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A Colorful Visit to the Kwan Tai Temple, Hong Kong

Built in 1488, the Kwan Tai Temple (dedicated to the Chinese god of war) is the oldest temple in the Tai O fishing village.

Wander inside the temple, and you may see devotees burn incense and pray for prosperous fishing and farming harvests.

Devotees burn incense inside the Kwan Tai Temple in Hong Kong.
Devotees burn incense inside the Kwan Tai Temple

Kwan Tai Temple, Tai O

Located on Lantau, Hong Kong’s largest island, Tai O is famous for its simple wooden houses built on stilts over creeks.

The villagers (who get around on rusty bicycles) have lived for generations in stilt houses above these tidal flats.

The houses are inter-connected so you can walk on board planks from house to house.

Wood houses in Tai O fishing village are perched on stilts over creeks
Wood houses in Tai O fishing village are perched on stilts over creeks

While the local people traditionally relied on fishing for their livelihood, today they’re more likely to be seen selling salted fish and shrimp paste, displayed in baskets, to tourists strolling the streets.

Tai O: One of the best places to visit in Hong Kong

Tai O fishing village
Tai O is one of the most interesting places in Hong Kong!

Hong Kong is full of delightful surprises.

We were totally amazed to discover that there’s some fabulous hiking on Lantau Island. Who knew Hong Kong had so many forests, parks and hiking trails!

On one visit to Hong Kong, we hiked on Lantau Island to Tai O. And we can tell you that hiking to Tai O and visiting the stilt village is one of the best things to do in Hong Kong!

We loved strolling about, people watching, soaking up the colorful scenery – and enjoying a simple but delicious seafood lunch.

Enjoying a seafood lunch is popular in Tai O
Enjoying a seafood lunch is popular in Tai O

Tai O is a fascinating trip back in time.

And the Kwan Tai Temple, stilt houses and other sights make it a photographer’s dream.

Kwan Tai Temple, Hong Kong
Colorful entrance to the Kwan Tai Temple, Hong Kong

Kwan Tai Temple, Hong Kong:
158 Hai Tan Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon

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Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

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Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

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Photo credits: 1, 2, 5 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase


About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Michele Peterson

Monday 28th of April 2014

Wow, how great to see a post about Tai-o! I stopped there around 10 years ago and thought it was a ramshackle but charming spot. While there I met a mask maker who carved masks from the roots of bamboo and wonder if he is still there. The mask was quite the work of art and something I still cherish after all these years. Judging from your photos it looks much the same -- a very authentic place!

Irene S. Levine

Friday 25th of April 2014

Looks like a lovely village to visit~