WHY YOU SHOULD GO: As the largest island in Hong Kong, Lantau isn't exactly its best-kept secret, but a few hidden corners remain. Tai O, to the west, is a centuries-old fishing community that has built their houses on stilts above the tidal flats.
GETTING THERE: Ferries from Central pier to Mui Wo on the east of Lantau run every half hour (nwff.com.hk; tickets $2–$4). Hong Kong's MTR stops on Lantau in Tung Chung. From both termini, buses and taxis service the rest of the island.
WHEN TO GO: Autumn is the best time to visit Lantau— November and December are the coolest months, and ideal for hiking. Typhoons can occur from May to September.
WHAT TO DO: Lantau's best known attraction is the big seated image of Buddha at Po Lin Monastery (plm.org.hk). Kwun Yam Temple, stilt houses. There are more than 70 kilometers of hiking trails on Lantau, often with a beach at the end. A popular trek starts in Mui Wo, hiking over both Sunset and Lantau peaks before winding down to the western side of the island—the end of Hong Kong.
WHERE TO STAY: Dating back to 1902, Tai O Heritage Hotel (taioheritagehotel.com; doubles from $170), was originally a police station built to combat piracy. Restored in 2009 to a nine-room boutique hotel, it's now a colonial gem.
WHAT TO EAT:
en route to Tai O, is noted for its series of Buddha images. Wander through Tai O's alleyways, 15th-century buildings and local market, and don't leave without a photo of the iconic Lantau is a picturesque place to hike.
Tai O's pungent aroma comes from its famed shrimp paste and dried fish. Try them in the chicken and shrimp fried rice at the Tai O Heritage Hotel's restaurant. — A restored room at Tai O Heritage Hotel.