Often termed as the lungs of Hong Kong, the Lantu Island provides everything you need for your relaxation in Hong Kong including long sandy beach, shopping malls and shopping outlets, Buddhists architectures and more. This is the largest island in Hong Kong near the Pearl River. Earlier a fishing village, Lantau has turned into a new look with different lucrative infrastructures. The Lantau peak is the highest point of the island with the height of 934 meters.
History of Lantau Island, Hong Kong:
The Lantau Island, once a hub of smugglers and pirates, has been named after a local name – Lantau Peak that literally means ‘Rotten Head’. The island has some royal histories related to the 12th centuries and often placed in navigation maps as an important South China Sea route. It also served as a British trading post during the colonization. Moreover, the island contained early human relics under its soil that has been found recently. Local islanders, during the 16th century, were killed for illegal salt production on the island.
The Lantau has been developed recently with massive infrastructures like Hong Kong International Airport, Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360, but previously it was a fishing village. It was among the first trading settlements of the Europeans in the 1510s till the Portuguese left the island after a defeat to Chinese troop in 1517s. There are several mountains in the island and Lantau Peak is the highest among them (3,064 feet). The island is consisted of 147.16 square kilometers of lands and the largest one in Hong Kong. Due to the abundance of forests, it is often termed as the lungs of Hong Kong, and the parks cover over half of the entire area. The population density is comparatively low in the island and the settlements are spread across the island.
After completion of the Hong Kong International Airport in 1998, economic development started growing in the island and also the high-rising buildings were built adjacent to the airport for different purposes. Currently 14,000 people of different nations are living in the island. There are six prisons available too in the island.
Travel Guide information of Lantau Island, Hong Kong:
Regarding your trip to Lantau, you can use land, or water transportation service. You can use MTR, ferry or taxi service to reach the island. For water transport, you can use ferry service provided by New World First Ferry, and the journey depends on vessel type and takes not more than 30 to 45 minutes. There are also some inter-island scheduled ferries are also available, commonly known as askai-tos. You can also take traditional water taxies as well. Besides, you can use the 20-minutes cableway to reach the island.
Some Tips when you visit on Lantau Island, Hong Kong:
There are three-colored taxies found in Hong Kong and if you want to reach Lantau, take the Blue one. Peep on the vegetarian restaurants for some extraordinary and fresh vegetable dishes during your travel on the island. Do not forget to use walking shoes during the hike in the parks and forests. You can have the traditional salted fish and Chinese foods in the north-west side of the island.
Culture & Customs of Lantau Island, Hong Kong:
The largest bronze Buddha statue is located in the fascinating fishing town – Lantau, and a group of Roman Catholic monks live in the east cost of the island. Disneyland is a famous travelling spot in Lantau Island. The national park covers about 50 per cent space of the island with different types of foliage. View of the island is remarkable and the tranquil atmosphere is adorable to the visitors as the larger the island, the fewer the population. Local snacks and foods are sold in stores next to bus stop or railway station and visitors gather at the shops for the foods.
Transport/ Getting Around in Lantau Island, Hong Kong:
Get a Taxi
You could also quite easily take a taxi. Judging by my fare from the airport (which is now part of Lantau) I can guess it would be around 45 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui area and cost around $350HK.
Hire a car
Another option would be to hire a car and drive from the mainland across. If you’re confident with driving abroad (if you are coming from the UK they drive on the left too so that a bit easier) then this would be a great option. Next time I go I hope to do this, then I can stop off at all the beaches and viewpoints and have a day on a more relaxed schedule.
The Island is the largest of the Hong Kong Islands and is accessible via the very easy to navigate MTR. From my hotel, the Best Grand Western in Tsim Sha Tsui, I could have easily taken the MTR from Jordan Station, changing at Lai King, then onto Tung Chung station (Lantau Islands MTR stop) but instead I decided to walk to West Kowloon. My concierge exclaimed in horror that it was at least a thirty minute walk (how would I cope?!) but I wanted to see as much of the city as possible and West Kowloon station offered a direct MTR so this was an easy decision for me. I stopped to eat some terrible eggs and sipped some terrible tea en route and gazed at the never ending construction along my journey. Like London there seems to always be new space found to build new things.
I soon reached the station, purchased my Octopus card (the simplest way to get around) and headed towards my train. The MTR from West Kowloon took about 25 minutes with the final leg taking you above ground so you can gaze out of the window as you cross the Islands and glide alongside the open water.
If you’re not taking the MTR then the ferry would be a another way to get there, but do look into this carefully and make sure you have enough time. The ferries go from from Central on Hong Kong Island (so if you’re staying on the mainland you can get a Star ferry across first) to Discovery Bay on Lantau. I didn’t do this route myself but from what I can see to get to Ngong Ping, Tai O or Mui Wo (unless you fancy a hike) you will need to get across to Chung Tung (where the MTR comes in) and then go on from there.