The biggest island in Hong Kong also happens to be one of its most scenic. Only a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Lantau offers an alternative HK experience. The island’s twisting roads take visitors through dense forest, up mountains and past picturesque beaches and settlements.
There is no shortage of things to do either – from hiking to the top of Lantau Peak, HK’s second highest point, to getting in touch with your spiritual side at the Po Lin Monastery, Lantau has a suprising variety of activities.
The highlight here is the Tian Tan Buddha (or Big Buddha as it’s also known) – the largest seated bronze Buddha in the world. The steep climb up 268 steps to reach it is worth it for the magnificent views of the statue and the island spreading all around.
Head back down and explore a Chinese landscaped garden and take a few photos of the pai lau arch at the entrance of the Ngong Ping piazza. For the more adventurous, the Wisdom Path takes visitors on a journey past 38 beams with beautiful inscriptions from a famous Buddhist prayer, the Heart Sutra.
For something a bit more relaxing, take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car for panoramic views of the island. Cheung Sha beach on the south side of the island offers watersports, swimming and plenty of cafes and restaurants. I was lucky enough to see some of Lantau’s wild cows right on the beach.
Lantau often gets ignored on visits to Hong Kong. There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t.
Getting there: Multiple airlines fly to Hong Kong including China Southern, Emirates and Thai Airways. Prices start from around £400.
Accommodation: I stayed at Wang Fat Hostel in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island. Dorms from £10/$14 a night. Prices tend to go up at weekends.
Getting around: A ferry from Central Pier on Hong Kong Island to Mui Wo costs HK$15-25 (£1.50-2.50) depending on whether you take a standard or express ferry. Bus trips from Mui Wo to Tian Tan Buddha take in some gorgeous scenery and are cheap. Lantau can be easily done as a day trip.