Family Trip to Lantau Island

 

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family

For traveling families that visit Hong Kong, taking a day trip to Hong Kong’s largest outlying island, Lantau is recommended. Apart from Disneyland Hong Kong, the island Lantau is famous for its untouched nature, luscious green valleys, and the giant outdoor Buddha statue.

This island of fishing people, Hong Kong’s largest, has grown into a tourist hub with the Tung Chung New Town, Lantau Link, Ngong Ping 360, and Hong Kong International Airport.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family shaolin

Getting There

To get to Lantau from Hong Kong, the best and fastest method is to take the Tung Chung metro line to the island. Subways in China are well organized, clearly labeled and color coordinated so one shouldn’t feel any anxiety if this is their first time traveling. If worst comes to worst travelers can always try to ask someone for help.

Transportation

There are plenty of interesting ways to get around while in Lantau. We felt it would be pertinent to list some of these methods here, both for water and land transportation.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family skyline

Ferry in Discovery Bay and Water Taxi

Tourists can use the ferry services provided by New World First Ferry to get around Lantau. This ferry service runs between Mu Wo and Central. It takes about 30 to 50 minutes to make a trip.

Travelers can also enjoy a 24-hour ferry service operated by HKR Internation Limited. These ferries run between Pier 3 in Central and Discovery Bay, with a 25 minute travel time.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family sky

One can also utilize inter-island ferry services on a Kai-to. A kai-to is a small ferry that links the smaller islands and the mainland.

Travelers who are looking for something a little different can use a traditional water taxi aka the walla walla. These water taxis typically depart from Cheung Chau Island.

Taxis

It is important for travelers to know the three types of taxis available in Hong Kong. The taxis are color coded according to their service areas. The red taxis travel the urban areas. The green taxis service the New Territories. Finally, all Lantau Island taxis are blue. These blue taxis take travelers anywhere on Lantau Island as well as to the Hong Kong Airport and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family ocean

New Lantau Bus 

For bus services, the New Lantau Bus provides island transportation. There are many bus routes, nearly all of which end at Mui Wo pier and Tung Chung.  Depending on the destination, fares can range from three dollars to forty-three dollars.

Cable Car

Travelers seeking a relaxing transportation method can enjoy a cable car. One such cable car is the Ngong Ping 360, a gondola lift operated by the MTR. This cable car runs over Tung Chung Bay between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping. The Cable Car now offers Crystal Cabins with see-through floors.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family cable

Permits for Dangerous Roads

Lantau Island has many dangerous roads, particular in the southern areas. Those with vehicles need a temporary permit to travel these roads. These have a strict use time limit of eight am – seven pm, and are only available on the weekdays.

What to See

Ngong Ping Plateau

The Ngong Ping Plateau is a great stop with access to a lot of interesting sights. Visitors can find the Po Lin Monastery here and enjoy its famous vegetarian restaurant, the Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant. The best way to get there is to take the Ngong Ping 360 from Tung Chung.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family tree

Once travelers get off the cable car, they can explore the tourist street in Ngong Ping Village. Here, visitors can enjoy some familiar favorites like Starbucks before heading out to explore.

Giant Buddha

This 34-meter tall statue is a sight to behold on the island. The Giant Buddha, also known as the Tian Tan Buddha, is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. Interestingly, this statue is the only one of the five that faces north, while all other others face south. The statue sits on a lotus, which sits on a three-platform altar, and is surrounded by six bronze statues offering gifts to the Buddha, called “The Offering of the Six Devas,” which symbolize the Six Perfections.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family buddha

Travelers can explore the three floors under the statues. These levels, called the Halls of the Universe, of Benevolent Merit, and of Remembrance, feature relics. One of these relics is the supposed cremated remains of Gautama Buddha, which can only bee seen by those who purchase an offering for the Buddha.

To see the Buddha up close, travelers need to climb 268 steps or drive up the winding road for the disabled. The journey is well worth it as travelers can get fantastic views of the island.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family statue

Tai O

Tai O is a fishing town in the northwest part of Lantau Island. This place features stilt houses or homes on the water that tourists come from all over the world to see. Tai O is a historic town, existing for over three centuries, and one can see living history with the townsfolk’s use of traditional fishing boats, though fishing is dying out in the area. Travelers can move through the town’s narrow footpaths and alleyways and experience the interconnected community of the area.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family sea

Visitors can try salted fish, a traditional Chinese dish, or shrimp paste. Adventurous travelers can try the local dried seafood, like fish skin or stomachs. They can also explore the Tai O Market and bring back a souvenir. Tai O is mostly a relaxing, tranquil place where travelers can rest after a long day or between other locations of interest.

For a fee, some residents can take groups out on boats for a sea trip. Travelers can see rare Chinese white dolphins and other aspects of sea life.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family food

Temples

Tai O is home to several temples dedicated to various gods and figures. While in Tai O, we saw two of these temples, the Kwan Tai Temple and the Hung Shing Temple.

The Kwan Tai Temple is a place of worship for the locals of the island. Built during the Ming Dynasty in 1488, this temple is in the center of the village of Tai O. The temple is elaborately decorated, dedicated to the god Kwan Tai, of War and Righteousness.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family red

Hung Shing Temple was built in 1746 by villagers. Many locals in Tai O worship sea gods, especially since Tai O is based on the water, and Hung Shing is dedicated to a sea god.

Shaolin Kung Fu Performances

Shaolin Kung Fu is one of the oldest styles of Chinese Martial Arts. It was first practiced in the Buddhist Shaolin Temple. When we visited, we saw an incredible Shaolin performance, and we have a video of it at the end of this article.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family perform

Other Attractions

Lantau Trail

Travelers looking to enjoy the scenery can enjoy one of Lantau’s many national parks and trails. The most famous of these is Lantau Trail, featuring natural stone steps and dense woodland. 

Tung Chung Fort

History buffs will love visiting Tung Chung Fort. This fort, built in 1817, helped hold back the opium trade and defend against pirates. In WWII, the Japanese army occupied this fort, and in 1979 it was listed as a historical monument of Hong Kong. Visitors can see its six old cannons.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family egg

Trappist Haven Monastery (Our Lady of Joy Abbey)

Roman Catholic monks live in the Trappist Haven Monastery, officially known as Our Lady of Joy Abbey, at Tai Shu Hang to this day. The Trappist congregation was established in the nineteenth century and is still going strong. This monastery is known for its Trappist Milk, though the factor is today location at Castle Peak, Yuen Long. Visitors can see free roaming feral cattle, the descendants of the animals released after the onsite dairy farm closed.

Spending The Day In Lantau with Family ship

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Hong Kong is in a sub-tropical climate, which is hot and frequently humid. We suggest that parents pack plenty of light clothes that can easily be layered as well as comfortable walking shoes and umbrellas.
  • Many of Lantau’s must-see locations are outdoors, so we suggest parents pack sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, and plenty of water.
  • Parents of kids with temperature sensitivities should visit during the cooler seasons.
  • Many of these attractions have tours. We suggest signing up for these and purchasing tickets ahead of time.
  • The Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant is cheap, and kids can often eat for free. The bathrooms are out the back of the restaurant.

10 Family Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Hong Kong is a diverse city with many things to do for the entire family. When planning a trip, it can be difficult to narrow down your itinerary while still getting the most out of the visit. If you’re planning on visiting Hong Kong with children, here’s a list of family-friendly Hong Kong Activities.

1. Attend the Symphony of Lights

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Every night at 8 pm, a short light and music show takes place in the harbor area. You can even see fireworks on special occasions such as Chinese New Year and Christmas. We found the space near Tsim Tsa Tsui waterfront to be an excellent place to watch the entire show for free. Travelers will also want to bring a jacket or sweater with them because the harbor can be quite chilly at night.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • I highly recommended bringing along ear plugs for noise sensitive individuals because the audio portion of the show can be quite loud.
  • Children that have difficulty standing for extended periods of time may benefit from having access to a folding chair or blanket where they can sit down if they need to do so.
  • There is usually a large crowd out to watch the show and people come early to grab the best spots.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

2. Ride the Mid-level Escalators

Although escalators aren’t normally what one thinks of as a travel destination, a visit to this place is more than justified. The Guinness Book of World Records has titled this attraction ‘the longest outdoor covered escalator system’ in the world. The entire complex consists of 20 escalators and three moving sidewalks, making the whole structure much longer than any slide at an amusement park.

Traversing the area takes about twenty minutes, but it will go much faster if the kids in your party decide to run up the escalators like ours did. Prospective visitors should be aware that the escalators are open every day between 6 am and midnight, but they change from going uphill at 10 am to going downhill at 10:30 pm.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • We found the area to be the perfect place for our kids to use up some excess energy by running around.
  • The escalators are a good place to investigate the local stores or dine on reasonably priced cuisine.
  • The rush hour here can be extremely crowded and is best avoided altogether. After all, the crush of people can be overwhelming to ordinary people, more so for those with autism.

3. Shop at the Temple Street Night Market 

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

This pedestrian only street is home to over 100 different merchants, all of whom open their shops around 2 pm. Shoppers can visit a wide array of establishments including snack vendors, old school fortunetellers, and Chinese medical clinics that use time-honored practices to treat their patients. Sporadic opera performances often take place through the market, providing visitors with entertainment while they wander around. Here you can find products such as watches and cell phones as well as accessories and faux designer clothes.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Temple Market is a good place for kids with autism to practice their negotiation skills as there is lots of bargaining at this spot.
  • If the child in question doesn’t mind crowds, he or she might enjoy the impressive opera performances that take place here on a regular basis.
  • Individuals who become claustrophobic in crowded environments would probably prefer to visit the traditional Chinese apothecary stalls, which are sure to delight their senses.
  • Travelers should arrive as early as possible to avoid the hordes of tourists and locals that descend upon the market around 5 pm.

4. Visit Lantau Island

Lantau Island is a popular day trip from Hong Kong. Travelers often come here to see the Tian Tan Buddha, a statue standing at the height of 34 meters that took over a decade to complete. Although the artwork itself is impressive, the mountainous scenery of the Ngong Ping plateau serves as a lovely backdrop that adds to the Buddha’s overall appeal. Hiking up the long staircase is one way to get to the statue’s base, but there are taxis and buses provided for travelers that are less athletically inclined. Another good stop in the area is the Po Lin Monastery, where lavishly decorated temples and several immaculately groomed gardens fill the grounds.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Easily reached by bus from Ngong Ping, the picturesque fishing village of Tai O is another island attraction worth visiting. Houses that sit high above the ground on stilts provide travelers with excellent photographic opportunities and the live seafood market in town is known for its tasty culinary offerings. Many residents also sell boat rides to travelers who want to see the local colony of Chinese white dolphins.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The Ngong Ping 360 cable cars that depart from the Tung Chung Station are the quickest and most convenient way to get to Lantau Island. The carriages have glass walls that provide travelers with spectacular views of the surrounding areas.
  • It will take roughly half an hour to get from the station to Ngong Ping.
  • Ticket prices are currently at HK $135 ($17.42 USD) for a round trip ticket or HK $200 ($25.81 USD) for the unlimited Sky-Land-Sea Pass that covers a full day’s transport on the cable cars as well as the local buses and ferries.

5. Stop by the Hong Kong Zoological Park and Botanic Gardens

Dating back to 1871, this spot is home to over 1,700 species of flora and fauna. Most of the garden’s plants are native to the subtropical and tropical parts of the world, but there are some rare specimens in the Botanic Gardens, such as the dawn redwood trees. Although the park doesn’t have any large or exotic animals, kids will still find enough healthy and happy wildlife onsite to hold their interest. Plenty of monkeys, turtles, snakes, and birds make their home here. Since the site is free and open to the public, there’s no reason not to stop by and check it out. Hours are 6 am to 10 pm.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Although Hong Kong is an exceptionally clean city, be sure to carry a package of hand wipes and a water bottle with you at all times

6. See the Tsing Ma Bridge

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Possibly one of the century’s most important construction projects, the Tsing Ma suspension bridge is certainly the world’s longest. It was opened in 1997 to provide a vital link between the International Airport on Lantau Island and the city of Hong Kong. The structure has a total of ten different traffic lanes. Two of these are reserved for trains, and the other six are for cars. Part of the bridge is open to the sky, but there is a section that is enclosed. During periods of intense weather, the Tsing Ma Bridge may close down temporarily. However, it is possible for airport passengers to get from one side of the city to the other using the train. Some road traffic may also be permitted to cross at such times.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Travelers that want to observe the bridge from a distance should stop by the nearby Visitors’ Center on Tsing Yi Street or the Lantau Link View Point for the best panoramas.

7. Have a meal in a floating restaurant

Floating restaurants can be found all over the world. These establishments are usually built on seagoing vessels that are no longer functional or repurposed barges. Businesses of this style became especially popular in Hong Kong in the decades after the Second World War. Around that time, a wide variety of merchants flourished in the marine area known as the Typhoon Shelter. This space later had to be abandoned due to pollution problems. It has since been reclaimed, and old residents are returning, bringing their traditions along with them. One noteworthy old-school establishment in the area is Shaun Kee Typhoon Shelter.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

At this floating restaurant, customers sit on the deck of a small boat in the harbor. Food is brought from the adjacent galley ship. Fresh seafood and classic Cantonese cuisine make up most of the menu here, with the spicy crab being the house specialty. Most diners have reported that their meal was quite tasty, but the eatery’s unique ambiance was the main attraction. Yelp reviewer Bernard Y. reports that it is a good idea to place your dinner order before arriving because of availability. Travelers who love a good vintage will need to bring their own wine because it isn’t on the menu. Even so, the cost for dining here generally runs around $50 a person. However, the prices can be significantly higher depending on how many people are in your party and what you order.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Those coming here should be aware that the only bathroom facilities on board are squat toilets. Therefore, it might be a good idea to use the bathroom before leaving the hotel.

8. Go on a harbor cruise

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

City visitors have numerous options for cruising around Victoria Harbor. Those who are interested in history can even travel across the waters in an authentic Chinese junk, the Duk Ling. These unforgettable 45 minute tours cost around HK $320 ($41.27 USD) for adults and $220 ($28.38 USD) for kids. Travelers who appreciate the historical aspect of the Duk Ling but have budgetary concerns might instead opt for a voyage on the replica junk, the Aqua Luna. This vessel operates a daily shuttle service that runs between 5 different destinations from noon to 5 pm. Passengers are welcome to get on and off the boat at their leisure. This service costs HK $130 for adults ($17.77 USD) and HK $90 ($11.61 USD) for kids that are between the ages of 7 and 11. However, the most affordable cruising option is the historic Star Ferry, which has received a Certificate of Excellence from the folks at Trip Advisor.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Call ahead and verify that the vessel you’re boarding has lifejackets if your child can’t swim, otherwise bring your own.

9. Check out the Hong Kong History Museum

With low admission prices and interesting exhibits, there’s no reason not to stop by this museum. This museum shows how Hong Kong was built literally from the ground up. Children will be fascinated by the many interactive displays at the site. The building is also air conditioned, which is an especially nice feature during the hot and humid summer months. The museum hours generally run from 10 am to 6 pm, but they do stay open an extra hour on Sundays.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Travelers that are planning to come here should be aware this establishment is closed on Tuesdays and offers free admission on Wednesdays.
  • The nearest stop for those arriving by public transportation is the Jordan MTR station.

10. Get in on the action at Ocean Park

Though it is a more expensive attraction, Ocean Park is an incredibly child-friendly destination. There are plenty of animals to see here such as sharks, pandas, polar bears, and koalas. The grounds even include a water park and numerous amusement park style rides that are sure to keep kids entertained. Ocean Park is usually open from 10 am to 10 pm. Entry tickets currently cost HK $345 ($44.50 USD) for adults and $173 (22.31 USD) for children 3 to 12.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Visitors will need to bring along sturdy walking shoes and a change of clothes in case they get drenched on the water rides. ]
  • Visitors may want to carry a cooler full of their favorite beverages and snacks so that they don’t have to deal with the high prices found at the concessions stands.
  • It is best to come early to avoid the crowds that appear later in the day.

 

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