As the biggest outlying island of the territory, Lantau is one of the best Hong Kong places to explore. Find out more about “The Best of Hong Kong” and the things to do on Lantau Island from this list and be surprised to uncover fun activities that are less mentioned in other web sites that focus on Hong Kong sightseeing information.
Attraction-packed Lantau is not only a true gift from nature, it is also a living encyclopaedia that has chronicled the development of Hong Kong. There is a long list of things to do on Lantau Island, whether you want to relax, to hike or to explore, Lantau will definitely be your best choice to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and to get close to nature.
As the home of Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau is not only served by a highly efficient transport network, it also boasts a wide selection of accommodation designed for travellers wanting to experience the other side of Hong Kong. Families will enjoy the theme park and resort on the island, while business travellers will welcome the all-encompassing starred hotels. Backpackers will be equally delighted with the hostel choices.
Po Lin Monastery is only a 25-minute ride by the Ngong Ping 360 cable car from Tung Chung town centre. The monastery truly embodies the Buddhist culture, architecture, landscape and gardening, and sculptural arts.
100 years of solemn glory
Established in 1906, Po Lin Monastery was known as "the Big Thatched Hut" in its austere past. The monastery boasting many prominent architectural structures, such as the Main Shrine Hall of Buddha, the Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda, and of course the Tian Tan Buddha, which sits opposite the Monastery.
Perfect harmony with nature
Po Lin Monastery can now be reached by various means of transport, taking as little time as 25 minutes on the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car from Tung Chung. Visitors can also admire the sunrise from Lantau Peak, tea farm in the mist, lotus rocks, pagodas in enshrouding mountains, drumming rocks, and sunset in Mount Muk Yue.
Diverse ground activities
Po Lin Monastery offers you with gastronomical and artistic delights. Celebrated for its vegetarian delicacies and aromatic tea. Also famous are the wooden bracelets that are only sold near the Monastery - a fitting memento of the solemnity and austerity of your visit.
Widely touted as one of the most significant Lantau tourist spots. The easiest way to reach the Buddha is through the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, which takes merely 25 minutes.
If you look up to the southwest from Tei Tan square in the middle of the Po Lin Monastery Plaza, you will see a flight of 268 steps leading to the outdoor bronze seated Buddha - Tian Tan Buddha. Walking up the steps, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Lantau and the South China Sea from the podium.
Tian Tan Buddha sits solemnly atop the 482m Muk Yue Shan. The whole complex stands opposite to the monastery and is 6,547 m2 in size. The 34-metre tall Tian Tan Buddha statue sits on a three-storey pedestal.
Remarkable feat of engineering
The planning of the Tian Tan Buddha started in 1976. The works were completed in 1993. It was named one of the "Ten Engineering Wonders in Hong Kong" and was awarded the "Merit of Unique Artistic Features" by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers in 2000.
Underneath the route of Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car at Tung Chung Bay, there is an old fishing village named “Ma Wan Chung”. Since the Tang Dynasty, its residents have been making a living as fishermen and farmers.
Nowadays, Ma Wan Chung Fishing Village is still a scenic destination with traditional stilt houses, retaining its old fishing culture while mixing with the picturesque environment. There are restaurants in the village offering visitors fresh seafood and Chinese dishes, at reasonable prices and with a beautiful backdrop such as the sunset under the cable car. It attracts repeated visits from travellers for a unique experience.
Located in Sha Tsui Tau of Tung Chung, Hau Wong Temple is one of the many Lantau tourist spots that is of great historical value. Hau Wong Temple is a place to honour Hau Wong, Yang Liangjie, who was a loyal general in late Sung Dynasty.
A traditional bell engraved with the date of the 30th year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign is still displayed in the temple. It is therefore believed the temple was built in 1765. There are also two stone inscriptions, a big whalebone, and a stone set inside in the temple symbolising mutual harmony between the East and West of Tung Chung.
The temple has been revitalised several times but its major features are still preserved.
Hau Wong Festival on the 18th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar.
Tung Chung Fort plays in the military history of Lantau Island and Hong Kong at large. Located in Ha Ling Pei, it is very close to Ngong Ping Trail and roughly 15 minutes away from Ngong Ping 360 by bus. If you are interested in the history of Lantau Island, you must also visit Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery.
Tung Chung Fort was built in the 12th year of Emperor Dao Guang’s reign in 1832. It was used as a coordination centre between different check points located on Lantau Island to defend against the invasion of English troops and pirates at the time. Enclosed by a granite wall, the fort has an area of about 5600 sq. metres. There are six old cannons located in the northern part of the fort. All were built in the Qing Dynasty.
In August 1979, the fort was listed as a historical monument. In 1988, the wall and part of the original structure were restored and an exhibition centre was built for visitors. An antiquities museum was also built and became part of the centre in May 2001.
Visitors who would like to go on a land tour of enlightenment can do so at Wisdom Path. Adjacent to such major Lantau tourist spots as Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery and Ngong Ping 360, Wisdom Path features an arrangement of 38 giant wood columns measuring 8-10 metres tall and 1 metre wide to showcase calligraphic works by master of Chinese studies Professor Jao Tsung-I. These wood columns are arranged in a "∞" pattern. The words are from a famous Buddhist classic called the Heart Sutra whose full name in Sanskrit is Sāhasrikā-prajñā-pāramitā.
About half way down the road from Wisdom Path, there is a tea garden. At the end of the tea garden a side path forks out to the left where we find another Lantau tourist spot. Ngong Ping Fun Walk starts here. Visitors can take Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to Ngong Ping Village and explore the neighbourhood there.
The whole walk takes only 45 minutes to complete. Although merely 1.5 km in length, it is a fun land tour that offers six attractions: Misty Lantau, Ancient Gateway, Tree Walk Exploration, Sunrise on Lantau, Scenery of Lakes and Tea Walk. If you fancy a little hike, you may consider following the Ngong Ping Trail, which will take you downhill towards Tung Chung and, along the way, allow you admire the spectacular natural beauty.
Well-known as a Lantau tourist spot great for hiking, Man Cheung Po – Shui Lo Cho is a hidden jewel for nature enthusiasts who like ground activities. And that is the beauty of Hong Kong tourism – there are so many possibilities waiting for you to uncover!
The name of "Man Cheung Po - Shui Lo Cho" ravine has two parts. Translated literally, "Man Cheung Po" means a 10,000-foot tall waterfall, named for its resemblance to a white piece of cloth extending from the sky. "Shui Lo Cho", the second part of this unique name, was inspired by the loud roaring sound at the lower course of Man Cheung Po, near Yi O, after each heavy rainstorm. Visitors who have come to explore the natural side of Hong Kong tourism must not miss Wong Lung Ravine, which is equally famous for its powerful stream of water.
A favourite Lantau tourist spot among nature lovers, Wong Lung Ravine is also known as Wong Lung Hang. The main stream of Wong Lung Ravine comes from the forest valleys amongst Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan), Yi Tung Shan, Lin Fa Shan and the extension of Pok To Yan. Converging the spring water of the mountains, the Wong Lung Ravine boldly rushes north out of the valleys of Tung Chung with great momentum. The famous and spectacular ravine is a must-see for avid hikers who support eco-tourism in Hong Kong.
Northwestern Lantau is home to Nei Shan Ravine, which originates from NeiLak Shan, the fifth tallest point in Hong Kong, standing at 751 metres. This Lantau tourist spot is loved by many seasoned hikers and makes a decent route for a splendid land tour.
The ravine collects water from the back of the gorge of the northern slope, wriggling down along the mountain contours to the harbour front at Shan Tau Village. The flow of the ravine makes it one of the two biggest hydro graphic nets of Nei Lak Shan. Visitors can also consider the more beginner-friendly Ngong Ping Trail, especially if they are traveling with children.
The vast wetland is the backyard for the residents of the Tung Chung new town, providing an unspoiled Lantau tourist spot even though it is not far that from Ngong Ping 360. The natural scenery consists of mud-flats, marshes, mangroves, birds, etc. Shan Tau Wetland is also decorated with lantern-like cable cars hanging in mid-air, with a backdrop filled with aircraft taking off and landing at the most international and modernised airport. Perfect for taking children on an educational land tour, the Wetland lets visitors know the importance of conserving natural resources and supporting a sustainable Hong Kong tourism industry.
The Fat Pig Rock, which was merely a big piece of rock poking out of the sea, was transformed into an established Lantau tourist spot when tourists were doing a land tour nearby, exercising their creativity.
The Fat Pig Rock is now perhaps the most famous rock formation in the southern part of Lantau Island. The reef is shaped just like a big fat pig, standing in the middle of the sea, with its hind leg lifted, as if it were about to fall into the deep blue sea. If viewed from the opposite side, the pig shows a totally different demeanour: full of pride and arrogance.
In addition to being just a Lantau tourist spot, the Ngong Ping Nature Centre is a place where the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department exhibits information about Lantau to enhance visitors' knowledge about the biodiversity and natural landscape, and to promote public awareness of environmental and ecological conservation, and above all, to encourage ethical, responsible and sustainable Hong Kong tourism.
It is the first visitor centre established for Lantau's country parks. There are display panels with Chinese, English and Japanese captions, and a knowledge corner that provides information about nature.
Ngong Ping Sewage Treatment Works is the first tertiary sewage treatment plant in Hong Kong. An unusual Lantau tourist spot, the Ngong Ping Sewage Treatment Information Centre was actually set up inside the plant to provide more information to visitors. Aiming at promoting public awareness of environmental conservation, the centre provides the public with knowledge of tertiary sewage treatment and the effluent reuse pilot scheme via four exhibition zones and an interactive zone. If you are travelling with children, you might as well consider including some educational ground activities in your tour before you go hiking on Ngong Ping Trail or Wong Lung Ravine, and become an ambassador for responsible Hong Kong tourism!
Amongst the various natural Lantau tourist spots, Tung Chung Mangrove is one of the most favoured. The Tung Chung Mangrove, which is in close vicinity to Ngong Ping 360, supports different species of coastal plants and organisms. If you are lucky, you may even see some interesting organisms such as fiddler crabs and mudskippers.
As one of the many Lantau tourist spots loved by nature enthusiasts, Lantau Country Park has a variety of challenging and entertaining ground activities to offer, notably its many hiking routes. The 70km Lantau Trail is divided into 12 sections with the first stage starting at Mui Wo pier. It has good visitor facilities along the way, and the route is well marked with information for visitors. Section 11 of the Lantau Trail starts just across the Tung Chung Road, which is not far from Ngong Ping 360. This section of the trail will reach South Lantau Road at Pui O and hikers can appreciate the beauty of natural stone steps and the dense woodland along the 3km journey. If you like hiking, you must not miss the equally famous Ngong Ping Trail and Wong Lung Ravine.
A truly special Lantau tourist spot, Shaolin Wushu Cultural Centre offers its students and visitors a fascinating insight into the deep culture of Kung Fu. Situated in Tai O, the Cultural Centre is about 15 minutes from Ngong Ping 360.
Authentic Shaolin martial arts
The Cultural Centre teaches authentic Shaolin-style martial arts, body training and Zen meditation techniques, provided by its team of highly experienced instructors who were themselves trained at the original Shaolin temple.
The centre consists of an outdoor training ground, five hostel rooms accommodating a total of 64 people and a canteen serving authentic Shaolin-style vegetarian meals. After a session of meditation, visitors can consider paying a visit to Tian Tan Buddha or Po Lin Monastery to really complement their Buddhist experience.
Built in 1699 and located at Po Chu Tam, the temple is a Grade I historic building and the oldest Hau Wong temple in Hong Kong.
Yang Liangjie, a brave and loyal general, protected the last emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty despite his failing health. Yang, together with his king and the army he took command of, stayed in Lantau briefly. His courageous act was honoured in the temple by villagers. “Hau Wong” is a Chinese acronym that combines two titles given to Yang before and after he passed away.
Having been erected for more than 300 years of history, the temple is home to a wealth of historical relics, including a bell cast in 1699, a tin altar table created in 1860 and an inscribed stone tablet made in 1877.
Established in 1951, the Trappist Haven Monastery is the only Catholic monastery built in medieval style in Hong Kong. Steeped in history and tradition, it provides another option for visitors who are looking for quieter Lantau tourist spots.
The monastery is a European rural medieval stone building with a small garden outside and the Virgin Mary at the Chinese style pavilion representing a mixture of Eastern and Western culture. The chapel with its distinctive pastel green roof is bright and airy inside with a wooden balcony at the rear.
Sacred and peaceful
The presence of a Catholic establishment on Lantau Island, which is internationally renowned for its Buddhist Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha, exemplifies the diversity of Hong Kong tourism.
The monastery is situated half-way between Mui Wo and Discovery Bay, from where visitors can follow a scenic walking trail along the coast to reach the Monastery, which takes about an hour at a leisurely pace. Visitors can also use the kaido service available from Discovery Bay or Peng Chau to arrive at the Monastery’s pier, which is a 10-minute walk away.
Famous for milk
The monastery is famous for its “Trappist Dairy” brand of milk. The dairy herd which was originally located here was moved to Yuen Long and the milk is now supplied from the mainland and bottled in Yuen Long.
Built in 1488 and located at Tai O Market Street, the temple is a Grade II historic building and the oldest temple in Lantau.
Kwai Tai was a Military General in the Three Kingdoms period, renowned for his bravery, military tactics, loyalty, and chivalry. Regarded as the God of War and Righteousness, the guardian against the evil and a manager of the weather, Kwan Tai is worshipped in many temples.
Features of the Temple
Built in traditional Lingnan architectural style, a stone inscribed with the words of Kwan Tai Temple can be found at the main entrance. The temple also houses other gods including Zhang Xian, Zhou Cang, Gwan Ping and Hwang Ling Gong. Visitors can also see statues of Kwan Tai’s horse and horseman. Famous ancient physician Hua Tuo and the Military Gods (Tai Sui) are also worshipped in this temple.
With the support of Home Affairs Department, Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association established the centre as a social enterprise in 2006. It has a mission to promote sustainable development through various activities derived from Tai O’s unique fishing village culture and mangrove ecology, such that residents and merchants in Tai O can take part.
A skill perfected by native Tai O residents. Participants can gain a deeper understanding of the lives of Tai O fishermen during as they make the fishnets together.
Dry your own salted eggsi
Sun dried egg yolks are a specialty of Tai O. Participants will learn the craft, the origin and the process of creating this delicacy, as well as its connection to the daily lives of people directly from Tai O residents.
The centre also runs other guided tours and ecologically themed events. Visitors would gain first-hand experience of living in a fishing village and a chance to reflect on the relationship between human and the nature.