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In the Stilted Village of Tai O, AKA 'the Venice of Hong Kong'

July 6, 2012 at 9:38 AM | by | ()

We just love Hong Kong, but sometimes the glitz and glamour of the city just gets a little overbearing—even for those of us who are New Yorkers—so we're all about an excursion away from the bright lights.

When we were in HK recently, a friend invited us along on his plans to visit the Tai O fishing village on stilts on the west of Lantau island, and we had such an awesome time being the two non-Chinese tourists in the place.

The guidebooks will tell you that Tai O is the "Venice of Hong Kong." Well, we've been to both, and Venice it ain't. It is however a small town on stilts over the water, half dilapidated and all fascinating.

To get there, take the MTR Airport Line out to Tung Chung (which is the last stop before the airport). From there, it's a fantastic and cheap ferry ride underneath the approach path for Hong Kong airport; yeah, we didn't think you'd be interested in watching the planes land on your way. Uh-huh.

It's easy to get lost in Tai O, but that's part of the beauty of the place. You'll find your way again; it's small enough to walk from one side to the other in a few minutes. Naturally, since it's Hong Kong, there's 3G all over the place so you can always turn to your phone if you can't figure it out.

The people who live in here—mainly locals who go fishing out in the South China Sea—are used to tourists, especially the ones after local delicacies. The shrimp paste is famous (and wonderfully strong), and the salted fish is, we hear, a real treat. (No, of course you won't be allowed to import it into your home country.)

Fortunately, their familiarity with people gawking around means that they're mostly inured to you snapping a few pics for your Instagram gallery.

[Photos: John Walton/Jaunted]

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