Exploring Tai O (大澳), Hong Kong’s Traditional Fishing Village
Known locally as “the Venice of Hong Kong,” Tai O (大澳) is a small fishing village which straddles the waters between the west coast of Lantau Island and a smaller island just 15 meters (49 feet) away. The village is known for its waterfront establishments and traditional way of life. Most notably, Tai O is home to the oldest remaining community of stilt houses, once common across all of Hong Kong.
For over two centuries, the village has been home to the Tanka people, formerly a nomadic southern Chinese ethnic group. Since then until the mid-1900s, the village became a major trading port to China, exporting salt and seafood. Though Tai O is no longer a key site for trade, many elderly residents of the village continue to make a living from fishing, duck farming and making the village’s famous salted fish and shrimp paste, all of which can be found in the main Tai O Market. Tourists from mainland China and Hong Kong visit Tai O to see the slow, unchanging lifestyle of the old seaside village—a sight that has become increasingly rare in their rapidly developing home countries.