Tai O Village is a muddy version of Venice but it serves the same function for the locals. It’s a place where they can earn a living. This is a beautiful village with many untold households stories. You can either make a trip to Big Buddha, then to Tai O Village or make a trip to Tai O Village first then to Big Buddha.
1. From Tung Chung to Tai O Village: Get to MTR Tung Chung Station and take bus 11 to Tai O bus terminus (approximately 50 minutes ride); or
2. From Ngong Ping Village to Tai O Village: Get to MTR Tung Chung Station and take Exit B to take Ngong Ping Cable Car to Ngong Ping Village (approximately 25 minutes). From Ngong Ping Village, take bus 21 to Tai O terminus (approximately 20 minutes).
Once we arrived at Tai O Village, we were welcomed with a long pink pier. The long pier seems to be endless. In fact, it is a way back home for some locals as it leads to a housing area.
This is a place where Jackie Chan’s movie – “Skiptrace” was filmed. To me, Tai O Village is a total contrast to the cities in Hong Kong. There is no skyrise building but plenty of stilts houses built. Throughout the years, Tai O has become a place where Tanka people (boat people) live their life. These people are the ethnic subgroup in Southern China.
Despite its picturesque surrounding, Tai O Village doesn’t appear to me as a fairytale setting. The blistering heat doesn’t hinder the locals to carry on with their daily activities. The village was filled with tourists and locals when we first arrived.
Tai O was one of the most prosperous fishing ports in Hong Kong due to its strategic location. It continued its glory for more than 200 years. Gradually, the young generation started to move out from the village and thus it led to a shrinking fishing industry.
Today, Tai O Village remains as the home of the old folks. However, the market remains vibrant as the old folks are competing with time to earn a living. Entering to the market, we were being bombarded with the funky smell. Basically, the market was filled with dried seafood and shrimp paste. We walked around the market under the hot sun and we felt our nose had gone numb smelling the dried fish for about an hour.
Strolling along the alley, we were led to the traditional Stilt Houses. From far, the Stilt Houses look like a conglomerate of houses raised on piles over the surface of the soil in order to avoid flooding. The wall of some Stilt Houses has turned rusty.
We walked into the heart of Tai O Village and there is a cable-stayed bridge known as “Sun Ki Bridge“. I found Sun Ki Bridge is easily noticeable as it’s painted with striking red. Thus, it totally stands out from the view. Sun Ki Bridge was completed in 1979 to resolve the inconvenience faced by the locals as the people needed to punt across the river.
I really enjoyed Tai O Village. The only downside was the warm weather (36-degree Celcius). We skipped a number of interesting things. If you have the chance, taking a boat ride to see dolphins at Tai O Village. Tips: There is a map of Tai O Village at the Tai O terminus. It basically shows the location of the tourist spots at Tai O Village. It’s good to take a picture of the map before start exploring the village.