Worth a Trip: Tsing Yi
Blemished by oil depots and extended by land reclamation, Tsing Yi is the large island to the east of Ma Wan on the MTR’s Tung Chung and the Airport Express lines. The only reason to visit this island is to take in the gigantic Tsing Ma Bridge. Feel free to admire the 1377m suspension bridge, but don’t bother visiting the beaches here – they're not very clean.
The Lantau Link Visitors Centre and its viewing platform is where you can get a close-up of the enormity of Tsing Yi Bridge and the Lantau Link, the combined road and rail transport connection between the New Territories and Lantau. The centre contains models, photographs and videos of the construction process – very much a crowd-pleaser for trainspotters and the hard-hat brigade.
The Lantau Link has since been overshadowed somewhat by the Stonecutter’s Bridge, a graceful 1.5km span bridging the gap between the massive international container terminal in the New Territories and Tsing Yi Island.
The visitors centre for the Lantau Link is in the northwest corner of Tsing Yi Island, just to the south of Ting Kau Bridge. To reach it, take the MTR to Tsing Yi station on the Tung Chung line, use exit A1 and board minibus 308M in Maritime Sq, which will drop you off at the centre’s car park.
Worth a Trip: Ma Wan
Ma Wan was once an important gateway to Kowloon, where foreign vessels would drop anchor before entering Chinese waters. But if you want to get away from it all, Ma Wan, a flat, rapidly developing island between the northeastern tip of Lantau and the New Territories, is hardly the place to go. It has a couple of temples devoted to Tin Hau, a long beach on the east coast at Tung Wan, a few stilt houses, and a massive, high-end residential community called Park Island. There's also Noah’s Ark, a ‘lifesize’ version of the biblical craft with plastic versions of the world’s animals strolling down the gangplank.
The place to get context for Ma Wan is the small Ma Wan Residents' Museum inside the historic Fong Yuen Study Hall.
The highlight of Ma Wan is Tsing Ma Bridge, the world’s seventh-longest span suspension bridge, to the east and, to a lesser extent, Kap Shui Mun Bridge on the west. Together they form the rail and road link connecting Lantau with the New Territories via Tsing Yi Island. While catapulting Ma Wan headlong into the next century, the bridge has guaranteed an end to the island’s solitude. Neighbouring Tsing Yi has a special viewing platform for those particularly interested in seeing the bridge up close.