- Drive to Tung Chung, park there, and then take a bus to Tai O
- Take a blue taxi (for the Lantau Island district) to Tai O but this is the most expensive option
We went with the second option since our place isn’t near Central at all. The drive from our place to Tung Chung felt quite quick and we were lucky to find a parking spot.
It took a while to find the bus that goes to Tai O fishing village but we eventually found it. The wait wasn’t that long. It was probably about 10 minutes.
The Bus Ride to Tai O Fishing Village
You don’t have to worry about buying a ticket or anything because you can use your Octopus card.
For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a transportation card except people can also buy things with it (nothing crazy expensive because there’s a limit on how much you can put in your Octopus card). It’s great for people who hate carrying around change.
(Speaking of expensive things, Vestiaire Collective has a section where you can use your HKD 5000 consumption voucher. Since the voucher ends on Dec 31st, 2021, go check out the website to see if there’s anything you want to buy!)
The bus reminded me of a Peter Pan/Greyhound bus style. I used to take those a lot when I went to New York City to visit my aunt from Boston.
Since it was a weekend, the bus was understandably full and loud. The entire ride was about 40 minutes but it felt like it took forever. It was a long-winded uphill road. I actually got motion sickness because of all the turns.
I tried to close my eyes and rest but could hardly do so. My dad was so excited about everything that he kept tapping me on my shoulder and told me to look outside. We saw some cows walking and several other things I don’t even remember.
Arriving at Tai O Fishing Village
We arrived at Tai O fishing village at noon. I was desperate to get off the bus at that point. Too many people and I needed fresh air.
Since we weren’t exactly hungry yet, we walked around the town for a bit to see what was around. My dad hasn’t been here in years and I’ve never even visited this place.
There were a ton of snack stalls. We each ate this giant curry fish ball (an HK snack staple) and even had some fish siu mai (one of my favourite local snacks).
There was a snack stall grilling fresh squid. It must have looked yummy enough because my dad ordered one and he never gets squid (I miss my calamari from Atlantic Fish). It’s because they cooked the grilled squid with shrimp paste. Shrimp paste is what Tai O fishing village is known for so we wanted to try it.
The squid was very fresh but the shrimp paste was a bit too overwhelming for me. I asked some HK locals and even they admit the flavour is a bit too strong for their liking.
Tai O Fishing Village Tourist Attractions
Pink Dolphins/Boat Rides
I wanted to take a boat ride to see the pink dolphins. It’s another thing Tai O fishing village is known for.
I took one look at the water and saw how strong the waves were. It was a pretty chilly day so I’m glad I brought an extra jean jacket.
My dad asked me if I was sure I wanted to take a boat ride. If I got motion sickness on the bus ride here, is it a good idea? He’s right.
I was a bit disappointed that my body wouldn’t cooperate with me. I wish I can comment on the boat ride but since I didn’t go, I can’t.
I’ll tell you this. There’s no guarantee that you’ll see the pink dolphins even if you take a boat ride. It depends on the weather. They’re a rare species. It would have been cool if I got to see some dolphins in person. Oh well.
Tai O Heritage Hotel
This is the only hotel in Tai O fishing village. It’s a little further down the main street but we kept walking anyway because we wanted to see the hotel.
A housekeeper was cleaning one of the very few rooms available. We took a quick peek and were surprised to see how nice it was.
You might expect a somewhat shabby hotel but it reminded me of one of those beach resorts you would stay at in the U.S.
I remember when I graduated from college, we took a road trip in the States. One of the hotel rooms we stayed at looked pretty similar to Tai O Heritage Hotel.
I wish I took a picture but when she saw us, she quickly closed the door to continue cleaning.
There was a ton of beautiful street art in Tai O fishing village. You’ll see a bunch as you’re walking around. There’s one that stands out and it’s near Kwan Kai temple. The street art covered the whole wall and people were lining up to take a picture.
I wasn’t one of them because it would take too long. My dad isn’t a patient person. He would have waited with me if I really wanted to but I would rather continue to walk around.
We asked one of the locals if this time was considered busy. He said that Saturday afternoons get busier but there are even more people on Sunday.
After hearing that, we rushed a little to see what we wanted to do while it was less busy.
It can be hard to enjoy something when you’re being squished. I wish I took more pictures but I was trying to enjoy the scene as-is.
Other Tourist Attractions
There are also hiking trails and temples you can visit. We did not go to these but I wanted to include them in my blog post for people who are interested to go.
Food at Tai O Fishing Village
Local Snack Stalls
You will not go hungry at Tai O fishing village. Almost at every corner you turn to, there are snack stalls. There are plenty of options. We did end up buying quite a bit to take home like some biscuits and pork jerky.
One of the best things about Hong Kong is the food and I’m all about their snacks here. I made a snack place Boston post a while ago and am thinking to do a Hong Kong version soon.
To be honest, I’m trying to be a better planner in terms of blog posts (I usually do them the week of but am trying to change that.) If I am following my current schedule, this post probably won’t be up until 2022.
Lunch at Fook Lam Moon
We ate lunch at Fook Lam Moon. We picked this place because of two simple reasons. There were quite a lot of people so we assumed the food would be decent.
Also, the restaurant looked pretty spacious. Some of the other restaurants looked smaller (there could have been a second floor and we just didn’t see).
Most of the time, when I’m in the city, I do have to plan when I want to eat at a particular restaurant. Agehan Japanese restaurant is a perfect example. You have a slim chance of getting a table there if you walk in spontaneously.
While I understand that happens, it’s nice to be spontaneous once in a while. And to get a table when you walk in. That happened for Fook Lam Moon.
My dad liked the shrimp paste enough to want to eat it again but this time, with rice. We got fried rice with shrimp paste, shrimp, and vegetables. A pretty plain meal.
I don’t have much to say about the food. The restaurant didn’t wow me nor would it be a place I strongly recommend people to go eat at. It did its job which is to serve customers fresh seafood. I doubt people come here to eat to be blown away by the food anyway.
How Long Should You Spend at Tai O Fishing Village?
It’s been a while since I did a day trip. I still think about the Terre Bleu Lavender Farm.
We were at Tai O fishing village for a couple of hours. We left the house at 10 am and got back around 4/5 pm. It didn’t take a complete full day for us but we didn’t see everything. Be prepared to spend a day there if that’s what you choose to do.
Other Attractions Near Tai O Fishing Village
If you’re visiting Tai O fishing village and want to see more of Hong Kong while you’re out, you can also consider visiting the Big Buddha. It’s pretty near and it’s one of the most visited attractions here in Hong Kong.
If going to Big Buddha isn’t your thing, you can go shopping.
When you take the bus or taxi back to Tung Chung, there’s an outlet called Citygate Outlets.
We went in for less than 15 minutes. There are many stores but we only went to the sports apparel ones.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Tai O Fishing Village
Tai O fishing village is quite local. You’ll see locals putting out food to dry.
The water won’t be crystal clear. Tai O has been there for quite a while so a lot of things won’t be shiny and new. It’s important to adjust your expectations.
Rural areas in Hong Kong aren’t going to be the same as rural areas in the U.S. or in Japan. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly is a different type of experience.
Although I’m a city girl at heart, I also appreciate places outside of the city. Tai O fishing village is a breath of fresh air compared to your normal, city life. It helped that the weather was nice that day.
It’s hard to travel anywhere now especially if you live in Hong Kong. The city is pretty strict with its quarantine rules.
I did the whole Hong Kong hotel quarantine once already when I moved back. While it wasn’t bad, it’s not something I want to do again unless I have to. Going to Tai O did feel like a small vacation and I enjoyed my time there.
Now to You
What day trip would you recommend to people that live in your city? Let me know in the comments down below.