Not perhaps something you would often give a second thought to when visiting Mui Wo, but unless you are one of the teaming throng of hikers, bikers, runners or weekend city escapers with a mission already planned out – then a mindful kickback at the water’s edge, watching the world go by, could be just the ticket.
Although not obvious at first glance, Mui Wo has a well-established history, dating back to the last days of the Song dynasty.
Fleeing south from invasion in 1277, the imperial court sought refuge in Silvermine Bay, known back then as Mei Yu.
However, while attempting a further escape from the Mongols, the emperor fell from a boat and after almost drowning, became ill and died. His successor and the last emperor of the Song dynasty, Zhao Bing, was then enthroned at Mui Wo in 1278.
Until more recent times Mui Wo was more or less the gateway to the island, due to its sheltered bay that takes its name from the location’s silver and lead mining past. It was really though, from the 1950s that the island began to establish itself as the getaway location for the city folk wanting a break from Hong Kong.
Things are today a little busier than this wonderful photo from 50s depicts, but the sentiments are perhaps still the same and the need to escape for a little R&R, have never been more important.
Even if that escape takes you no further than the dock of the bay, on the right day it can still tick all the boxes. So why not during this time of early closing and takeaways, grab a drink and bite to eat from one of the town’s many eateries and take it all in.
From the steady range of ferries that link up Lantau to its neighbouring island cousins and Central, to the egrets skimming the water on the lookout for their next meal, in competition with the local fishermen making their daily catch – there is always something to catch your attention.
Although the main stretch of Mui Wo’s dock is never too hectic, it is still a working zone as the supply boats bringing in stocks for the town’s supermarkets and restaurants demonstrates.
Then in between these occasional bursts of dock-type action, things blend once again with modern Mui Wo’s main occupation of leisure and tourism. So if the mood takes you, grab the opportunity to get out onto the bay yourself and paddle off to see what you can discovery.