Renowned for it’s endless lines of bicycles and alfresco fish restaurants, Mui Wo Hong Kong is the slightly kooky waterfront town centered around a bus depo and Silvermine Bay Beach. It’s located on the eastern coast of Lantau Island, and is a rural town just 40 minutes from Central by ferry.
It has a long beach, the Silver Mine Bay Beach, a handsome waterfall and a Man Mo temple, originally built during the reign of the Ming Dynasty emperor Wanli. Buses take visitors to the islands many beaches; Cheung Sha and Pui O being the most popular, while fresh fish restaurants line the waterfront and eclectic bars host local expatriates sipping beer.
If you are starting from Central, begin by buying a croissant and coffee at Pret in the IFC before jumping on the Discovery Bay ferry at Pier 3. The 25-minute ferry will drop you off in the Plaza, where you will then make your way to the left of the pier towards Nim Shue Wan beach. This is where you will start one of Lantau Island’s must-do hikes from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo. Starting this trek early is fundamental otherwise it will be way too hot as it’s a relatively difficult walk along a concrete path, which retains heat especially in the summer months. Taking just over 2 hours to walk (depending on fitness levels!), the walk’s most difficult point is a 20-minute climb for about 120 meters, but the rest is fairly gentle.
Start by walking along Nim Shue Wan beach, through the village and past a small banana plantation and agricultural fields. You’ll be following a trail that takes you past the Trappist Monastery, through jungle-proud trees, to a small red pagoda at the top of the hill. Here you will have stunning views over the Tiger Head Mountain, the various bays and islands that make up Hong Kong as well as the iconic skyline too. This is the highest point of the hike and will probably take just over an hour and a half to get to. Make sure to rehydrate here, before continuing down towards Mui Wo. This last part of the walk offers hikers spectacular views over Hong Kong’s highest peaks (Lantau and Sunset Peaks) and later panoramic views over Silver Mine Bay Beach and Mui Wo.
You will arrive in Mui Wo for lunch time so head to the China Beach Club for a drink and a snack first, before heading to the family run Turkish restaurant, Bahce for something a bit larger. With a raised terrace and stunning views over Silver Mine Bay Beach, the China Beach Club is a perfect pit stop. While Bahce serves up no-fuss Turkish food, that’s some of the best Hong Kong has to offer. Try their My Father’s Aubergine dip, their Lady’s Fingers and the delicious giant green chilies.
After lunch wander through the quaint town to the Silver Mine Waterfall and cave. The walk itself is lovely, taking you through rice paddy fields, past wild water buffalo and some traditional Chinese buildings. The Man Mo temple is also worth checking out – situated at Pak Ngan Heung in Mui Wo, the temple was rebuilt in 1958.
For dinner, head down to the fish restaurants on the waterfront that come to life with their woks sizzling and fish swimming around in tanks at night. Here you’ll find the freshest seafood Mui Wo has to offer, sitting on plastic stalls right on the water edge. The only difficult decision will be choosing which restaurant to try as the vendors shout to you from their stalls, then trying to find a spare seat to sit on!
From Mui Wo you can also take bus route 1 to Tai O, Cheung Sha and Pui O and route 2 to Ngong Ping. Tai O is a stilted fishing village boasting the indigenous pink dolphins, Cheung Sha offers up an extensive line of beach restaurants, while Pui O is where the surf is at. Also, if you’d rather start your day in Mui Wo – head to Tom’s Café for a bite to eat for breakfast – they do great coffee and eggs with all the works. Yum Cha at the food stalls also offers up fantastic dim sum, so if you’d rather have Cantonese fare – this is the place for you.
Cover image courtesy of www.startingwitha.com