Header images courtesy of @eXpose (Shutterstock) and Tung Cheung (Shutterstock)
Originally published by Ngai Yeung. Last updated by Alison Fung.
Secreted away in South Lantau is the quaint getaway of Mui Wo, a blend of urban and rural so deliciously blurred that buffalos freely roam the streets and beaches. Once a collection of 20-odd villages inhabited by farmers and fishermen, the town has gained much popularity as a weekend escape from the city since the 1970s. Over the course of the past few years, Mui Wo has bred a burgeoning ground of family-run cafés, shops, and farms.
Despite being a seemingly quiet and isolated neighbourhood, there’s plenty of choices to make when it comes to what to do. Should you grab a bite at an idyllic café or visit a farm for hands-on activities? Swim at the beach or the waterfall? Bike along a hiking trail or kayak to remote beaches around the island? Hop on a ferry from Central and come decide for yourself.
Right next to the pier and the bus terminus is the government-run Silvermine Bay Beach, filled with endless amounts of things to do. Go swimming, kayaking, or paddle-boarding, and when you’re finished exerting yourself, wander over to one of the many seafood restaurants, local cooked food markets, or bars by the beach.
Prefer to cook your own meals? Light up one of the free-to-use barbeque pits on the beach for a homemade meal with a stunning view. If you aren’t ready to return back to the city just yet, turn your day trip into a staycation at the cosy Silvermine Beach Resort.
Silvermine Bay Beach, Tung Tau Wan Road, Mui Wo | (+852) 2984 8229
Longing to get away from the hectic buzz of Silvermine Beach? Just a 30-minute paddle away on a kayak or a one-hour hike from Silvermine Beach is Man Kwok Tsui (萬角咀; maan6 gok3 zeoi2). A small village dotted with holiday homes and a family-run farm, Man Kwok Tsui is home to several less-visited yet sandy beaches, where you can experience unobstructed views of Peng Chau, Disneyland, and the Hong Kong skyline on a clear day.
While bright urban wall art is sneakily popping up in new locations across the city, Mui Wo is home to a hidden graffiti gem. Prior to the extension of the Tung Chung Road, once full of steep drop-offs, tight curves, and narrow bends that could only fit one car at a time, helicopters provided time-saving advantages for medical emergencies. Helipads around Hong Kong may be off-limits to the public, but the Mui Wo helipad has transformed into one of the most photogenic spots in town. Grab your phone and strike a pose at this photo-worthy spot.
Mui Wo humbly took off as a fishing village, but its grassroots residents were once artisans who made tofu skin (腐皮; fu6 pei4) to support their living during the 1950s. Learn about this local craftsmanship in classes held by Lantau Society at Winnie the Farm, nestled in Tai Tei Tong (大地塘; daai6 dei6 tong4). You can master the art of making tofu skin by boiling fresh soy milk and swiftly sliding the paper-thin sheet from the pot once it bubbles on the surface.
Winnie the Farm is also a great option for families who want to get their hands dirty with actual farming. Follow the steps of Winnie, the farm manager, and learn about seasonal planting and harvesting, then end your day sipping on freshly brewed floral tea. Make sure to check the workshop and tour schedules ahead of time!
Winnie the Farm, Tei Tai Tong, Mui Wo | (+852) 9831 8832
Near the beach is a short, easy hike to one of Hong Kong’s most accessible yet hidden waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll pass by two other falls—the Silvermine Lower Falls and the Pearl Falls—before reaching the Silvermine Main Falls. Scamper along the rocks at the foot of the falls, dip your feet in, or go for a swim as you relax beside one of the rarer natural sights in Hong Kong.
Above the Silvermine Falls is Silvermine Cave, a relic of the past and the namesake of the area. The cave used to be the entrance to a silver and lead mine that closed all the way back in 1898; today, you can still enter the cave and explore for a bit, though most of it has been sealed off for safety. Adventurers with chiroptophobia, be warned; the ancient hollow is home to a number of rare bat species.
Concealed in a small village is the oldest temple in Mui Wo, said to be built more than 400 years ago. The name Man Mo is not a deity in itself, but instead refers to both the god of literature (Man Cheong) and the god of war (Mo Tai). Come admire the intricate and vibrant Chinese artwork around the temple and the stories behind them.
Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung, Mui Wo | (+852) 2540 0350
Tired of the usual Sha Tin route? Bike around a laid-back island for a change of pace. After renting a bike from the convenient pier-side Friendly Bicycle Shop Cycle, take your pick of cycling by the breezy beach or through the charming streets of Mui Wo. For advanced bikers, rent a mountain bike and traverse around the island or even up to the Silvermine Falls for a most scenic and unique experience.
Friendly Bicycle Shop, Shop 5, 18A Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road, Mui Wo | (+852) 2984 2278
There are a number of trails within Mui Wo itself, but for those who yearn for a tougher challenge, check out this moderate-level hike from Mui Wo to Pui O with a rewarding gem at the end. Slow down and soak in the expansive sea views dotted with quaint islands. When you’ve had enough fun at Pui O Beach, don’t worry about hiking back; simply hail a cab or ride the bus back to Mui Wo. Alternatively, check out our guide for a hike from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay for another stunning hike out of Mui Wo.
Steps from Silvermine Beach, Pause Café, is housed inside the historic Lin Fung (年豐, nin4 fung1) building, a variety store that mainly sold rice and oil back in the days. The minimalist aesthetics at Pause Café strives to create an idyllic space for visitors to rejuvenate from the city buzz. As both an art space and a café, the backdrops of Pause are adorned with locally-made artwork like pressed floral prints and handcrafted macrame wall hangings. It also has a great selection of freshly brewed coffee and pressed juices. You can enjoy Mui Wo’s farm-to-table goodness at Pause: ingredients in the spring salad ($105) and masala veggie wrap ($100) are grown locally across family-run farms in town.
Pause Café, 21 Chung Hau Street, Mui Wo | (+852) 5267 5549
Sample the best of local Cantonese seafood fare at the jam-packed stalls in the Mui Wo Cooked Food Market. If you can’t decide where to eat here, we recommend Wah Kee Restaurant and their signature dish, the light and crispy salt & pepper fried squid. When you’re done feasting, don’t forget to shop for some dried seafood to bring back home as a practical Mui Wo souvenir.
Mui Wo Cooked Food Market, Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road, Mui Wo | (+852) 2984 2240
Right by the ferry is the British pub China Bear, a popular pit stop and gathering place with great beach views. Try their fine selection of British fare, including classics such as a hearty plate of bangers & mash, the robust steak & Guinness pie, or a slice of the sticky date pudding. If British cuisine is not to your liking, they also serve a range of pasta and freshly baked pizza—whatever it is you order, don’t forget to pair your meal with a beer or a shake.
China Bear, Shop 2 & 4, Mui Wo Centre, 3 Ngan Wan Road, Mui Wo | (+852) 2984 9720
Looking for a quiet way to spend your afternoon? Hole up in The Kitchen, a homely Italian restaurant and coffee shop. Wind down with a dainty cup of cappuccino ($28) and a plate of homemade pasta; we recommend the mushroom pesto with cherry tomatoes & homemade pesto ($108) for a taste of their secret recipe pesto. If you’re sharing with friends, be sure to order one of their razor-thin-crust pizzas as they’re baked on the spot.
The Kitchen, Shop 1, Scenic Crest, 18A Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road, Mui Wo | (+852) 5991 6292
From fictional novels, art books, biographies, and magazines to The Beatles vinyls, Vibe is the ultimate treasure ground for everyone. What’s more, Vibe hosts cosy music performances, book launches, talks, and podcast interviews during the weekends which welcome drop-in visitors. Perhaps you might fancy a chit-chat? Chat it up with Gary, the book master and owner of Vibe, who will guide you through his curated trove of collectibles and suggest free books for you to dive headfirst into a reading session.
Vibe, Shop E, Silver Centre, Mui Wo | (+852) 9088 2370
Thinking of going on a shopping spree that won’t break the bank? Marcy’s Lantau is a lifestyle-slash-fashion boutique nestled around the corner from the Hung Shing Temple (洪聖古廟, hung4 sing3 gu2 miu6). A local favourite for gift shopping, there are always interesting items to uncover. You can expect to find great fashion bargains from clothing and shoes to handbags and accessories where prices begin from far below the $100 mark.
Marcy’s Lantau, 88 Chung Hau Street, Mui Wo
Whether you are heading to Mui Wo for a one-day visit or a short staycation, you’d want to check out The Humble Room. Also located at the Lin Fung building, The Humble Room is advocated as a paradigm of living and working for the local community and visitors, providing co-working space, workshop facilities, retail space, wellness classes, and pop-up markets on the weekends. You can shop handcrafted goods made on the island, including scented candles, soaps, rattan bags, jewellery, and beachwear.
The Humble Room, 19 Chung Hau Street, Mui Wo