When we planned for Hong Kong vacation. I wanted to visit Tian Tan Buddha the most. But Mr. Fabulous was there for business and this place need a major part of day. So, we waited for the weekends to explore the place. I was surely an adventure we enjoyed thoroughly. I can add, Penguin enjoyed the most. Weather was great that morning, clear skies. So, we hopped MTR, took cable car and walked a while to have a glimpse of the Hong Kong’s must visit place.
Po Lin monastery and Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha) is situated in remote island of Lantau. The statue was erected in 1993. The majestic bronze Buddha is sitting 34 meters high, which took 12 years to complete. The Tian Tan Buddha is a statue of Amoghasiddhi Buddha who represents the wisdom of perfect practice and overcoming the poison of envy. In one stop, one can experience Ngong Ping 360º cable car, a tourism village, a monastery, the huge Buddha statue and Tai O- Village, a fishing village. We skipped the last one as Penguin was exhausted.
How to reach there
We took MTR and reached Tung Chung station. Taking exit B, we walked for around 20 mins and boarded Ngong Ping cable car.
You can alternatively choose to get on New Lantau bus 23 from Tung Chung town centre. Or hop on a ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then get on New Lantau bus 2 to Ngong Ping village.
Things you need for the trip
There are shops and eatery places with variety options at Citygate Outlets at the end of Tung Chung MTR line. Further you can enjoy entertainment, shopping and food in Ngong Ping village. There are 2 vegetarian restaurants in the village too. So, vegetarian can travel without loading snacks. However, you much have your 5 essentials with you all the time. Interested? Read – “5 essentials you need for your Hong Kong vacation”.
Ngong Ping Cable Car
Tung Chung has good options to reach Lantau island, one can take public bus or cable car from Tung Chung square. We opted for Ngong Ping cable car, the sky-land-sea Lantau adventure. The 5.7 km cable car journey in naturally ventilated cabins is a panoramic treat. It gives great view of Tung Chung Bay, the Hong Kong International Airport, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, Ngong Ping plateau, Big Buddha, as well as flora and fauna of Lantau North. It takes about 25 minutes to complete the journey. One can choose standard cabin or even private one, we picked crystal one with glass bottom.
We were lucky to visit in a clear day, the moment of watching Big Buddha from cabin is spectacular.
Ngong Ping village
We entered the traditional Chinese cultural themed Ngong Ping village as soon as we alight. It is a 1.5 hectares village located next to Ngong Ping cable car terminal and the Big Buddha. One can visit four themed attractions, taste wide range of cuisines and shop exquisite gifts. I liked the spiritual chants vibrating in the village. The antiquity, architecture and landscaped designs of village make great backdrop of instagrammable pictures.
One can also enjoy virtual reality VR 360, motion 360 experience.
The Big Buddha
Walking from the village towards mountain on right, the world’s second largest outdoor bronze seated Buddha statue sitting atop Muk Yue Shan. If you are travelling like us, with a toddler like Penguin, pack your baby carrier. As the climb to Tian Tan Buddha has 268 steps. Mr. Fabulous wore Penguin in our Soul Sling baby carrier, both reached top before me.
Once you reach the top, the observing platform gives awesome view of Lantau island around the statue. Surrounding Big Buddha are six smaller bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas” that are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. There is small display museum at the base where details about the statue and about its construction with few scriptures. We spent more time enjoying the view. Our 2 years old ran around the platform. He was exhausted and I breastfed him in carrier while climbing down.
At the base of Big Buddha, just before the stairs, counters are available which sell tickets for vegetarian meal and snacks tickets at Po Lin Monastery.
If you can, go for the Wisdom Path walk. You can witness greenery under canopy of tree. The Wisdom Path is a series of 38 steles, upright monuments, engraved with Chinese version of the centuries-old Heart Sutra prayer, one of the world’s best-known prayers revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike. These steles display the Chinese version of the prayer, based on the calligraphy of famous contemporary scholar Professor Jao Tsung-I, and are arranged in a ∞ pattern, which represents infinity. It’s said to be very peaceful to walk through. With an exhausted toddler we had given it a miss too. Things that happen with parents and kids during vacation, sigh!
Po Lin Monastery
You can book the meal tickets from hotel too, ask for lunch in VIP room if want. The meals are said to be delicious, but we had to skip it this time. Unfortunate us! ☹
If you are travelling from airport to Tian Tan Buddha or other way round, you can of course carry your luggage to 268 steps. Opps, but you can’t take cable car with luggage above 4kilos, so take bus. Or, be smart. Wink! There is “Left luggage” service at Tung Chung cable car terminal and Holidays 360 information center at Ngong Ping village. Check storage fees before planning the trip.
You can even try “Left luggage” desk in Hong Kong or Kowloon stations. Leave your luggage in these stations and collect it directly at Hong Kong International airport.
Remember to have fun.