One of the great things about Hong Kong is that it’s easy to escape. The city’s cheap, green-and-white Star Ferries chug day and night across the harbour, and are an enjoyable way to experience the famous cityscape.
Among the largest of the Outlying Islands is Lamma, where there are some beautiful beaches, great seafood restaurants and trails leading into the hills to small temples. A salty, old-world atmosphere pervades the fishing dock and market at Cheung Chau, jam-packed with sampans and dilapidated wooden junks. Alternatively, jump on the metro to Lantau Island to visit the impressive Tian Tan Buddha, a 26-metre (85-foot) tall bronze statue sitting cross-legged on a hilltop.
Nestling on the shoreline below, Tai O is a fishing village on stilts where you can order grilled baby cuttlefish or shredded squid and other local delicacies straight off the boat. If you’re here in May, don’t miss the famous Bun Festival on tiny Cheung Chau Island, when three 18m (60ft) towers of bamboo are erected and covered in cakes. Locals compete to see who can seize the highest bun, as lion and dragon dances take place below.