Mui Wo is a sleepy village at the eastern end of Lantau Island. In its glory days it was the main gateway to Lantau, and the lands around Mui Wo supplied a large part of the vegetables sold in Hong Kong’s markets. Now it’s mostly inhabited by commuters, and farming has all but disappeared.
The settlement here is thought to be at least 1,000 years old. In the late 1270s, the last emperor of the Song dynasty, boy emperor Bing, is thought to have had his palace in Mui Wo.
The tour of Mui Wo starts at Nam Shan, the highest point of the road between Mui Wo and Pui O. Take a bus or taxi from Mui Wo Ferry Pier or from Tung Chung to get there. This complete tour is about 10 km in length, and takes 3-4 hours to complete. See map at the bottom of this post for the numbers on the map.
1. Walk up from the bus stop, here is a clearing from where you have a very nice view over Mui Wo and surrounding villages.
2. Walking down Old Nam Shan Path you end up in Tai Tei Tong village, where you can find this old watch tower.
This tower was probably built in the 1920s, and it was built to help protect the villages from pirates which at the time were a serious issue. This one is still in good condition, and it is used as storage facility.
3. Chung Hau Old Mansion is another such watch tower. Also believed to have been built in the 1920s it served as a residence as well as watch tower. This place is private property and in pretty poor condition.
4. Continue to follow the river until you reach the village, to your left is this Hung Shing temple. Hung Shing was an astronomer who helped to advance the knowledge of astronomy and navigation, and for that reason he is worshipped by fishermen and other seafaring people.
5. Here is Tai Tei Tong village and the Pak Tai Temple. Pak Tai, the northern emperor, is revered for loyalty and righteousness.
6. The Man Mo temple. This temple is thought to be about 400 years old, the exact age is not known.
Legend has it that as silver was discovered in the nearby mountains, the villagers fought over it. To settle the dispute fairly, this temple was built to invite the gods to witness settlement of the dispute.
Next to the temple is Yick Yuen villa, with a garden of total 7.3 ha. This residence was built before the war by Yang Rui Shan, boss of the Yee Wo Lung Rice Company.
7. The entrance to the old silver mine. It is blocked off and inaccessible. The mine was first excavated in 1864, however production stopped in 1896 due to the low quality of the ore. Some Japanese tried to mine silver here in the early 1900s but also failed to find good ore.
8. The Silvermine Waterfall is a very scenic waterfall in the River Silver. At this point a near vertical dyke has intruded the softer granite rock. The rock downstream has eroded away leaving the wall standing, and the water plunges down. There are more waterfalls in this river further upstream, this is the most accessible one. The waterfall is at its best during summer, the wet season.
9. Silvermine Bay Beach. One of the main reasons for visitors to come to Mui Wo. This beach of soft sand is great for sunbathing, for children to play with the sand, or to have a dip in the water without the risk of submerged rocks hurting your feet. Do check out the dragon boat that is parked on the beach next to the footpath, near the location of the marker.
10. The 5-cent bridge. When this bridge was first built, you had to pay a five cent toll to cross it. At the time it was the only bridge crossing the River Silver.
11. The Li House boundary stone. This stone was found near Chung Hau village in 1955, and it is believed to be from 1265, marking the boundary of the fief of Lee Mo Ying (1201-1257), consisting of 300 households. Markings on the stone mean “taxable land of the Li feudal estate”.
A second identical stone was found on nearby Man Kok Tsui in 1977, this stone is now in the Museum of History.
The tour ends at Mui Wo Ferry Pier, from where you can take ferries to Central, the inter-island ferry to the islands of Cheung Chau and Peng Chau and to Discovery Bay, or buses to Tung Chung, Ngong Ping and Tai O. When going to Central, try to catch an ordinary ferry. They take longer, but most of them have an open part at the stern which is great for viewing.