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Unibok

Hong Kong: Lantau or Lamma?

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Seeking your advice on experiencing these two islands: Lantau and Lamma. My February 2019 cruise ends in Hong Kong. We have a full day and an overnight in port, before debarking the next morning. I will be staying an additional day, leaving late afternoon on the 3rd day.

 

For the full day on my own (disembarkation day), I am considering Lantau Island via cable car for the Big Buddha and monastery, or Lamma Island for an off-the-grid experience and walking the trails. 

 

Boards, I seek your wisdom: which would you recommend, and why?

 

Alternately, should I do one of those through the ship's excursions the day before, rather than on my own?

 

With thanks in advance,

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12 minutes ago, Unibok said:

... or Lamma Island for an off-the-grid experience and walking the trails.

 

I'd do this, personally, subject to weather. February is often a nice time to be walking in Hong Kong, and relatively few visitors do off-the-beaten-track stuff like this.

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FYI: Chinese New Year in 2019 is February 5th.  A LOT of people will be on holiday leading up to and beyond this date.

Edited by Philob

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Thanks for this good info, Philob. We won't arrive in Hong Kong until early March, so we'll probably miss those holiday-goers. 

 

Globaliser, thanks for your input! I'm leaning toward Lamma Island for the reasons you suggest.

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Lamma is a small island with the suburban feel, many Expats live there, housing is less crazy expensive, plenty of fresh air & sunshine, less of that concrete urban high-rise jungle feel in the city - great walk & bike path, and last time I checked - only scheduled ferry services to the island side of HK only ... there are no MTR (subway) or light rail, nor bus/PMB services, it is eco-friendly for a vastly reduced carbon footprint.  

 

Early March is still late winter/early Spring with virtually zero chance of tropical storm that would sometimes result in ferry services (30 minutes each way, from my recollection) being suspended or cancelled if the Typhoon Signal goes up - I believe it has to be a #8 & higher with landfall nearby/imminent.  Just don't do it on the day you are planning to fly out of HK or cruise out of HK, to eliminate the slim odds of missing your sea-land connection to the terminal.

 

Great fresh seafood & vegetables for home style cooking at local restaurants, be prepared to ask for a picture/bilingual menu, or point and ask when ordering.  

 

Lantau is rapidly develping and is more than the GB and NP360, also Tai O, the classic fishing village with sampan on the southwest tip/lower end of this big island, home of HKIA with a 3rd runway approved for construction and of course, the recently, just opened sea-land-underwear tunnel that connect HK, mainland China & Macau in the Pearl River region.  Taxis, bus & PMB service all parts of this island, plus MTR to the airport, Disneyland & satellite high-rise cities - but, still plan on a full days to visit & explore - you can hike up to the Big Budda & down the other side and end the day in Tai O, not for the less experienced & prepared hikers ... and, dress in layers as it could still be rather chilly in early March.  Houses, homes & flats (apartments) aren't insulated nor heated with its generally "mild" climate year-round. 

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mking8288, WOW! Thank you for the incredibly helpful and specific information! I'm curious: would you recommend one over the other for a solo traveler?

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Unibok ... For a solo traveler ... visiting HK for the first time in such a short stay, given the commercialization on the north end of Lantau (the biggest island among the 400's belonging to HK) with its assorted tourist "traps" & many geared toward mainland PRC visitors, I recommend making plans & doing some "research" for a leisure & easy hike on the much smaller Lamma, enjoy the walking path & trails.  Dozens of seafood restaurants minutes from the ferry pier, impossible to miss.

 

Have a look at this official link - haven't set foot on Lamma in nearly 30 years but it hasn't really changed that much vs. Lantau with the airport & nearby Tung Chung.  If your stay is on a weekday in early March, it will not be crowded or packed with visitors - unlike Lantau with busloads of visitors (lately, locals complaining about mainland tourists/day trip shoppers jamming "their" towns ... since the new bridge was just opened last month)

http://www.discoverhongkong.com/us/see-do/great-outdoors/hikes/lamma-island.jsp

 

If your travel plans involved flying in or out of Lantau b/c of HKIA (airport) - you can considered a side trip to see part of the island, if timing & flight schedule is a good fit/match - luggage can be stored at the airport for a nominal fee, used in-town airline check-in plus luggage if using the Airport Express, etc.  Linked site above is the official HK Gov web portal for the HK Tourism Board, hundreds of links & tips, FAQ, maps & resources ... happy planning. 

 

There are a # of local CC'ers familiar with what's happening, they will probably chime in on their thoughts, just check back from time-to-time.  

 

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Hopefully by the time you arrive HK the chaotic situation at Tung Chung due to the recently opened mega bridge will be solved. Otherwise, trying to take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to the Big Buddha will be painfully hectic. Here are some photos of our trip there in April.

 

If you want to visit an island in Hong Kong, Cheung Chau is another option. 

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It is a difficult choice, so much will depend what you would like to experience. As pointed out, a key factor will be the day of the week. For Lamma and Cheung Chau, these are popular destinations for the locals as well, so expect crowds and lines for the ferry on the weekend. The Big Buddha is more popular with the tourists, so the contrast may not be as much. The other important consideration will be the weather. If it is foggy or raining, you do not see much from the NP360 cable cars. It is quite a pleasant 30 minute journey, an attraction in its own right, if you can view the mountains and HKIA with the planes taking off and landing all the time.

 

So, do not pick Lantau / Big Buddha if the weather is not right.

 

For Lamma, the ferry goes to Picnic Bay and Yung Shu (Banyan Tree) Bay on Lamma. Some sailings go to Picnic first, some others the other bay first. Between these two bays, there is a trail, the walk (over the hill) is about 90 minutes. Yung Shu Wan is a larger village, Picnic Bay is more toutisty in the sense that there are more restaurants (seafood) which cater to people who go for food, then take the next ferry back to HK, without going to the other village.

 

Cheung Chau is another story.  It is actually a major fishing village/port, still working. A good number of people live here and commute to offices in Central, HK. It is more built up and larger than the other settlements on Lamma. More history here.

 

It is difficult to choose, but if you are travelling as a solo, I am not sure Lamma offers enough for you to see, and the seafood meals are not really designed for one eater.

 

Let me know if you need more info.

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Thank you so much, Sky Shield! The day I'm trying to plan is a Friday, which I'm assuming will act more like a weekday than a weekend. Your point about solo seafood meals is especially apt. Hmmm, lots of thinking to do ....

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I've been to Hong Kong 10x.  My husband is from there and he still has family there.  On almost every trip we do the hike across Lamma Island.  We prefer to take the ferry to Sok Kwu Wan and then walk over to Yung Sheu Wan as there is more of a village there and we like to look around and get a bite to eat before returning to HK Island.

 

The ferries are all located in Central right down by the Star Ferry terminal.  Easy to get to.  You'll want Pier #4 for both routes to Lamma Island.

 

Just a tip:  Don't do it on a Sunday as this is when it is packed with whole families.

 

Betty

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On 11/22/2018 at 9:51 PM, Betty in Cozumel said:

 

Just a tip:  Don't do it on a Sunday as this is when it is packed with whole families.

 

Betty

 

Thank you, Betty! Very helpful. Luckily, I'll be there on a Friday.

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WOW! After looking at the pictures of the cable car ride I definitely added it to my bucket list! Will be doing Thailand Jan. 2020 and will now check on including Hong Kong to the trip. Thanks for the info.

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