One of the delights of Hong Kong with kids is that there are so many beautiful islands to explore just a hop, skip and a jump away. But it can be hard to know where to head with so much choice – especially with the little ones in tow. So we’ve asked the experts in all things Hong Kong and kids, Sassy Mama, for their top picks for super island adventures at Lantau, family style. Here’s what they told suitcases&strollers.
A gorgeous island twice the size of Hong Kong island, Lantau makes for an ideal day trip from Hong Kong with kids given it has just so much to offer: a giant Buddha, monasteries, temples, a traditional stilt-house fishing village, sandy beaches, plus plenty of shops and restaurants – and beautiful scenery to boot. Oh, and there’s also a little place called Disneyland there too.
If you haven’t been out to see Mickey and friends in a while, we think it might be time to pay ’em a visit at Hong Kong Disneyland. While the new stuff is worth checking out (Toy Story Land opened just last year – and Grizzly Gulch is due to open at the end of July), did you know Disneyland offers way more than “just” a theme park? In fact, there are loads of great recreational spots to explore. One of our faves is Inspiration Lake where you can rent pedal boats and surrey bikes (fun!). And the nearby Arboretum is a perfect spot for a family picnic. Get more info on these fun "alternative" Disneyland offerings from the website. [For more on the other theme parks in Hong Kong, see the suitcases&strollers story Theme Parks In Asia.]
One of the top family beaches in Hong Kong, Pui O is known for its calm, clean water and shallow surf. Beyond the gorgeous backdrop and mini holiday feel typical of Lantau beaches, another reason to hit up Pui O is Ooh La La, an alfresco restaurant with tasty smoothies and burgers for the kids – and jugs of sangria for you. And if you want to take the adventure vibe up a notch, why not camp the night at Ooh La La – they’ll supply all the gear you need.
Home of the Tian Tan “Big Buddha” (the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha statue), Ngong Ping is one of the most popular destinations in Hong Kong. Climb the 268 steps to the lower tier of the podium, visit the site’s small museum inside the statue, and tuck into a yummy vegetarian meal at the Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant (which is included in your museum fee, by the way). And of course your trip isn’t complete without a breathtaking ride in the Ngong Ping Cable Car.
Located on Lantau’s north coast, Tung Chung’s historic forts offer tales of pirates and battles dating all the way back to the Qing dynasty. Pay a visit to the Tung Chung Fort – and time site-seeing with the Hong Kong Dolphinwatch pink dolphin tour.
The quaint fishing village of Tai O on the island’s west coast has long been known for its traditional stilt houses and today this is one of the few places where you can still see them in Hong Kong. Don’t miss the Tai O Market, a visual treat that is sure to send vivid imaginations into overdrive – and be sure to bring home some of the locally produced shrimp paste and salted fish for a unique culinary experience.
It really depends on which part of the island you’re planning to visit, but one of the most common ways to get to Lantau is the ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo. Once you’re there, Lantau has an extensive transportation network all of its own. And of course Disney has its own special line on the MTR – the special mouse-shaped cars are a hoot.
By Sassy Mama
To read more about Hong Kong's islands go to the suitcases&strollers stories Hong Kong Islands 1: Po Toi, Cheung Chau & Peng Chau and Hong Kong Islands 3: Lamma