Quieter Side of HK, Lamma Island

Of all the things that someone typically hears about from people who visit Hong Kong, Lamma Island 南丫島 is a name that probably doesn't come up frequently. It is a place that can only be reached by ferry. It is an area where cars, vehicles, and metros do not run. It is a spot where bicycles and human leg strength are the only modes of transport on the island.

Everything about Lamma Island screams quiet, tranquil, and relaxed: small population, surrounded by nature and water, and not heavily commercialized. The seemingly perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the international metropolis that is Hong Kong.

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island ferry

The ferry ride from Central to the island's most northern pier is short and inexpensive. Yung Shue Wan is the alighting point most prefer; most of the islands' residents and shops are located here. Sok Kwu Wan is another disembarking option that is located a little further south on the island.

Rows of fresh seafood restaurants greet visitors at both docks. Eating a rustic local seafood meal by the water would seem like an obvious choice. Peeling shrimp and picking at clam meat while hearing the tide swish in and out, how picturesque. (Prices could be expensive since it is a "tourist-y" activity.)

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island boats

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island boats dusk

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island neighborhood street

For the non-seafood lovers, the island is home to many expats who run restaurants and shops near Yung Shue Wan. For the frugal travelers, buy some to-go eats at a local cha chaan teng 茶餐廳 or from nearby bakeries before boarding the ferry over. There are plenty of public spaces on Lamma Island to have a picnic of sorts.

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island murallavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island pig mural

I hadn't a clue what to expect prior to visiting the island. The only times I have heard Lamma Island was in the few instances it came up in TVB shows I watched as a kid. Who knew it is supposedly a popular spot for expats to move to? Who knew a lot of the houses and villages there are pretty run-down and/or abandoned? Who knew, despite that, the island is still a little hipster-y and artsy?

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island walking map

The hiking trail is the one thing I discovered about Lamma Island and gladly accepted with open arms. Since I travel to eat, any extra "strenuous" activity is always much needed and very appreciated. The path is well paved and marked from one major pier to the other. It is estimated to be a 1 hour and 20-minute walk, via the orange course on the map above.

The marked paths on the map do not reach the tallest point on the island. But they aren't exactly brisk walks through the park either; there are plenty of steep uphills along the way. Even though I would recommend a good pair of walking shoes, it isn't a must. Heck, when I went I saw a trio of ladies in dresses and chunky heels hiking along the same path and sometimes at a faster pace than I could do.

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Islandlavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island handpainted signs

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island kid on scooterlavlilacs Hong Kong Lamma Island hiking

To some, the visit could be uneventful. Scruffy dogs wander about. Run-down looking homes sprinkled throughout. Views of water, fog, and the power plant are more typical. Air-conditioned mega malls are definitely not aplenty. But this little island has its charm. I wouldn't spend a full day here if I were to visit again. Half a day is just enough to explore and still be able to fully appreciate everything.

New Heights at Lantau Island

There are a few Must Do's on every tourists' Hong Kong itineraries: eating and shopping in Mongkok, viewing the HK skyline at Tsim Sha Tsui, and riding the cable car to Victoria Peak. Most visitors to the travel hub often stay in the main people hubs of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. There is never a shortage of places to visit and things to eat where the land is small but people are plenty.

Then there are those who venture out to a less populated, but still highly visited, Lantau Island 大嶼山. It's biggest attractions are without a doubt Disneyland and "Big Buddha" at Ngong Ping. Since it would have been less fun to visit Disney when I would be the only one excited, seeing the Tian Tian Buddha atop Lantau Island was an obvious choice at the time.

The MRT ride from Mongkok to the Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal takes around 1 hour; the cable car ride up to Ngong Ping is about 25 minutes. Even though I can handle riding a standard cable car, the cabins with the glass bottoms are really intimidating. The fear of falling through, no matter how unlikely, bested me of the experience. Plus. my Aunt could bearly stand the normal metal bottom cabin ride. Forget about the crystal clear one!

*As of this post, the cable car service is actually temporarily halted for repairs. Their website says it should be back in June 2017. The other way to get up to Ngong Ping Village would be via public bus, hiking, or maybe even by taxi. When service returns, it is best to plan ahead for the cable car and order online. The lines for day-of purchases can be over an hour wait. 

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping 360

If heights aren't a problem, I would definitely recommend taking the cable car during the day. The views of Hong Kong from up above and in the middle of the open water is something else entirely. Typical cable car routes ascend over mountains alone. I think that was the first time I was in one that floated above the waters as well as mountains. It was interesting being able to see little figures climb their way up Lantau Peak from up above whenever the cabin traveled closer to land.

Ngong Ping Village is not the highest point on Lantau Island. It is the dispersion site for all tourists who reach the themed village. A teahouse, 360 multimedia attractions, and chain restaurants are the first to greet visitors. A little further up the path will lead to the historical and cultural points of the area: Tian Tian "Big" Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. A separate steeper path, even further upwards, will lead to the somewhat secluded Wisdom Path where giant wooden pillars create an infinity symbol. Despite being someone who isn't religious and can't read the Chinese characters inscribed on the columns, it was still humbling to be in the presence of. Compared to the main attractions a little ways away, the area where the Wisdom Path is was quieter and more contemplative.

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping Big Tian Tian Buddha lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping Big Tian Tian Buddha stairs

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping Big Tian Tian Buddha closeup

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping mountain trail

Visiting the sites at the top of Lantau Island felt like a never ending trek up. Half-hour cable car, up. 268 steps to the Buddha, up. 15-minute walk to the Wisdom Path, up. The reward? Definitely the views of everything below. I didn't manage to climb up the tippy-top of the hill where the Wisdom Path columns were, but I think the panoramic scenery would have been even better.

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping mountain tofu pudding entrance

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping mountain tofu pudding bucket lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping mountain tofu pudding stand

lavlilacs Hong Kong Lantau Island Ngong Ping mountain tofu pudding

Mountain water tofu pudding 山水豆腐花 is a staple, I found, at the top of mountain trails in Southern China. Well of the two that I went to; Lantau Peak and Baiyun Mountain. The stalls that sell these aren't glitzy. Plastic tables and stools are the norm. Handwritten and hand-painted signs add to its charm. Water from the mountains is supposed to be better, in some way. The tofu fa sits in deep wooden buckets waiting for the next customer before it is scooped and served.

I forgot if the lady gave me the bowls with the sweetener already added or if I was able to add it myself. The simple syrup and sugar used in Guangzhou and Hong Kong felt different from any time I have ever had in New York City. The syrup tasted a tinge spicy, perhaps due to ginger. The sugar had a distinct orangey-brown hue; the tastes weren't any different but it visually was more intriguing. The tofu was very soft and smooth. It was the best treat on a hot humid day. Don't go for the cookie cutter shops near the cable car terminal. Look for the little food stands near the Big Buddha instead!

tria Hair Removal Laser 4X & SmoothStart Calming Gel - 3 Months

Because tria Beauty guarantees 90-day results on their website, or they will offer your money back, this 3-month update should be very telling as to whether or not I am in love with, apprehensive of, or disappointed at the tria Hair Removal Laser 4X.

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 12 Weeks

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 14 Weeks, 3 months

My wishful hopes, at this stage, were to see mindblowing results wherever I lasered with the tria system. More realistically, though, I would have just been happy to see any kind of difference. This is an at home, self-administered treatment and not a professional service.

There could be many reasons why my results aren't as drastic as others. For one, the laser beam in the 4X isn't supposed to be as strong the ones at the spas/salons. The laser's treatment window also isn't as wide (I preassume) as those owned by the pros. Since I am handling the zaps myself, it is highly possible that I made some human errors and missed spots here and there. It is really really difficult to keep track of the exact spot where I lasered and to remember to overlap it by half the circle the next zapping. The hairs on the various parts of my body could even just be the really persistent type.

So far I have personally done 7 treatments in the past 3 months. 1 treatment was done at energy level 3, another 1 at level 4, and 5 were conducted at the maximum level of 5. About half of the 7 sessions were done in conjunction with the SmoothStart Calming Gel and the rest without.

tria's website says many customers see results after 8 treatments, which equates to about 16 weeks of bi-weekly at-home laser sessions. The company mentions that "skin tone, hair color, body part, treatment level, and other factors" could affect the outcomes of hair regrowth. There could be a substantial reduction of hair to a little to even no reaction at all. Keeping all this in mind, perhaps this serves as a reminder as to why I am seeing such varying results in the different body parts I have been treating for the past few months.

I have included the BEFORE photos I first shared in this post as well to serve as an easier comparison since the company states there should be results at this point in the process.

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 12 Weeks Closeup

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 14 Weeks, 3 months Closeup

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair Closeup Before

Upper lips.

Another month of treatment has gone by and I cannot say I am excited at the results in the upper lip area. There seems to be no change in the amount or length of hairs that are growing back.  If not for the new and fading acne, it would have been difficult to tell that those photos were taken weeks apart. Since I have come this far, I am willing to continue zapping the area for a couple more months. However, I am considering the possibility that the tria laser just might not work as well on finer hairs.

tria Hair Removal Laser Armpits Hair 12 Weeks

tria Hair Removal Laser Armpits Hair 14 Weeks, 3 months

tria Hair Removal Laser Armpits Hair Before


Although my pits are not 100% hair-free after 3 months of lasering, I am almost confident in saying the at home laser was worth it, to me, just by looking at the current results here. The underarms are the most promising thus far.

I am going to sound like a broken record by saying the hairs are growing finer and slower, but it really is! In-grown hairs also aren't as problematic on either armpit now. The inflammation on the crevices of my underarms in the BEFORE shot are all places where in-grown hairs were very prone to recur 14 weeks prior. Now the redness and puffiness are almost all gone. There were a few occasions where I have even seen random armpit hairs lying around my pits after a scrub down in the shower. Maybe those were the dead hair follicles tria mentions? Overall, it seems this is a success.

tria Hair Removal Laser Knuckle Hair 12 Weeks

tria Hair Removal Laser Knuckle Hair 14 Weeks, 3 months

tria Hair Removal Laser Knuckle Hair Before

Knuckle hairs.

My knuckle hairs do not seem to be reacting to the laser treatments. The little strands of hair I shaved off with an eyebrow razor every two weeks seem to creep back out regularly despite the zaps. Since this area was not the main highlight of my hair removal journey, I can't say I am overly disappointed. It would have been great if there were results, but not devasting. Like with the upper lip area, I will continue to laser this part of my body for another couple months just to give the tria system a more thorough chance.

I can't say that I am completely and utterly in love with the tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, not just yet anyway. It did show some good results. But because I know that as with skincare and makeup, the device can work differently for everyone, I am not entirely apprehensive of the handheld machine either. The most I can do is give it longer chance and commit myself to doing some more treatments. Afterward, I may stop the treatment and hair shaving for some time to observe the resulting hair regrowth. This may be the best way to test how well the hair removal system worked. I have not decided how many more months I will continue to treat the hairs, but I will definitely keep record and update until then, as always.