There is a huge, mud-covered buffalo, with impressive horns, standing in the middle of the road.
The driver of the 3M bus, which has just come from Tung Chung, honks his horn in annoyance, muttering under his breath in Cantonese, while the buffalo looks around, nonplussed. The passengers snicker and chuckle—this is just another normal day in Mui Wo, one of the last places in Hong Kong where wild herds of cows and buffalo rule the road.
Mui Wo wildlife
So how did they end up there, and why? The legend goes that decades ago when the Trappist Dairy of Lantau Island closed down, the staff simply let some of the cows go free. The buffalo, on the other hand, had been used in agriculture, to work the fields.
Today, the two groups of bovine buddies live quite happily in the lush green fields and hills of Mui Wo, much to the amusement of the residents, who are fond of their unique presence (even if it means dodging giant cow pats during their morning commute to the ferry).
You can walk around the villages to see these feral friends, but it’s best to rent a bike from one of the bike shops by the ferry pier.
A note of warning: Never, ever try to touch or feed the wild cows or buffalo as they will defend themselves if they feel threatened, and you do not want to feel the power of their massive horns!
Beyond bovines: What to do in Mui Wo
Mui Wo is so much more than just the shops around the ferry pier. Venture back—way back—towards the mountainside and you’ll find quaint villages with traditional three-storey buildings, a handful of mom-and-pop shops, and tiny temples.
Though you certainly can walk to see the sights, it’s better to rent a bike from one of the bike shops by the ferry pier, and take a scenic ride. As cars are not allowed in Mui Wo, everyone has a bicycle, or a tricycle to cart their kids around. There is a designated bike path from the ferry pier towards the town and up into the villages.
The wet fields and watering holes at Luk Tei Tong are a favourite for the buffalo. Luk Tei Tong village is also home to a stone watchtower, once used to keep watch for invading pirates.
Silvermine Falls and Silvermine Cave
Silvermine Cave is above the waterfall, up the steep steps on the paved footpath. Though the cave is not open to the public, you can see inside, somewhat.
From the waterfall it’s not far to Silvermine Beach, which has bathrooms, showers, picnic benches in the shade, and shops selling cold drinks and snacks. Cows love to congregate here in the evenings, and sometimes try to edge their way into the Silvermine Hotel (which is why they have to close the gate at dusk).
Where to eat and drink in Mui Wo
There are a number of popular restaurants around ‘downtown’ Mui Wo, by the ferry pier. A long-time favourite is the China Bear, a good old fashioned pub with tall pints and outdoor seating facing the bay.
Just behind it is Bahce, where an Istanbulite serves up authentic Turkish food that you’d never expect to find in a rural town in Hong Kong.
The Kitchen has massive thin-crust stone-oven pizzas and handmade pastas, and a nice patio to sit down outside.
A real must-try, though, is the Mui Wo Cooked Food Centre, next to the ferry pier. This eating area has a prime spot right on the waterfront, with amazing views of the beach and the mountains. There’s a huge menu of Cantonese food, but the Spiced Squid is especially famous, and best washed down with a cold Blue Girl.
If you’re there on the weekend, head all the way down the beach to the China Beach Club (18 Tung Wan Tau Rd, Lantau Island, Hong Kong), which has an excellent seaview from the patio, and takeaway mojitos
Where to stay in Mui Wo
There’s one big hotel in Mui Wo—the Silvermine Beach Resort—which is a wee bit old but has a great location directly on the beach, an expansive patio with a bar, plus an outdoor swimming pool.
Closeby is the Seaview Holiday Resort, which was recently renovated and is also right on the beach front.
Airbnbs are easy to find in Mui Wo, with many right on the beach, and others up in the villages.
Back to the ferry
From the beach, you can see the ferry terminal to take you back to Hong Kong Island, but keep an eye on the ferry schedule and try not to miss your boat.
If you do miss your boat, however, simply take a seat at the local Cooked Food Market next to the ferry pier and have some excellent Cantonese food. The restaurant in the middle, Wah Kee Seafood, is a favourite, and a must-try is their specialty, the spiced squid.
Another popular option for killing time while you wait for the ferry is to hit up the previously mentioned China Bear, Mui Wo’s favorite watering hole. Once you see the ferry come round the corner, you have just enough time to finish your pint, pay the bill, and dash for the boat.
Getting to Mui Wo
There are a few ways to get to Mui Wo:
New World Fast Ferry operates to and from Central Pier #6 with fast ferries (30 minutes) and slow ferries (cheaper, but 50 minutes; you can take bikes and dogs on the slow ferry)
New Lantau Bus has three routes to/from Mui Wo:
Only blue taxis can operate in South Lantau. If you can’t find one, call 852-2984-1328 to request a pick up
By kai to
Peng Chau Kaito company runs a small kai to passenger boat from Discovery Bay and Peng Chau.
This article was originally published in June 2019. Last updated: August 20, 2021.