Do you have plans to go overseas but you have to transit in Hong Kong first? It would be great if you plan to travel for a half day trip. You can take advantage of that by strolling around the city and visiting one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, which is located in Ngong Ping.
As most people know, Ngong Ping is a place worth seeing in Hong Kong sited on Lantau Island. It has numerous cool tourist attractions such as Hong Kong Disneyland, Ngong Ping Village, Po Lin Monastery, and the one that I’ve experienced, Tian Tan Buddha.
Based on the Ngong Ping 360 site, this bronze statue is placed on the peak of Mount Muk Yue, facing north where the city Beijing is. Tian Tan Buddha depicts Siddhartha sitting cross-legged on a lotus flower, with his right hand showing an “Abhaya Mudra” (it means providing protection and peace, and compassion) and the left hand in a “Varada Mudra” (symbolizes blessings from the highest).
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THE GIANT BUDDHA
When you first set foot in this large statue area, you will be greeted with the stunning mountain scenery of Ngong Ping. You have to climb 268 steps to enjoy more of the breathtaking panorama. Luckily, I went there in winter and the wind was quite strong, so I didn’t feel tired at all when I got to the top.
Right below the statue, there is a room displaying Buddhist relics. Yes, you can enter it yet prohibited to take photos. There are plenty of shops that sell souvenirs such as miniature Buddha statues, amulets, and refrigerator magnets.
PO LIN MONASTERY AND NGONG PING VILLAGE
Do you still have time transit in Hong Kong? Without further ado, let’s continue your journey to Po Lin Monastery and Ngong Ping Village, which are still in the same location as Tian Tan Buddha.
In Po Lin Monastery, some areas of the building can only be entered by monks, and to respect them, you have to wear appropriate clothes. It was very quiet when I visited there. This is a place of prayer actually, but apart from that, you can see statues of gods and goddesses clad in gold.
If you truly love taking pictures, Wisdom Path would be the right place to snap some selfies. It’s a path with Buddhist sacred texts in the Heart Sutra carved into several tree trunks. This area is a bit uphill yet not too far from Po Lin Monastery. Just follow the road signs!
Next, if you want to go to Ngong Ping Village you have to exit the main gate. I like the atmosphere here. There are lots of cute decorations without alienating the original culture. You can also visit the gift shops for souvenirs and have a culinary tour. Just go to Starbuck within reach whether you miss the taste of coffee.
HOW TO GET TO NGONG PING
Some things you need to know, all transports start at Tung Chung Station. It’s only 15 minutes from the airport if you take the MTR (Mass Transit Railway).
Ngong Ping Cable Car
If you’re looking for a little adrenaline rush, select ‘Crystal Cabin’ cable cars that have see-through floors. You’ll be carried away by the view of the mountains and South China Sea. Travel time using a cable car is faster, around 25 minutes. For a one-way ride, you’ll be charged HKD215.
There are three types of cable cars that you can try:
- Standard Cabin – as the name implies, it only provides standard facilities. You have to queue and the floor is not transparent.
- Crystal Cabin – Just like a standard cabin, you need to queue for your turn. But the advantage of choosing this cable car, you can enjoy the mountain and the sea scenery through a see-through floor.
For those who hate waiting or don’t want to queue, you should book a Private Cabin. Some people said the queue at Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal could take up to 1-2 hours. But yeah, the price is more costly.
How to get to Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal? First, you have to look for the bus terminal at Hong Kong International Airport. From there take a bus number 22A to Tung Chung Station (For one way fare around HKD3.5). After that, exit the station and walk to the cable car terminal.
Cable cars might be super expensive for backpackers. Luckily you can always take a city bus to Ngong Ping. Sure, the trip is longer – about an hour and you will pass a winding road filled with trees. In my opinion, the scenery is quite breathtaking!
The bus ticket costs only HKD35 one way and takes you directly in front of Ngong Ping. Just like I have mentioned above, first, you need to take bus number 22A to Tung Chung Station. Then take bus number 23 towards Ngong Ping (one-way fare HKD35). All you have to do is sit down until the last drop.
I paid with the Octopus Card (e-money in Hong Kong) to make it more convenient. Since you’re only for transit, I suggest you buy tickets at the counter with cash or credit card because it is more profitable. After going to Ngong Ping, you may not only want to transit in Hong Kong for one or two days.