Every weekend, the fishing village of Tai O attracts plenty of visitors for its waterways, peaceful surroundings, and buzzing markets selling local snacks. A feature in many a Tai O Instagram shot are its iconic stilt houses built on the area’s tidal flats. A rarity in Hong Kong today, these houses were created over 200 years ago by the Tanka fishing folk, and have persisted through typhoons, landslides, and a diminishing village population.
The houses were originally crafted with pine bark, palm leaves and granite quarried from Chek Lap Kok. By the 1960s, this shifted to ironwood recovered from old fishing boats. Many feature ladders descending straight onto the water as well as bridges interconnecting them to one another, cultivating warmth and community among the villagers.