Tai O has been a fishing village since the Ming Dynasty. Once home to 30,000 people, its population has shrunk over time although they are still famous for traditional fisheries-related foods such as shrimp paste and salted fish. Residents live in stilt houses above the water to facilitate their work as well as to protect from floods.
The area's tranquility has somewhat been overshadowed by massive infrastructure projects offshore, including the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge and the airport's 3rd runway construction now under way.
At this end of town, facing the Pearl River, the Tai O Heritage Hotel was previously the marine police station. Built in 1902, the patrol post ended operations in 2002 and the site was revitalized and into a 9-room hotel in 2012.