Lantau Island, on the mouth of the Pearl River, is the largest island in Hong Kong, and the sixth largest island in China. It's also referred to as Lantao Island. The old name given to the area by locals is Lantau Peak. The island is located 8 kilometers west of Hong Kong Island, but these two parts of the former British colony differ as heaven and earth. The reason is that, until recently, to be exact till the end of 1990s, Lantau was cut off from the continent and ferries were the only transport. HK Island has long been connected with Kowloon Peninsula by the network of road tunnels and MTR lines, and is not perceived as the piece of a land cut off from the continent. But in 1998, north of Lantau Island on Chek Lap Kok was built the state-of-the-art Hong Kong International Airport. Together with the new airport had to build a suspension bridge that connects the island and the New Territories, and the Tsing Ma Bridge was opened in May 1997. It was named after two of the islands that it connects, Tsing Yi and Ma Wan. The bridge is the part of Lantau Link, and has six lanes of automobile traffic and two rail tracks. Today, the island is easily accessible by land transport, such as cars, taxis, buses or MTR.
The biggest part of the island is part of the Islands District of Hong Kong. One small section of the island is located in Tsuen Wan District. The site was originally comprised of a group of fishing villages, but the region has changed drastically in the last several years with the construction of Lantau Link, Ngong Ping 360, the Hong Kong International Airport, and Hong Kong Disneyland. There's very little residential development on the island, and a lot of the island is made up of forest. Country parks occupy a significant part of the territory of the island.
Being twice the size of Hong Kong Island, the population of Lantau is tens times lower. Smaller communities are scattered all over the island; each with its own unique flair. Since the airport was built, north-western Lantau has been developed more, and most of the residents live in condominiums or high-rise buildings. Along the opposite coast in the south-eastern section of the island is Discovery Bay. This is a privately-owned complex with approximately 14,000 residents. It's known as an expatriate community, since the people living there come from 30 different countries.
Among the tourist attractions on Lantau Island are the Po Lin Monastery on the Ngong Ping Plateau. The largest seated outdoors Buddha, the Tian Tan Buddha, constructed of bronze, is located here. If you choose to walk up to the monastery, it takes about 2 hours. However, a cable car is available, and you can complete the trip in about 25 minutes. Ngong Ping 360 is a wonderful tourist attraction, in the form of a culturally-themed village. When touring the monastery, you will have the opportunity to dine at the excellent vegetarian restaurant located on the grounds.
Other attractions for tourists on Lantau Island include the Tung Chung Fort, which was built in 1817, the Trappist Haven Monastery, located at Tai Shui Hang, which is the home to Catholic monks, and the most famous of the island's attractions, Hong Kong Disneyland. The theme park features the themed regions that are part of the original Disneyland in California. They consist of Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland. Over 34,000 people visit the theme park each day, and three new themed areas will make the park even more popular with tourists.
Note: This information is for reference only and is subject to change without prior notice.