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tour to lantau island recommendation

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My husband is Hong Kong on business this week, he has Saturday off before flying home, we have been there before so have done the Peak, Stanley Markets etc, haven't been to Lantau Island which I understand is good. He won't venture very far by himself but I thought a tour would be a good idea, can anyone suggest a good company that we could book through to pick him up and bring him back to Causeway Bay. Thanks

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    I would not be overly enthusiastic about an organized tour, as I think these would tend to be quite canned. But see something like http://www.discoverhongkong.com/usa/local-tours/outlying-new-lantau-island.html for some ideas. The Gray Line tour mentioned on that site include stops at a “jewelry factory” and a “tea show”, both of which will just be stops at shops where he will be heavily encouraged to buy things.

    Lantau is so easy to do on one’s own. I assume he wants to see the Big Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery, which is the main tourist attraction on the island. For that, all he has to do is take the subway to Tung Chung. At that point he can decide whether he wants to take the cable car up, take the bus or even walk.

    If he thinks he might be interested in the cable car, on a Saturday he may want to make a booking. See http://www.np360.com.hk/html/eng/front/index.asp. (I would recommend the “crystal cabin” as this will allow you to jump most of the line for the cable car. A reservation allows you to skip the line for tickets, but there is then a line for the cars themselves, which can be just as long as the line for tickets.) Otherwise, from the MTR stop at Tung Chung, he can just takes the #23 bus up to the Buddha (a very scenic ride). There is the kind of average vegetarian meal on offer at the monastery, or he can walk to Ngong Ping “village” and have options like Starbucks or other restaurants. After he has seen the Buddha, he can take the #21 bus to Tai O fishing village, or go to one of the beach areas for a stroll or have lunch someplace like the Stoep. Then head back to Tung Chung and take the subway back to town.

    Lantau is also excellent for walks and hiking. There are walks up (or down) and around the Buddha, and walks in other parts of the island. There is walk from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo (or vice versa) which would include a stop at a Catholic monastery. He can also climb Lantau Peak (this is quite strenuous). Most of these could be combined with a trip to the Buddha first or last, although some walks are quite long and doing both can make for a long day. I have descriptions of most of the major walks on Lantau, if you want to send me an e-mail at ciceronehongkong@live.hk and give me an idea of his hiking level and interests, I can provide details and some photos of walks.

    If he wants to have a nice lunch or just a beer on the beach, he can try the Stoep:

    The Stoep
    32 Lower Cheung Sha Village
    Tel: 2980-2699

    To get to Lower Cheng Sha Village when coming by bus from the Buddha, you will have come all the way down the mountainside, past the reservoir on the left. You will go through the village of Tung Fuk, which is a small gaggle of 3-4 story apartment buildings. You will start passing beaches on the right for a few miles and a one or two condo complexes on the left. You will then pass some one-storey concrete bungalows with a lawn on your left which is the police station, and just past this a very small firehouse on your left (small white garage with fire trucks). Get off at the next stop after the firehouse, which is Lower Cheng Sha Village (the bus driver may not speak English, other passengers may be able to help, the stop in Chinese is 長沙下村). Cross the street, walk back in the direction you just came for about 10 yards, and look for a road leading off to the left downhill, take this and follow it down to the water.

    He could also consider going places on Hong Kong Island like Shek-O and Big Wave Bay, or the Museum of Coastal Defense in Sai Ho Wan at the far eastern end of the island. See http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Coastal/en/index.php. It’s in a lovely setting and is interesting (and I have zero interest in naval history). There are two temples nearby, and you can walk in a few minutes along the waterfront to the Sai Wan Ho area which has some nice western restaurant with outdoor space along the waterfront. From the Sai Wan Ho area he can take the ferry across the harbour to Lei Yue Mun and wander that very ramshackle fishing town, including a visit to the Tin Hau temple out on the water (they have a resident ghost). Or he can take a small wooden kaido ferry to Tung Lung Island, this is, IMO, one of the most scenic ferry rides in Hong Kong (although we are currently having some air pollution issues, which can affect views). The island is basically uninhabited except for a small village, and offers good short walks which are very scenic. Kaido schedules can be found at http://www.td.gov.hk/home/index.htm, click on “Passengers” then “Ferries” then “Services Details of Regular Kaito Ferry Services”. (These are not always completely up to date, however, so have the hotel call to confirm.)

    Although you say he has been to Stanley, the Aqua Luna junk does a sailing there on Saturdays which he might enjoy, see http://www.aqua.com.hk/#/eng/global/hongKong/aquaLuna/dayCruises/stanley. I assume when you say he has been to Stanley that includes all areas like the two temples, the main town beach and the WWII prison/cemetery. If he has not been to these areas, then another trip to Stanley may be worthwhile. (It is of course quite possible to walk to Stanley as well, which might be another option which would interest him.)

    The weather for Saturday is forecast to have sunny intervals; however in my experience these forecasts are completely unreliable except for the forecast about 24-hours ahead of time. Temps should be nice, not cold and not too hot, although it is becoming more humid.

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