Lonely Planet review
A century ago this mostly Tanka village on the west coast of Lantau was an important trading and fishing port, exporting salt and fish to China. Today Tai O is in decline, except perhaps as a tourist destination offering an intriguing glimpse of the life of a traditional fishing village. Tai O is built partly on Lantau and partly on a tiny island about 15m from the shore. Until the mid-1990s the only way to cross was via a rope-tow ferry pulled by elderly Hakka women. That and the large number of sampans in the small harbour earned Tai O the nickname ‘the Venice of Hong Kong’. Though the narrow iron Tai Chung footbridge now spans the canal, the rope-tow ferry is resurrected on some weekends and holidays: drop $1 in the box as you disembark. There are also brief river boat tours departing from the footbridge.