Lantau Island – Hong Kong’s Hidden Getaway

Terry came home last week and announced he had the next two days off. That wasn’t quite enough time to hop a flight somewhere, but turned out to be plenty of time to check out Lantau Island in Hong Kong. Our friends (who have been living just down the road from us since we moved to China) just moved to there and were able to show us all the good spots.

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The island was a quick and cheap 40 minute ferry ride from Central (although they’ve got fast ferries that cut that time in half if you get there at the right time). The minute we berthed (great word, right?!) it felt like we were in a totally different place. The Hong Kong we know is all hustle and bustle, with crowds pressing up on you all the time, and buildings towering over you. Awesome if you’re wanting a city, not so much if you’re wanting some peace and quiet. But Lantau? Lantau was perfect.

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The first thing we did upon arrival was walk across the street and rent bikes. The villages are all back off the main roads, where cars can’t reach, and it seems like everyone bikes everywhere there. Now that is my kind of town. A place where bikes outnumber cars? Count me in. We followed our friend Jamie up the 1000s-of-years-old path to her house. They live in this old village with abandoned traditional-style Chinese houses growing forests inside them. And they have the roof of their building all to themselves, where we could look out at the mountains we were nestled into and out at the ocean.

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We sat around catching up for a bit while the babies napped, then headed into town for a Thai dinner (#yellowcurryforlife!! )and a trip to the grocery store for some Dryers ice cream. I swear that’s my favorite thing about Hong Kong. ?? The next morning, we hit the beach.

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I have rarely had such a perfect beach day. The water was warm warm warm, which is just the way I like my oceans! The waves were calm enough that Sander fell asleep in Terry’s arms with his legs dangling into the water. There were trees on the beach for shade and the scene from the water was seriously stunning – lush green mountains and beautiful sand. I mean, I could have done without the trash floating in the water, but you can’t have everything I guess, right? ?

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We rented a couple paddle boards for a while and that was basically the most terrifying experience of my life. I never remember until I’m heading out into the ocean that I’m actually kind of afraid of open water. You’re just so . . . alone out there. Although I guess I’d rather be alone than making friends with sharks, amiright??? We split the rental time with our friends while we swapped babysitting, so Terry and I were only on them for about a half an hour, but I think that was plenty of time on a paddle board for this lifetime. It was half terrifying and half kind of boring. And my legs were burning something fierce by the end. A fun experience but one I don’t feel the need to ever repeat.

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It started to pour rain just as we were getting the babies all rinsed off (and by the way, is there anything cuter than a naked baby being rinsed off at the beach? Probably not. Sander wasn’t a huge fan of the cold shower but everyone around him thought he was just adorable, cries and all). The towels had all gotten pretty sandy but since it was raining anyway it didn’t end up mattering too much. We ducked inside a restaurant to get out of the rain, took one look at the prices, and decided to brave the rain. It had calmed into a drizzle by that point anyway, so we hopped a bus back into town.

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We ended up at this Turkish restaurant for dinner. I hadn’t ever tried Turkish food before, but oh my goodness, I’ll try it again. I had lamb stew that was seriously good. And the staff were so excited about the babies. They brought Sander out a little stuffed animal toy to play with while he sat in his highchair. One of the waiters was playing with him for minute, making faces and laughing, then asked “can I take a selfie with him?” ??? The best part is that Sander played along for the selfie, grinning like a fool at the camera and posing perfectly. We were all cracking up.

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We biked back to their house, sharing the path for a bit with some water buffalo and enjoying the last of the pretty building-free scenery before we left. Another bowl of ice cream and a quick packing job, and then it was back to the ferry for us. Sadly, we missed the ferry we were aiming for by three minutes. We waited another twenty minutes for the next one, but missing that meant we also missed the last bus back to our city once we crossed the China border. We had to wait an hour for a driver to come pick us up. We killed time at the KFC right over the border, eating chicken and ice cream. It’s not the first time we’ve been stranded at that KFC while we wait for a driver, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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Our 4 1/2 hour journey ended up being 6 hours instead, and we arrived home at midnight, exhausted, but happy. It was a great weekend and we’re already looking forward to our next trip to Lantau – we hear there are pink dolphins to be seen, so… ya know… gotta go back for that. ?

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