Hong Kong is an amazing destination, and one place in particular that makes it so special is Lantau Island. In fact, it may be one of my favorite places I’ve visited in the world (so far). I love the mixture of eastern and western styles, along with the natural landscapes and thriving city!
To me, a visit to Hong Kong has the best of both worlds in nearly every way. And there are so many things to do in Hong Kong that you will never be bored. But after spending time in the big, bustling city, you may need a bit of a break. Luckily, there are a number of places that you can escape to quickly and reconnect with nature. One of my favorite things to do in Hong Kong is to escape the city and explore nearby Lantau Island!
Lantau Island in Hong Kong
Lantau Island is actually the largest of the Hong Kong islands and is diverse in its development and activities. While it was originally quiet fishing villages, the northwest side of the island has become quite developed, in particular, with the new Hong Kong international airport and Disneyland. So of course, that part of the island is quite crowded and full of shopping, hotels, apartments, and the train and highway system that connects it to Hong Kong city. But other parts of the island are very different, including tiny fishing villages, hiking trails and beaches (yes, there are beautiful beaches in Hong Kong!). In fact, most of Lantau island is protected park land.
How to Get to Lantau Island in Hong Kong
Getting to Lantau Island is very easy because of the awesome transportation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has a great network of trains between the city and the countryside. Perhaps the simplest way to get from the central district of Hong Kong to Lantau Island is to take the train toward the international airport. The Hong Kong International Airport is actually on Lantau Island, but go beyond the airport to experience all this area has to offer.
However, I think the more scenic and relaxing way to get to Lantau Island from Hong Kong Central is to take a ferry. Ferry rides from the main harbor in Hong Kong Central takes about 30 – 50 minutes (depending on which boat you take). Once you arrive at the island, you will need to hop on one of the buses to take you to your ultimate destination.
Things to Do on Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Lantau Peak is the highest mountain on the island. This area is home to a number of attractions such as the Po Lin Monastery and restaurant, as well as an 85 foot giant Buddha statue made of bronze. This statue that is sitting up on top of one of the hills used to be the largest outdoor seated Buddha in the world. You are able to hike up to the top, but be sure to bring good shoes and water!
Lantau Island, Hong Kong
There is a great cultural village at the top of the mountain, and the Ngong Ping 360 cable car / gondola connects the peak and monastery area to the northwest hub of the island, near the airport. Taking the gondola is the easy, scenic way to go, but hiking the trails all around is much more exciting, especially on a smoggy day when the views are not as good. One of the best trails is a 70 km, 12 section Lantau Trail which includes stone steps, and densely wooded areas. There are some small places to stay, like youth hostels and campsites.
There are also a number of old fishing villages still around on Lantau Island. One of the most popular to visit is Tai O. Located on the northwest part of the island, this is one of the oldest villages on the island, and visitors can see a number of stilt homes built over the water.
Lastly, there are some great beaches where you can relax or watch a beautiful sunset on Lantau Island. Cheung Sha Beach, is one of Hong Kong’s longest, but Pui O Beach is also quite popular. These beaches are also accessible by boat from Central Hong Kong, and then take bus 1.
Lantau Island is More than a Day Trip from Hong Kong City!
While a day trip to Lantau Island can be a fun-filled or relaxing day, there is also plenty to do to warrant a longer stay out on the island. Honestly, I wish I would have known that before my trip. I actually stayed in Central Hong Kong and just visited Lantau Island for one day. I was traveling solo and loving all the things to do in Hong Kong city.
But during my visit, I realized that I wished I would have stayed a couple nights out there so that I could relax and explore the area even more! I would have loved to have done some of the longer hikes and visited some of the more remote areas of the island.
Also, while there are some accommodation options on Lantau Island, the place I would have LOVED to stay was at the Po Lin Monastery. Yes, you can actually stay up there near the monastery at the SG Davis Hostel. I think that would have been an amazing experience, but I didn’t know about it in advance. Next time though, definitely.
Don’t Miss Out on Visiting Lantau Island, Hong Kong!
There are so many things to do in Hong Kong, but during your visit do not miss Lantau Island! It is a wonderful, and quick escape from the big city, and you are able to connect with nature and the culture. If you have time, I recommend staying out on the island for a couple days to experience it all. I cannot wait to return!
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