Charming Fishing Village – Tai-O

Much has been written, shared and generally recommended about Hong Kong sights and delights for family holidays so we will not go that way here. We will just summarize highlights of our vacation there in early December 2011, when we:-

  • ingested awe-inspiring Dim Sum and all manner of roasts including goose, duck and pig;
  • enjoyed our breezy Star Ferry crossing from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island in the evening;
  • had a squeezy, speedy ride on the Victoria Peak tram;
  • waited more than half an hour for the Ocean Park panda to make its appearance;
  • happily wandered around a traditional fishing village for a couple of hours.

Ocean Park Panda is not to be hurried … 

All attractions and destinations were easy to access and provided good family fun. Be prepared to queue though, for some places such as the tram rides up and down Victoria Peak. We had aspirations of taking the cable car ride from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping on Lantau Island but alas our gastronomia euphoria over Dim Sum delayed us by almost two hours.

When we got to Tung Chung, a little after 2.30pm, the queue had snaked past the bus terminal. We were recommended to take the bus to Tai O by the people at the information counter, which they said was an affordable and scenic route. What they omitted to mention was that this nearly two hour route, traversed hilly terrain and proved to be extremely vomit-inducing.

By the time we stumbled off the bus at Tai O, many of us made a bee-line for the toilets. For people prone to travel sickness, getting it all out of the system would make the situation much better. For those who can’t (like our family), walking around the embankment and taking deep gulps of sea air did the trick after a while.

After that, we were off to explore the rustic charms of this fishing village, which had preserved most of its traditional ways. The two commerce areas are found across the sea from each other and linked by a bridge. Both areas are characterized by seafood restaurants and stalls selling local produce, which line narrow lanes. Sandwiched in between these establishments are homes, from which the locals would peer out of occasionally to take stock of the outside crowds.

Th heritage museum in Tai O

The aroma of scallops, sausages, cuttlefish and fishballs slowly being grilled over charcoal at the many stalls, soon made us forget about the bus-ride and the fact that we had not finished digesting our Dim Sum lunch. Nothing could have made us happier than to be munching on the grilled foods while we explored the lanes. Other sites we came across were a Catholic Church and a park where we hung around for a while.

We wandered around for a good three hours before catching the bus back to Tung Chung. Too late we realised that it was going to be the same ride experience getting back as going there. Luckily we had a couple of plastic bags prepared in case all our ingested seafood decided to surface ….

Tai O – a great place to visit for half a day, away from the modern bustling crowds that we usually associate Hong Kong with. Just be mindful of the bus-ride for those who are prone to getting queasy on the road.

p/s. We stayed at the Royal Plaza Hotel Mongkok this time. Trip Advisor Review here.

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