DISCLAIMER: There will be no sightings, whatsoever, of a giant dancing mouse in a tux in this entry. Please refrain from any form of regression or retardation.
Lantau Island is one of the recently re-promoted destinations in Hong Kong, one of the most popular spot in this island is (of course) Disney Land, which I missed during this trip. We opted going to the Tian Tan also known as the Big Buddha in Ngong Ping instead, the original pre-Disney attraction in this part of the country.
The cheaper way to go there is to take the bus bound to Tai O Village, where you literally have to go around Lantau Peak, that means 9 times the distance/travel time if you will take the shortcut which is the 360 Cable car from Tung Chung station. As thrill-seekers, we could have easily hopped into the bus but since there’s a storm signal when we arrived—of course we might as well get the dose of adrenalin rush so we decided to take the risk of traversing the mountains via glass boxes hanging on thin metal cable under storm signal number 1.
We’re not sure if it’s true, but we heard rumors that there were actually cable car accidents in the past where it dropped in the ocean. That thought even added up to our itching to try the ride, Wooohooo….
The 25-minute cable car ride to the Ngong Ping plateau is a must for Hong Kong first timers. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of Tung Chung bay, North Lantau Country Park and trek trail and a bird’s eye view of the international airport. The Ngong Ping ticket price is HK$105 which includes round trip fare via the cable car, traditional Chinese village gift voucher worth HK$20.
After passing the village, you will see the peak where the 34 metres (110 ft) tall, 250 metric ton-heavy Buddha is enshrined. We walked up the hill with Buddhist pilgrims and tourists alike. I don’t fully understand the veneration of the temple but simply climbing up the 268 steps is magnificent enough to feel the solemnity of the place.
We climbed the peak at exactly 12 noon so the overcast sky is still hot plus the pre-storm humidity definitely made our trek an “armpit bubbling” experience
Walk few more meters from the stair landing and you’ll find the Po Lin Monastery where visitors burn incense and pray. Right beside it is the (you guessed it) Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant, meals cost between HK$40-60 . And since our budget is limited, we decided to fulfill our caffeine craving instead. YES–there’s a Starbucks in Ngong Ping Village. Bought few dumplings and sweet treats using the gift vouchers with a grande frapuccino and we are SOLVED for the day!
Getting There: Getting to Ngong Ping Village by public transport is also possible. From Tung Chung town, you can take bus No. 23. From Tai O village, bus No. 21 and from Mui Wo Ferry, bus No. 2. The New Lantao Bus Company currently offers a fairly interesting combo-ticket that gives you a one-way cable car ride up to Ngong Ping, as well as unlimited bus-rides on Lantau (for the same day) at a cost of HK$ 76. If you are planning to combine the visit to Ngong Ping with Tai O, Mui Wo and some other places, buying such a ticket can be a good idea…
The ticket can be purchased at the Tung Chung Bus-Terminal, right next to the entrance to the cable car station (the booth is located right next to the escalator the climbs to the Cable Car Station)
Ngong Ping Village. Tel: 2985 5248. Opens: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM Daily