The outlying islands of Hong Kong are an amazing contrast to the busy life of Hong Kong. The inhabited islands offer the easiest opportunity to see some of rural Chinese life. These islands are connected by a short ferry ride from the main island and are good day excursions from Hong Kong.
Lantau Island is perhaps most famous internationally for being the home of Hong Kong International Airport. But it’s also well known among locals for its unspoilt countryside, lush green valleys and giant outdoor Buddha statue.
The Big Buddha & Po Lin Monastery:
The Bronze statue of Buddha is one of the largest outdoor Buddha statues in the world. Also known as Tian Tan, this statue sits 34 meters high, atop the Ngong Ping Plateau, facing north to look over the chinese people. The 268-step staircase will bring you to the three-tier podium where it rests. The views from the podium are magnificent and you can go around in a 360 circle to enjoy the Island's beauty- the valleys and mountains and the islands and sea. Opposite the statue is the Po Lin Monastery which despite being a popular attraction to tourists, still maintains its essence and traditions and is well-frequented by loyals. The monastery is rich with colourful manifestations of Buddhist iconography and its pleasant garden is alive with birdsong and flowery scents.
Ngong Ping Cable Car ride:
Your journey begins with a 25 minute cable car ride from Tung Chung. The Glass bottom cable car provides you with a beautiful view of the lush green mountains and the turquoise sea.
Ngong Ping Village:
Moving out from the cable car ride, you enter the Ngong Ping Village. The huge number of shops and eateries village offers a delightful shopping and dining experience.
Ngong Ping Piazza:
Ngong Ping Piazza which links Ngong Ping Village to the area’s spiritual and scenic attractions, including the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping 360 and Wisdom Path. It has four components called Pai Lau, Bodhi Path, Di Tan and Chinese Garden.
Further ahead of the Big Buddha, you can visit the Wisdom Path. The Path has 38 wooden steles on which a 260 word ancient prayer is inscribed on it. The prayers are from the centuries-old Heart Sutra; one of the world’s best-known prayers revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike. Unfortunately, there is no translation, but you can enjoy the beauty of this place. Wisdom Path also offers soothing eyefuls of the South China Sea.
The park will take you to a magical journey through four themed lands named Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland giving you an opportunity to make great memories. This is theme park is very famous among the kids and they will just love their favorite cartoon characters come alive. The famous Mickey Mouse and other familiar Disney friends with classic sceneries help you escape from the real world. It even features two resorts hotel and a lake recreation centre. So the kids can even spend a night in one of their favorite characters theme room.
Pink Dolphin watching cruise:
The Pearl River Delta, between Hong Kong and Macau, is home to around a thousand Indo-pacific Humpback dolphins, Sousa chinensis. For some unknown reason, populations of this species along the Chinese coast are bright pink. Take a boat ride through the traditional houses on stilt and get a chance to watch the Pink Dolphins.
Take a ferry from Central’s Pier 4 to quaint Lamma Island. Your tiny sailors will love this ride.
The traditional Fishing Village will give you the chance to experience what life might have been like on the island when the industry thrived here. The village comprises an authentic fishing junk, traditional dragon boats, feeding rafts, exhibition hall, themed folklore booths, fishing rafts and dwellings. There is an opportunity to witness and participate in various activities including water bombing and net throwing, sail raising and “funny” hookless fishing.
Relax at Hung Shing Yeh Beach:
A 30 minute walk from the ferry point, Hung Shing Beach is the most popular beach on Lama Island. The beach is protected by a shark net and has toilets, showers and changing rooms. There is a beach café, barbecue area, changing rooms, showers and toilets. The beach becomes busy during weekends and holidays.
Trek around the Island:
If you are amongst the more active ones you can take a short trek around the island. Rustic old villages and pleasant coastal scenery are what you’ll find on this trail, which takes around 2.5 hours to complete and is well signposted. Below are the places you will cross during your trek.
Villages during the trek: You will cross Yung Shue Yung Shue Wan, the fishing village and the largest town on the island. It has a small, congested Main Street with a number of restaurants, local shops and fruit and vegetables stands, known as "wet markets.
Kamikaze caves: Built by the Japanese, these caves near Sok Kwu Wan were apparently built by the Japanese army to hide speedboats that could attack allied ships by surprise. You'll pass the caves when entering Sok Kwu Wan from the south
Tin Hau Temple: Known as Goddess of the sea, Tin Hau is worshipped by fishermen or anyone who has anything to do with the sea. Even though temples that honour her are in abundance, the one on Lama Island is slightly different. Temple buffs will notice that the lions standing guard at its entrance are incongruously Western in appearance. Apparently, when the temple’s original Chinese-style lions were damaged in 1960, the mason hired to replace them specialised in Western-style stone lions. The reason was to show the East-meets-West culture of Lamma Island.
There is a Lama Island Family trail as well which is less difficult to walk that is suitable for a family.
Cheung Chau Island
Cheung Chau, from Central Pier 5, is also great for a day trip. Though small, the island has several things to do.
Mini Great Wall:
The Mini Great Wall, a misnomer though, provides scenic Coastal views. There are also a number of strangely shaped rocks sprinkled along this trail. In true Chinese tradition, the locals have given them aptly descriptive names, such as Human Head Rock and Vase Rock.
The island is famous for its annual Bun Festival to be taking place from 22- 26 May 2015. The island comes alive with the one-of-a-kind Bun Scrambling Competition and the remarkable Floating Colours Parade, which, traditionally, was held to ward off a plague. The islanders built an altar in front of the Pak Tai Temple and petitioned the god Pak Tai to drive off the evil spirits besieging the island, while parading statues of deities through the narrow lanes of their village.
The Cheung Po Tsai was a pirate, who commanded a large fleet that pillaged shipping in the Pearl River mouth. But althought he's supposed to have cached his booty in the cave - which isn't much more than a cleft in the rock - there's no evidence he did so. There’s nothing to see in there these days, but exploring the winding passages
Pak Tai Temple:
This temple is the focal point of the Bun festival. The temple is dedicated to the Taoist "Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven". This cultural gem contains gold-plated woodcraft dating from the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) and a Song Dynasty (960–1279) iron sword. The sculpted dragons adorning the roof are classic Chinese architectural features. The Pak Tai temple is also known as the temple with the most guarding lions. There are 4 in front the temple and more on top.
North Look out Pavillion:
The North Look out Pavillion is the highest point at Cheung Chau Island. This is further ahead of the Pak Tai Temple. You can see the turquoise waters below glistening in the sun light. The sunset from this point is very beautiful and worth a sight. The entire area lights up with orange and gold.