Located on the west coast of Lantau Island, Tai O is one of the oldest existing fishing villages in Hong Kong. Its tranquil and authentic setting poses a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan Hong Kong. Fishermen started to reside in Tai O since Ming Dynasty, and since then the village has grown due to the rise of traditional industries like salted fish making and salt making, with a population of 30,000. But as these industries declined, the population of Tai O has shrunk to around 2,000 people now, with only a few traditional industries like shrimp paste and salted fish making still viable.
In the old days, people crossed the Tai O River by a cable ferry ( 橫水渡 ) before the bascule bridge was built. Built along a river channel that runs across Tai O are traditional stilt houses, where fishermen and their descendants still reside today. This unique architecture has become a symbol of this “Venice of the Orient”. Besides the Old Tai O Police Station, Tai O also features nine other graded historic buildings, and many traditional customs are still being practised today. Tai O waters is also a habitat for the rare Chinese white dolphins.