In love with Tai O: A Poetic Fishing Village Guarded by Mountains

Following the Tian Tan – the world’s second largest outdoor, bronze Buddha, we took a bus to visit the infamous Tai O fishing village. We were worried that we would be having to wade through more hordes of tourist, especially after we were warned that the village was becoming more and more accustomed to visitors.

However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that many parts of Tai O felt authentic. There was even an eeriness to the whole place brought by its foreboding landscape and its stilt houses, putting in every bit of effort to stand mighty and tall, like its mountainous terrain. It was exactly what we needed after a crowded pilgrimage to Tian Tan.

We first walked through the village itself which had many stores selling cuttlefish balls as well as shrimp paste, a speciality of the place.

But most of all, you will see boxes upon boxes of dried goods, notably fish and shellfish of all shapes and sizes.

Even their trinkets are dried fish.

It was almost strange NOT to see a shop selling dried fish. We came across the occasional grocery or souvenir shop, but they were definitely outnumbered.

Once we were done from all the dried fish and all the fish balls, we walked towards the shore. The sea was anything but inviting but the sheer mysticism of the place really spoke to my soul.


We found more surprises along the way, like these salted, dried egg yolks and this suspicious looking cat.

We finally embarked towards a viewing point and it was truly spectacular.

That is, until I made the mistake of continuing down a rough path, which eventually turned into a very slippery, steep slope. One word of advice, leave your block heels behind for this one. But we made it to the bottom, unscathed (just very sweaty with nerves). Horray!

In Tai O village, you’ll have an opportunity to catch a rare sight of pink dolphins. We didn’t have the time to head out so we can’t advise on that, but I bet they’re a wonderful thing to sight! Also, whilst we didn’t buy any dried food, I’ve read that it may be overpriced.

Other than that, take a hike (in the best sense possible)!

Our Pilgrimage to the World’s Second Largest, Outdoor Bronze Buddha

I’ve heard a lot about the rivalry between Hong Kong and Singapore: both are modern cities, both share cultural attributes and both have an affinity towards nature.

Hong Kong definitely has some natural wonders, being located on mountainous terrain. I was pretty excited to see how such a modern city interacted with its natural landscape. So the first activity we did was to take the cable car all the way to Ngong Ping (Lantau Island) to encounter the second largest, outdoor bronze Buddha in the world: Tian Tan. Our excitement was marred by the fact that we waited TWO hours to get onto the cable car, partly because we didn’t pre-book tickets, but also because it takes a while to load 8 people into each arriving cable car. The view was spectacular though, and you could even feel sorry for the poor souls who chose to hike all the way! Kidding, I’d be up for that next time!

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Once we got to Ngong Ping, we were slightly disappointed with how touristic the whole affair was. Tian Tan being so sacred, we would have expected more of a sombre and meditative ambience. Sadly, it felt more like a theme park for us. Nevertheless, Tian Tan stood mightily tall, commanding the landscape with all the patience he could muster.

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Once we were done wading through other tourists like ourselves, we visited the beautiful Po Lin Monastery. I don’t remember ever seeing such intricate temple details and the colours are so vivid that it reminds you how sobering even the most lavish Catholic churches are.

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On the way back, don’t forget to pass by the smaller temples and the GIGANTIC incense sticks.

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Once we were done, we found a convenient bus stop just before the site’s exit, which took us to Tai O Fishing Village. More on that next time!!