Exploring Lantau Island, Hong Kong: What to See and What to Do

When you are on a trip with high-spirited travel buddies, you feel like time runs so fast. So what you will do is to soak up the remaining vacation vibes and savor every morsel of time. For our last day in Hong Kong, me and my office mates (Team Finance) will visit a traditional village in Ngong Ping area in Lantau Island.  We will immerse ourselves in a relaxing tour where the natural environment, custom and culture of the island are still richly preserved. We will start our exciting trip in riding the crystal cable car. And so here we go!

the imposing Tian Tian Buddha

the imposing Tian Tian Buddha

Places of Interest:

  • Nong Ping Village
  • Tian Tian Buddha (The Giant Buddha)
  • Po Lin Monastery
  • Ngong Ping Piazza
  • Wisdom of Path

NGONG PING 360 CABLE CAR 

Ngong Ping 360, a subsidiary of the MTR Corporation is a gondola lift that runs from Tung Chung to Lantau Island. Behind the amazing feat in the development of the project is the preservation of the North Lantau Country Park. With its minimal environmental impact, the visitors can purely enjoy the scenic view in getting to Ngong Ping area.

the Hong Kong International Airport as seen from the Crystal Cabin

the Hong Kong International Airport as seen from the Crystal Cabin

My friend Amie accompanied me in my first visit in Ngong Ping Village. Cable car service was closed for scheduled maintenance that time so we boarded the bus in getting to the village. But still, the forty-five minute-trip in a sinuous road that resembled the Kennon Road of Baguio was a memorable experience for me.

Liz, Joan and Ferose... their happy faces

Liz, Joan and Ferose… their happy faces

My second visit was a blast because majority of us favored riding the cable car and voted for the Crystal Cabin tour. I was so happy because we will be seeing the nature side of Hong Kong. I booked our round trip tickets through Klook for Php1,228.00 only (HK$186.00)

Ms. Glo, Ann and Me... our happy faces during the cable car ride :)

Ms. Glo, Ann and Me… our happy faces during the cable car ride :)

~The ride~

It was a downcast morning but thank God there was a light rain only and we were able to feast our eyes on the wondrous sight from a bird’s eye view. There we saw a picturesque view of the Hong Kong International Airport, the rugged terrain of North Lantau Island Park, Tun Chung Bay and the South China Sea.

Me and the glass bottom of the Crystal Cabin ... it isn't scary... you better try it too!

Me and the glass bottom of the Crystal Cabin … it isn’t scary… you better try it too!

I had fear of heights but honestly, it wasn’t scary looking down because right underneath our feet were a picturesque view of an open sea and verdant terrain. The journey took us around twenty five minutes from Tung Chung Town Centre to Ngong Ping on Lantau Island.

the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car station in Lantau Island

the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car station in Lantau Island

We were busy taking photos, laughing and looking at the scenery that before we knew it, we were already approaching the Ngong Ping Cable Car Station.

Fun facts:

  • Ngong Ping Cable Car is the longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia where you will visually enjoy a 5.7 km journey.
  • Ngong Ping 360 was officially opened on September 18, 2006

The Cable Cars:

  • Standard Cabin – the cheapest and the smallest among the cable cars
  • Crystal Cabin – from the glass bottom visitors may feast their eyes of the rugged terrain and boundless sea
  • Private Cabin – may enjoy a queue-free ticketing service and priority boarding

Opening Hours:

  • 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mondays-Fridays
  • 9:00am to 6:30pm, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays
  • The opening hours of Ngong Ping 360 is subject to change due to inclement weather.

Tips:

Before you book on line through Klook please visit Ngong Ping 360 website to be sure your desired date of visit is not scheduled for maintenance.

Address: 11 Tat Tung Road, Tung Chung, Lantau, Hong Kong

NGONG PING VILLAGE

The starting point to explore Lantau Island coming from bus terminal and Ngong Ping Cable Car Station is in Ngong Ping Village. This 1.5 hectare island boasts of several “must-see” attractions like the Tian Tan Buddha (The Big Buddha), Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping Piazza and Wisdom Path.

getting ready to explore the Ngong Ping area

getting ready to explore the Ngong Ping area

Ngong Ping Village is a small village created and landscaped with typical Chinese cultural theme.The village houses restaurants, shops, cafes and provides entertainment to visitors. When we got there, the area was already crowded but we enjoyed taking photos. In fact, there are many Instagram-worthy spots in the village.

the village and the crowd

the village and the crowd

Opening Hours:

  • 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mondays-Fridays
  • 9:00am to 6:30pm, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays

TIAN TIAN BUDDHA

For me, the most imposing sight to visit in Ngong Ping is none other than the Tian Tia Buddha which is also known as the Big Buddha. It is the bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, the second largest sitting Buddha in the world. It symbolizes the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith.

I have no clear photo of the Big Buddha, but anyway I was delighted of our tour in this tourist spot

I have no clear photo of the Big Buddha, but anyway I was delighted of our tour in this tourist spot

Everyone was excited to take the 268 steps in getting to the statue. On top there were six small bronze statues known as the “Offering of the Devas”. They were facing the Buddha offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit and music which represents generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation and wisdom.

the Offering of the Devas

the Offering of the Devas

We savored looking at the picturesque view of the Lantau Island. It was mesmerizing to see this relaxing wonder while embracing the cool atmosphere. Below the Big Buddha are three floors where you can go inside if you purchase an offering. We just went to the entry-free hall where we looked for the Buddhist items on the display stand.

the foggy view of the Lantau Island

the foggy view of the Lantau Island

It may be tiring to go up to the statue but just take it easy. There are several landings so you can rest a bit and take photos.

I'm ready to take the 268 steps in getting to the Big Buddha

I’m ready to take the 268 steps in getting to the Big Buddha

Facts about Tian Tian Buddha:

  1. The Big Buddha is seated on an enormous lotus flower which is considered a pure flower for Buddhism.
  2. Buddha’s right hand is raised representing the removal of affliction whereas the left hand rests on the lap, a gesture of generosity.
  3. The statue is about 112 feet tall (34 meters) and weighs over 250 metric tons.
  4. Construction started in 1990 and finished on December 29, 1993.

Opening Hours:

  • 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mondays-Fridays
  • 9:00am to 6:30pm, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays

PO LIN MONASTERY

Right after our visit at Tian Tian Buddha we head off to Po Lin Monastery which is few distances away only. This another must-visit attraction in Lantau Island is a major Buddhist establishment in Hong Kong. The monastery was founded in 1906 by three monks coming from Jiangsu Province on the Chinese mainland. This was known as “The Big Hut” and in 1924 was replaced to its present name.

the marvelous architecture of Po Lin Monastery

the marvelous architecture of Po Lin Monastery

This is my second visit in the monastery, but just like the first time, I was still awed by the architecture of Po Lin Monastery. It was striking and colorful. We toured inside and saw several Buddhist scriptures and the three bronze Buddha statues on the main temple. Later we stayed on the huge ground for photo ops. We observed a lot of worshipers praying after they lighted the giant joss sticks.

after taking the tour inside the monastery

after taking the tour inside the monastery

Opening Hours:

  • 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mondays-Fridays
  • 9:00am to 6:30pm, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays

NGONG PING PIAZZA

After a ride from the Crystal Cabin or from a bus and a walk at Ngong Ping Village, the next attraction to visit in Ngong Ping area is the Ngong Ping Piazza. This is where the visitors will start their tour and be amazed of what this area has to offer.

you have to enter first the Pai Lau in getting to Ngong Ping Piazza

you have to enter first the Pai Lau in getting to Ngong Ping Piazza

Before we head on to Ngong Ping Piazza, we entered the Pai Lau, a gateway made entirely from a traditional style of Chinese architecture. From there we walked on the paved gray tiles of Bodi Path, a 120-meter long pathway. It has the stone statues “Twelve Divine Generals”, which represents the twelve generals, the protectors of Healing Buddha. Aside from the stone warriors there are also the 40 lotus-shaped stone lanterns on each side of the pathway.

the gray pathway and the Generals

the gray pathway and the Generals

At the end of the path is Di Tan, the four lotus ponds, the venue where the religious rituals are held. Beside it is another Pai Lau, a gateway in getting to Po Lin Monastery.

the Pai Lau and the Finance Team

the Pai Lau and the Finance Team

Opening Hours:

  • 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mondays-Fridays
  • 9:00am to 6:30pm, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays

~Good-bye Ngong Ping~

We spent around four hours exploring the village. It’s good that it was a chilly morning so we had a wonderful time strolling around. Before we go back to the cable car station, we stopped in a small eatery near the Pai Lau and feasted on a street food. Later, there we saw a cow roaming around. It was so tame that tourists got busy taking picture of it. In the Philippines, dogs are our usual visitor, but in Lantau, it’s a cow! Hahaha!

munching a yummy food

munching a yummy food

We did not visit Wisdom of Path anymore because rain may fall anytime. If you visit Hong Kong, allot a day exploring Lantau Island. Aside from the photo opportunities, the nature side of the city will make you want to visit again with another set of travel buddies.

yummy and cheap snack

yummy and cheap snack

I guess the tame cow was already used to visitors that's why it didn't mind being taken a photo

I guess the tame cow was already used to visitors that’s why it didn’t mind being taken a photo

Like I did!

glad to meet these couple from Mexico

glad to meet these couple from Mexico

How To Get There:

  • By MTR to Tung Chung Station, Exit B. The cable car terminal is located adjacent to the station
  • By bus to Tung Chung: E11, E21, E23, E31, E32, E33, E34, E41, E42, 1R, S1, 2, 21, 23
  • By private van transfer, you may book at Klook: Hong Kong Attraction Transfers.

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