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LANTAU: Hong Kong's largest Island, an eco-island?

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LANTAU HAS POTENTIAL as a place of Eco-logical Enlightenment // Beautiful Lantau slideshow



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Victoria is HONG KONG's 2nd Largest island, Lantau is the largest, by far...

Located on the southern coast of China at the mouth of the Pearl River. A small region of China 65 km wide and 40 km north to south. Population 6.87 million.


Land Area 1,098 sq km comprising Victoria, the Island of Hong Kong, (80 sq km), Peninsula Kowloon (47 sq km) and the New Territories (746 sq km). Hong Kong has dozens of offshore islands (totalling 224 sq km) of which Lantau is by far the largest (144 sq km).


Topography characterised by steep granite and volcanic mountains. No lowland rivers of significant size, few natural permanent water bodies. Many peaks in excess of 500 metres. Four peaks on Lantau Island exceed 750 metres.


Urban development on Lantau accounts for only 16% of land use whilst 70% is open countryside.

It is located at the northern limit of the distribution of tropical Asian flora and is the only region in the World where tropical and temperate species merge without some form of natural barrier such as ocean, mountain or dessert separating them. These are extremely important habitats of great scientific significance.


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(this old article sets the scene):


Mickey Mouse Has Yet to Land...But a Big Buddha Is Already a Draw (1999 article: Mickey has landed)


a29mac2.gif . . buddhagt5.jpg . . img_village01.jpg


From his office window in Mui Wo, property agent Carlos Chau has a view of bland, low-rise residential blocks. But what Chau really sees is a bright future. This farming and fishing village of 4,000 is on the south side of Lantau Island, 15 kilometers west of Hong Kong's business district. The territory's new airport is on the island, and a Walt Disney Co. theme park may be on the way. ''In the long run, with all the government investment in the area, there will be an enormous amount of development,'' Chau says.


Environmentalists, however, glimpse a grimmer future. Today, they see cows grazing in the lowlands, sun worshippers basking on splendid beaches, and hikers trekking to reach the island's 900-meter peaks--and all of this threatened by urbanization. ''Basically, we're kissing Lantau goodbye,'' says Lisa Hopkinson, a member of the Lantau Eco-Transport Group.


Isolation has long been the key to Lantau's tranquillity. In the past, ferries were the only form of transportation to the island, with the journey often taking an hour. But the new airport, completed in 1998 on a man-made island just off Lantau's north side, set off rapid change. Some $20 billion was spent on the airport and its accompanying projects, including a suspension bridge linking Lantau to the rest of Hong Kong. The number of cars with access to the north side--the south side remains largely inaccessible for now--jumped from 1,000 to half a million. High-rises began to sprout up alongside fishing villages. The population of 30,000 is expected to soar to 350,000 by 2011.


That explosion is sparking a clash between environmentalists and developers. Lantau is one of the largest green areas in Hong Kong and is home to various rare species, including the Hong Kong newt and the ayu, a stream-dwelling fish threatened by roadwork. As the north side is developed, activists are looking to preserve the south. There is one single-lane road linking the two sides, and only 800 vehicles have permits to use it. The pivotal battle is a proposal to build a highway linking north and south, making the latter a prime spot for population growth. Under government review now, the project appears likely to be approved.


DIRTY BEACHES. Another flash point is the proposed Disney park on the island's eastern tip that the government wants to make the centerpiece of its project to revive tourism. Disney and local officials have been deep in negotiations since February, with a decision due by November. So far, scant information has been released about the park, but financial details seem to be the main sticking point.


The battle in Lantau is part of a broader environmental struggle. Hong Kong's population is 6.8 million and growing fast. Its air contains 40% more particulates than that of Los Angeles and is getting worse. Once sparkling beaches have also suffered, with 25% of them now graded as poor. All this, the activists say, also scares off investment. ''We've had two years of recession, and Hong Kong doesn't need any more disincentives,'' says Barrie Cook, convenor of the Hong Kong Business Coalition on the Environment.


As Disney waits to put its stamp on Lantau, Buddha is already doing so. The Lantau Giant Buddha, 24 meters high, is the world's largest bronze statue of the Enlightened One. Completed in 1993, it gives thousands of daily tourists who climb the 268 steps to its base a breathtaking view of the island's unspoiled wilderness.


Soon, even more people may be paying their respects. In May, 1998, the government proposed a $130 million cable car from the new airport to the Big Buddha. Transit passengers would have the chance to forgo the airport lounge for a quick spiritual uplift. But planning on the cable-car project has yet to be completed, even though construction was due to begin early this year. Officials are trying to devise a plan that would incorporate commercial development, making the project financially viable. Even without the cable car, up to 13,000 tourists a day are visiting the statue.


So while there is renewed skepticism over when Mickey Mouse will land in Hong Kong, the Big Buddha is already putting its own unique mark on the territory's tourism industry


@: http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_29/c3638200.htm




- - -

TUNG CHUNG Accomodation

+ Tung Chung Crescent (TCC) & Seaview Crescent (SC): developed jointly by Hang Lung, Henderson Land, New World, Sun Hung Kai Properties, and the MTR Corp. Eight towers with 2,158 units, and Four towers with 1,536 units, repectively.

+ Coast Skyline (CS): developed by HKR Int'l, Hung Leong Holdings, and Recosia ::

+ Caribbean Coast (CC): a jv of Cheung Kong, and Hutchinson, withh 11 towers (now 13) with 4,456 units from 636 to 1295 sf


The units at TC range from "one bedroom, aimed at trendy Central workers and flight crew, to 1.700sf duplexes for those seeking top-of-the-range accomodation near the airport. All private developments have extensive clubhouse facilities and landscaped gardens. Rents range from hk$9 - 11 psf. Sales prices, are typically hk$2,500 to hk$3,500 psf" SCMP:28/3/2007


= = = = =


MAPS .....

The Vision statement. : http://sc.info.gov.hk/gb/www.pland.gov.hk/...t/summary_e.htm

Photos, from Lantau... : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Lantau_Island

Lantau Hikes............. : http://ec.hku.hk/hiking/Lantau/starting_points.htm

Green Lantau Assoc... : http://www.greenlantau.com/

Lantau's Int'l Airport.. : http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/sa/index.html

Lantau Boat Club...... : http://www.lantauboatclub.com/

Weather Now; Mui Wo: http://www.jacekphoto.com/others/weather/current.htm

Lantau BBoards........ : http://www.phpbbserver.com/lantaulife/ : http://lantau-life.aceboard.com/index.php?...273744&rub=

MTR website :

Property Transactions : CaribC-Gohome

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Tai O ecology `improved' after replanting project


Winnie Chong


Wednesday, September 28, 2005


The government Tuesday defended its restoration work at Tai O in north Lantau despite strong criticism from a concern group.

The Tai O Cultural Workshop had claimed that the island's ecology is not being helped by the government's restoration project which was launched after construction of Hong Kong International Airport and the North Lantau highway was completed in 1997.


Those two projects, environmentalists said, had destroyed large areas of North Lantau's ecology.


In a bid to restore what was lost, the government earmarked HK$260 million to replant the mangrove swamps in a 12-hectare site in Tai O and build a promenade and a sheltered boat anchorage to enable residents to enjoy the beauty of the area. Since 1999, an area of seven hectares has been replanted and a historic seawall restored.


Five more hectares of the inter-tidal area for mangrove replanting is expected to be completed next year.


Wong Wai-king, founder of the Tai O Cultural Workshop and a staunch defender of the environment and the heritage of the fishing hamlet in northwest Lantau, said the airport and highway projects had killed off many of the mangrove creatures such as shrimps, crabs and fish.


However, nature conservation officer of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Tam Tze- wai, said there had been no recent damage to the ecology. Instead, he said, the ecology had improved since the replanting project began and birds and other creatures had returned to the area.


"The vegetation will surely raise the ecology of the mudland," Tam said.


Civil engineering director Tsao Tak- kiang said the resumption of the mudland and the building of a promenade could help create a new tourist spot for Tai O.


@: http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail....;d_str=20050928

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...things are changing, efforts to emphasize Lantau's uniqueness...


ark ~ eden


“a refuge for a place of great happiness”



“It seems to me as though Hong Kong in a way presents a graphic microcosm of the choices we face for the future: on the one hand rampant capitalism, with its inequitable concentrations of wealth, polluted air and concomitant ecological destruction, and on the other the rapidly-awakening consciousness within businesses, schoolchildren and all sorts of people of the need for a radically different lifestyle, to create a truly sustainable future for humans and all other life on the planet”.


(Alan Watson Featherstone, ‘Trees for Life’)


1.0 Executive Overview


1.1 ‘ark~eden’


ark~eden is a many faceted destination tourist attraction showcasing ‘The Natural World of Hong Kong’. It is, for Hong Kong, a hugely significant project that will foster a greater understanding of Hong Kong’s ecology and environment. It is proposed that it be established on Lantau Island, regarded as a Chinese National Environmental Treasure.


ark-eden will comprise:

Phase One - a central facility,

Phase Two - satellite facilities, and, in the medium term,

Phase Three - special exhibits.

Overall, it is not a small project. Neither is it a collection of parts, but an accumulating whole that may in places need 3-5 yrs to become established.


ark~eden is presented as a focus for the preservation and conservation of Lantau as a living, world-class natural environmental wonder within China and Asia. It offers a comprehensive approach to showcasing and preserving Lantau’s heritage. This project blends conservation, education, eco-tourism and sustainable development in a way that will have multiple benefits not only for Hong Kong but also within the international community.


...more: http://www.hkoutdoors.com/lantau-news/ark~eden.html

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LANTAU : Nature's Treasure chest



Hong Kong has 21 Country Parks and 3 Special Areas covering 41,320 hectares or 40% of Hong Kong’s total land area. It is in these Country Parks that many small hill streams can be found draining steep ravines rich in low trees and flowering shrubs. This natural landscape fascinates visitors, as for example Hong Kong has: -


400 known native species of Trees versus 33 in the UK


2,124 known native species of Flora versus 30,000 in all China and 240,000 in whole world


Hong Kong Island alone has more plant species than the United Kingdom


226 native species of Butterflies versus 55 in the UK and 17 in New Zealand


2,200 species of Moths, equalling 2,200 in the United Kingdom and 12,000 in all China


110 native species of Dragonflies versus 40 in the UK, 145 in Taiwan and 251 in all China


458 species of resident and natural migratory birds, 124 of which breed in Hong Kong,


102 species of amphibians and reptiles


To put these comparisons in context, Hong Kong’s land area is 3.4% of Taiwan, 0.45% of UK, 0.012% of China and 0.41% of New Zealand.


@: http://www.hkoutdoors.com/lantau-news/ark~eden_2.html


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(from the conceptual plan):


Instead of putting emphasis on turning Lantau into a tourist, recreation and leisure centre, more emphasis should be put to conserving both the natural and cultural heritage and character of the area to make it an attraction for both local and overseas tourists.





Agreed. The DRS proposes a diversified range of attractions and facilities be developed on Lantau. In this connection, a nature and conservation theme is proposed for South Lantau; a cultural and religious theme for Northwest Lantau; and a tourism and recreation theme for Northeast Lantau. Conserving the natural and cultural heritage is an important attribute to developing Lantau into a tourist, recreation and leisure centre.


@: http://sc.info.gov.hk/gb/www.pland.gov.hk/...summary_e.htm#8


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(more detail about Lantau's uniqueness):


Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong and is recognised as being an area of exceptional ecological value.

Situated in the mouth of the Pearl River estuary, Lantau is home to Hong Kong's second and third highest mountain peaks, two of its richest streams and several species of rare and endemic flora and fauna.


In recognition of Lantau's rich ecology and high biodiversity, more than 50% of the island's total land mass (14,400 hectares) was designated as Country Park in 1978. There are two Country Parks, North Lantau Country Park and South Lantau Country Park, which combined, account for 7,840 hectares; an area approximately the same size as Hong Kong Island.


Lantau is largely undeveloped and is home to only 45,000 people, compared to Hong Kong Island's 1.4 million. Its geography is simply stunning, ranging from majestic peaks to wooded mountains and valleys, untouched streams, spectacular waterfalls, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches and coves.


North and South Lantau Country Parks were created to protect and preserve the island's significant areas of biodiversity and ecological value. Contained within these parks is the lofty Lantau Peak (934 metres) and Sunset Peak (869 metres), the Tung Chung and Tai Ho Streams, the Thousand-step Falls of Ngong-Sham Stream, tidal mudflats with rich mangroves and the Shek Pik Reservoir.


Lantau's flora and fauna are as diverse as the landscape itself. In fact, the island is home to a large percentage of many of Hong Kong's recorded species including :


70% of its amphibians and reptiles

60% of its dragonfly species

55% of its butterfly species

Over 50% of its freshwater fish species


Lantau is also home to several plant and animal species classified as 'rare' in Hong Kong; these include the Romer's Tree Frog, Champion's Rhododendron, Birdwing Butterfly and the Crested Kingfisher.


@: http://www.np360.com.hk/html/eng/environment/lantau.html

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am beginning to think that I live "in the future" in terms of the approach here to car transport



I do see many of the elements on this island (Lantau), which could allow a city to experiment with a Low-Car Future. For example, one of the the tourist attractions on the island is Disneyland, and the best way to get there is by train. You can also get there by bus or taxi, but it is not easy to drive your private car to it. Very few private cars are allow on the island- you need a special license for a car on the island, and there are a limited number available.


Another tourist attraction is the 60-foot tall "Giant Buddha". You can only get there by:

+ Walking over a mountain,

+ A slow and winding bus ride, or

+ Cable car!

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Lantau's top hotel? Novotel in Tung Chung





+ Stylish lobby, high ceilings... free bus from airport in 10 minutes

+ Less than 10 minute walk through Citygate shopping centre to Tung Chung tube


Price paid: US793 for a three night stay in late April (2006)

Verdict : "one of my better and more comfortable Hongkong business hotel stays in recent memory"



Contact: 51 Man Tung Road, Tung chung, Hong kong

Phone..: 852 3602 8888

Website: http://www.Novotel.com/asia : hotel details

Map.....: http://www.novotel-asia.com/6239/map/default.aspx

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The relocation of the international airport from Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok accelerated the development of Tung Chung to be a residential and commercial hub supporting the permanent and transient community associated with the airport. Tung Chung is a mere 27 minutes away from Hong Kong's Central Business District on the Tung Chung Line of the MTR metro system.


Currently, Tung Chung is primarily residential, but an office block and hotel have already been completed. It is envisaged that in the future, other commercial projects will be developed in Tung Chung to support the growing population.

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DrBubb, sorry, but it is a good 35 minute ride into Central from TC. That is if you get a train right away. And if you live near to the station, from CC would most likely make a minimum 50 minute ride if you take in wait time and transit time. By the way, most people from CC take a bus to the MTR because it is not such a short walk as you suggest.


The problem with TC is that there is a rather large supply of apartments. CC is chock full of empty units waiting to be either sold or occupied - neither of which is happening. I have been told that it is very difficult to sell a unit there, that is unless you drop your price significantly. The funny thing about CC (Caribbean Coast) is that it is not on the coast nor does the coast look anything like a Caribbean coast. There will be some major developments just in front of it, between it and the coast. This will only add to the supply glut that is currently affecting the area.


Another problem with TC is HK people hesitate greatly to move out to this area, they think that it is 'so far away'.


In the end, I believe that TC has potential - yet, we are looking at a rather long term potential. TC is priced lower than many areas in HK, but probably on par with other NT new towns like Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Tai Po... The difference between TC and these places is that TC has jobs & good transport. Thus, it will be a much better bet than other NT new towns. But, as I said - this is a long term bet. If you are after rather quick (1-5 years) return, don't even think about TC.


You can easily compare the prices of TC with various other locals within HK from the recent bottom of the housing market in mid 2003 to the current levels, and you will see how the price growth in TC is very sad. There is growth, but nothing even close compared to DB, Kowloon or HK island.

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thanks for you post. I was quoting an article which said, "27 minutes"

tube time could be 30 minutes or more, since it is 13 minutes to Tsing-Yi.

I will time it next time.


I budget, just under one hour, from leaving my door to arriving at meetings in Central.

Which is not unmanageable. And that assumes walking from Tower 11. i think those who live in

Tower 10 through 16 (the last 5, since 13&14 dont exist), probably will find it is usually no slower

to walk than take the bus, But not all want the exercise.


= =


Your information on CC is out of date.

The older flats are filling up fast, and rents are rising

Cheung Kong released in Jan. the last two towers (15&16), and they sold out fast- thanks to the prices.

Within three weeks, they sold over 400 flats. And by now all the A & H flats are gone.

(we bought one of the last A flats in tower 16, and that was the second day of the launch.)

I understand that over 70% of the other flats are gone too.


THose last two towers remain empty, because the purchases close next week.

Move in date is expected to be early May. And it will be interesting to see how many owner/

occupiers move in, and what happens to rents. We closed on our purchase of a 1BR yesterday,

and expect to have it rented before the other flats are available.

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Here's a summary of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Caribbean Coast:


We have a friend who moved there last year and we had a look around as we were considering it too. She reckons the pros and cons are:



Decent sized flats for the price

Clean and well maintained

Clubhouse - pay as you go, no monthly fees

Bazaar useful for necessities - and you can get to it without getting wet

Nice views (although the seaviews will disappear in time)

Places to go for a walk

Pets allowed (only place TC I believe)

Free shuttle buses

Friendly staff

Relaxed feeling or being away from it all

Not really any noise from the planes

Taste (ParknShop) in TC, although apparently it can be busy with sightseers at times

Small wet market

Various Club activities

Safe environment for kids

Pleasant walk to TC if you don't want to take the shuttle bus - there is also supposed to be a walkway opening up between CC and Coastal so you can walk to TC undercover, perhaps someone else can confirm that



Thin ceilings, floors and walls

Not always finished (e.g. bottom of drawer not fixed, no shelves in bottom kitchen cabinets, unpainted baseboards, etc.)

Only window cleaning service permitted is very expensive

Queueing for the shuttle bus (even 15-20 mins on Sunday morning)

Small, poorly equipped gym - more space and furniture for reading newspapers

Lack of space on the shuttle buses for shopping

Can be very windy, is one of HK's hottest areas in summer (may not be a con for many)

Lots of construction slated

Lifts can take 5 minutes at morning rush hour (at least in our friend's block)

Barking dogs (the staff don't really do anything)

Out-of-hours renovation (again, staff don't really want to get involved)

Lack of transport options - only a few buses because the MTR wants to maintain its monopoly


@: http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/forums/proper...eads/100679.asp


((out of date, i think, especially regarding the walking distance, now that the barrier at phase 4 is down))


My comment was:


"Queueing for the shuttle bus (even 15-20 mins on Sunday morning)"

she should learn to walk.

10 minutes from my door to sitting on the train at the MTR

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  • 4 weeks later...

My latest brainwave is to launch a new website : "LantauLiving.com" : link


It would have the mission of:

"Fostering Community life, and Sensible development of Hong Kong's largest island"


It would take the form of a chatboard. like this one.

Would anyone here contribute?

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  • 6 months later...

There's not much on this thread about Mui Wo.


Time for some discussion maybe?

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