Island life

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 August, 2008, 12:00am

Lantau is one of Hong Kong's most developed outlying islands, yet traditional farming communities and fishing villages continue to exist alongside the airport and Disneyland.

The island has managed to retain a strong cultural heritage regardless of the huge airport development and the construction of the Tung Chung New Town.

Formerly famous as the home of the Big Buddha, newer tourist attractions, such as the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, have made the island a must-visit destination.

Despite the addition of modern architecture and transport systems, Lantau is still seen as a relaxing and scenic place to visit.

Recently, as part of the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation's community project 'Through Our Eyes', five students set out with their cameras to explore both the traditional and modern sides of the island.

They found Lantau green, fresh and natural - a very different experience from the busy urban areas of the city.

Ivan Wong Chun-yuen, 17, a student from Po Leung Kuk Ngan Po Ling College, said: 'Lantau is the greenest district in Hong Kong - there is greenery as far as you can see.

'Although it's a bit inconvenient to get there, you see a lot of beautiful scenery on the way.'

Loo Suet-man, 15, from Pope Paul VI College, also enjoyed the experience. She said: 'Lantau appeared quiet and peaceful to me, and even though there were many tourists visiting the Big Buddha, the place still made me feel relaxed.'

More than half of Lantau has been designated country park, which means the island has a lot to offer nature lovers.

The natural beauty includes rugged terrain which rises to 930 metres, with scenic hiking trails surrounding Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan) and Lantau Peak (Fung Wong Shan).

There are also a number of beaches, including Cheung Sha and Pui O.

If you want to just get together with friends, there are plenty of campsites and barbecue areas.

However, increased tourism is making the island busier.

'Lantau is very natural but when I got to the Big Buddha, tourists seemed to be disturbing the tranquillity of the monastery,' said Wong Chun-ming, 18, a student from STFA Yung Yau College.