TAI-O & MUI-WO
The hot and rainy season is coming to Hong Kong so we are trying to use our free time as best we can, anticipating many rainy weekends ahead of us during which time prospect of going outdoors will be horrendous. With this in mind, we dedicated to get out of the city no matter what the weather was like (it’s still cool enough to sightseeing) so Tai-O seemed like a good idea.
Although there are various ways of getting to Tai-O, we were in no particular rush so decided to head down to Pier 6, in Central, and take the boat over to Mui Wo from where we could hop on the number 1 bus to Tai-O.
There are fast and slow ferries to Mui Wo and we somehow managed to get to the pier just in time for the slow one (known as “ordinary”) in both directions today. As I said, we were in no particular rush so that suited us just fine. In any case, where else can you pay HK$ 21 (£1.65) for a 55 minute cruise? Ok it’s more like a ferry then a cruise, but still it is a boat trip and you are guaranteed not to hear any construction noise for a little while!! There was on offer a DeLuxe seat for HK$35 which would have offered us air-conditioning, but we decided it was lovely just to feel the salty breeze along the way and opted for the Ordinary class. As you can guess by now, we were enjoying an ordinary day.
Arriving in Mui Wo was a little revelation as we did not expect it to be as lively as it was. Lively might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I would definitely head out there as a final destination.
Other then the large Silvermine bay Beach , there is also a funky pub called the China Bear, an Italian, Turkish and obviously a number of Chinese Restaurants.
To the right of the pier is a covered seafood market/restaurant area where you can sit by the water and enjoy the sea air, good food and….silence. Only if you live in Hong Kong do you really appreciate the sound of silence. Helping achieve this silence is the fact that many people use bicycles around here. Overall it offers a nice, relaxing holiday feeling even on a cloudy day like today.
Many Hong Kong enthusiasts will tell you that here is where the most efficient public transportation system in the world can be found. Personally I am happy to say it is one of the most efficient, and as this efficiency extends to the islands, finding the bus to Tai-O was very simple. As simple as walking off the boat and onto the bus in fact. The bus times are linked to the ferry times so the wait is not that long. Or you can do what we did and “miss” the bus in favour of a drink at the China Bear.
After a half an hour journey the bus arrived in Tai-O and at first I wondered where the village was. You enter the old town and market through the buildings that surround the bus terminal and actually obscure the view of the town itself. Once you find the entrance, (just follow everyone else) a maze of tight streets with colourful market stalls opens up before you.
It is difficult for me to tell if the day we went was particularly busy as I am still getting accustomed to life in Asia where it always seems busy to me. Streets are almost always packed with people, so who really knows (or cares) if this was a particularly bad day. Tai-O is one of the best examples of an old fashioned fishing village with houses on stilts, so it is bound to be a popular destination for visitors all year round.
We spent most of the day just wondering around, taking pictures and having lunch at the Fook Moon Lam restaurant. Was it better or worse than any of the other local restaurants we’ve been to in HK?. I cannot really say that is was better or worse. By that I mean that it was full of lively, happy, noisy Chinese families, relatively messy, terrible decor and extremely fresh, hot and tasty food. Service was fast (once we got their attention) and the bill HK$ 330 for two (£25) more then satisfactory considering we had 3 main meals, rice and a couple of beers. If you know Hong Kong, you will also know this is very typical so I would not head out there just for the food. Tai-O definitely deserves a visit however.