For a change of pace from the hustle of Kowloon or the bustle of the Central District on Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island spreads its wealth across nearly 60 square miles. The largest of the Hong Kong Islands, Lantau has been ramping up its appeal as a destination for meeting groups and incentives.
Since 1998, Lantau has been home to Hong Kong International Airport. In more recent years, numerous meeting venues have sprouted up around the island, including AsiaWorld-Expo, which is integrated with the airport, Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland, which features a conference center.
Yet it is Lantau’s hilly surroundings that entice visitors. Dubbed the lungs of Hong Kong, Lantau features numerous green attractions, including Lantau South Country Park, the largest country park in Hong Kong and home to Hong Kong’s second-highest peak, Lantau.
Lantau Peak can best be seen from the Ngong Ping Cable Car, which spans 3.5 miles. Lantau’s cable car opened in 2006, significantly boosting access to the island’s main attractions.
“In 2010 there were 1.75 million visitors to Lantau, and prior to the cable car, about one-tenth that number,” says Angela Sue, manager of sales and distribution for Ngong Ping 360 Limited, which runs the cable car.
The 25-minute ride overlooks the South China Sea, the airport and Ngong Ping Plateau, before stopping near Ngong Ping Village.
“Groups might do a half-day meeting and host a private event in the evening, booking the village and cable car for private corporate functions,” Sue says.
At Ngong Ping Plateau, groups can climb the 268 steps to the world’s largest outdoor sitting bronze Buddha, Tian Tan Buddha, and follow with a vegetarian lunch at the 1924-built Po Lin Monastery.
Venues at the top can accommodate more than 200 indoors and up to 500 outdoors, with options for evening park buyouts. Tai Chi sessions and tree-planting programs are also an option.
Another unique Lantau destination, Tai O fishing village, is Hong Kong’s oldest and most authentic fishing village, according to Sue.
“Fishermen there still make their own nets and stay in stilt homes,” she says.
The H.K.Y.W.C.A. Tai O Cultural and Ecological Integrated Resource Centre offers village tours, visits to traditional homes and instruction on making fish nets, as well as clam gathering and shrimp fishing.
Earlier this year, the Tai O Heritage Hotel, a nine-room boutique hotel and heritage center, debuted in a historic police station developed by Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation. Access to the colonial-style hotel is by a scenic outdoor lift.
On the eastern side of the island, across from Disneyland, the Discovery Bay resort development is home to 18,000 residents. This year, Discovery Bay Resort and Spa will also open with 325 rooms and suites.
Other Discovery Bay venues include Club Siena, D Deck for dining and Discovery Bay Golf Club for golf tournaments.
“We also have private beaches,” Ho says, adding that they can be used for team-building events as well.
Meanwhile, The Bounty is Hong Kong’s only European tall ship, hosting groups of up to 60. Passengers can steer the ship and climb the soaring mast.
Ferries connect Hong Kong with Discovery Bay in 25 minutes. Groups can also charter a catamaran for 500.
Other options on Lantau include dolphin watching and trekking.