Like the Peak Tram and Sky Terrace 428, Ngong Ping 360 and Tian Tan Buddha are two of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions. They’re also inseperable. Like the tram and terrace, you can’t do one without the other. You take the cable car to see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, just like you would the Peak Tram up to the Sky Terrace and Victoria Peak. Coincidentally, both are known for some pretty spectacular views.
We were in town to check out Michelin Hong Kong’s street food recommendations so we didn’t plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, but a day exploring Lantau Island was something we didn’t want to miss. It’s a must for any first-time visitor to Hong Kong.
Ngong Ping 360
Often cited as one of the world’s best cable car rides, Ngong Ping 360 is a 5.7 km long ride that takes you from Tung Chung to Lantau Island. Unlike the mainland, Lantau Island is largely undeveloped and covered in lush greenery. It’s a popular hiking spot for locals and makes for a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.
You have two options of cable car — the Standard Cabin or this Crystal Cabin. The latter has a glass bottom that gives you awesome views of the bay and countryside. If it’s your first time to Lantau Island on Ngong Ping 360, then I suggest taking the Crystal Cabin. The Standard Cabin costs HKD 130 for a single trip while the Crystal Cabin goes for HKD 180 (adults).
The ride takes around 25 minutes from end to end, which as you can tell, was very thrilling for Ren. 😆
You can buy cable car tickets at the gate but you can get a discount if you purchase Ngong Ping 360 tickets in advance from Klook. That’s what we did.
Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong
11 Tat Tung Road, Tung Chung, Lantau, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3666 0606
Fax: +852 2109 9179
Email: [email protected]
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri, 10AM-6PM / Sun, 9AM-6:30PM
STANDARD CABIN: HKD 145 — Adult / HKD 70 — Child (3-11) / HKD 95 – Senior (65+)
CRYSTAL CABIN: HKD 200 — Adult / HKD 130 — Child (3-11) / HKD 150 – Senior (65+)
STANDARD CABIN: HKD 210 — Adult / HKD 100 — Child (3-11) / HKD 140 – Senior (65+)
CRYSTAL CABIN: HKD 290 — Adult / HKD 180 — Child (3-11) / HKD 220 – Senior (65+)
1+1 STANDARD & CRYSTAL CABIN: HKD 265 — Adult / HKD 155 — Child (3-11) / HKD 195 – Senior (65+)
Ngong Ping Village & Tian Tan Buddha
The cable car will take you to Ngong Ping Village. It’s a touristy area with plenty of shops and cafes. There’s the Big Buddha in the distance.
Making my way to Ngong Ping Plaza and the Big Buddha.
“The path to enlightenment is that way.”
“Yup, it’s over here. Peace man.”
The last time I was here was almost 30 years ago and I haven’t forgotten these 268 steps. 😆
And so we meet again my old friend. Comprised of 202 bronze pieces, the statue stands (or sits?) 34 meters (112 ft) tall and weighs over 250 tons. As you can see, the Buddha’s right hand is raised to signify the removal of affliction. The left is open and rests on his lap in a gesture of generosity.
View from the top. Po Lin Monastery is down there somewhere. I had my first vegetarian experience at the monastery 30 years ago.
Three of six smaller bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas”. They’re posed offering flowers, incense, a lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to symbolize the Six Perfections. The Six Perfections are generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment.
At the base of the statue are three floors housing the halls of the Universe, Benevolent Merit, and Remembrance. I think you need to purchase an offering to go inside.
Tai O Fishing Village
Tai O Fishing Village is a short bus ride away from Ngong Ping. You’ll need to take Bus 21 to get there. The fare is HKD 6.30 from Monday to Saturday and HKD 13 on Sundays and public holidays. If you have an Octopus card, then you can use it on Lantau Island buses as well.
Tai O is a quaint fishing village with shops selling mostly dried seafood and souvenirs. From what I’ve read, it’s a dying village. The youth aren’t interested in a fishing lifestyle anymore so many move away when they come of age. Can’t say I blame them. 🙁
Trays of dried fish and fish parts
Some dried shrimp and oysters
Not sure what’s on that central tray but I think I overheard a woman say they’re dried fish stomachs. She made it sound like they’re choice items that fetch a good price.
More dried fish
Most of the stalls sell dried fish but a few offer live seafood.
Porcupine fish ornaments. They were even selling smaller ones as keychains. 🙁
Many tourists come to Tai O to go on these boating trips hoping to see Chinese white dolphins (Sousa chinensis). They’re a species of pinkish-white dolphins found in these waters. Based on a few blog posts I’ve read, the chances of actually seeing any are pretty slim. Dolphins, from what I understand, feed at dusk and dawn so spotting them midday is a rarity.
Community of stilted houses
You can explore the village but people still live here so remember to be respectful and keep your voices down.
One of the dolphin watching trips coming in to dock.
Boots hanging out to dry
A fisherman sun-drying the day’s catch.
I had read about the street food in Tai O so that’s what I was really excited about. Pictured here are spicy cuttlefish curry and fish balls. 😈
Ren proudly showing off my spicy balls. My spicy CUTTLEFISH balls. 😆 These were so good. A stick of three went for HKD 14.
Balls aren’t your thing? Then you can have chopped cuttlefish instead!
Check out the size of those chunks! These were really good too. We paid HKD 45 for this cup.
Now that we had our appetizers, it was time for lunch. This little stand was selling all kinds of fresh and dried seafood.
Lobsters with cheese!
Grilling up our scallop, skewered beef, and chicken wing.
Flame-torched beef yo! This reminded me of the delicious flame-torched beef we had at Raohe Night Market in Taiwan a couple of years ago.
Grilled chicken wing
Grilled scallops swimming in garlic
Grilled oyster also swimming in garlic
Grilled fish roe
Skewered chicken, squid, and beef
And of course, the lobster with cheese!
The claw! As expected, the lobster was the most expensive, at HKD 90 for half if I remember correctly. Everything else ranged in price from about HKD 15-30 or so. Not exactly cheap but not super expensive either.
A short video I made of today’s adventure on Lantau Island. Sorry for the shakiness in some parts. I’m new to videos and only now realizing the importance of stabilization. I’ll get a gimbal for my GoPro soon to bring you better videos. 🙂
As described up top, Lantau Island is a must if it’s your first time in Hong Kong. I know it’s tempting to spend all your time shopping and eating but be sure to allocate at least half a day to this island. As you can see from this post, there’s a lot to do here and your Hong Kong trip won’t be complete without it.
We didn’t do it today but you may want to have a vegetarian lunch at Po Lin Monastery as well. They’ve become rather famous for it and I remember liking it very much when I ate there 30 years ago. 🙂
How to Get There
There are three ways to visit the places mentioned in this post. The first two assume you’d like to ride the cable car just once. It’s pricier than taking the bus so some people may want to ride it either just entering or leaving the island. The third is for people who want to do the cable car roundtrip.
Remember that you can buy discount tickets to Ngong Ping 360 through Klook and that Octopus cards are accepted on all Lantau Island buses.
TUNG CHUNG – NGONG PING – TAI O – TUNG CHUNG
Take the MTR to Tung Chung station (Exit B). Walk to Ngong Ping 360. Take the cable car to Ngong Ping Village and Tiang Tan Buddha. From Ngong Ping Village, take Bus 21 to Tai O Village. (Fare – HKD 6.30 [Mon-Sat], HKD 13 [Sun, public holidays]) From Tai O, take Bus 11 back to Tung Chung. (Fare – HKD 11 [Mon-Sat], HKD 18 [Sun, public holidays])
TUNG CHUNG – TAI O – NGONG PING – TUNG CHUNG
Take the MTR to Tung Chung station (Exit B). Walk to the bus station. Take Bus 11 to Tai O Village. (Fare – HKD 11 [Mon-Sat], HKD 18 [Sun, public holidays]) From Tai O, take Bus 21 to Ngong Ping Village. (Fare – HKD 6.30 [Mon-Sat], HKD 13 [Sun, public holidays]) From Ngong Ping, take the cable car back to Tung Chung.
TUNG CHUNG – NGONG PING – TAI O – NGONG PING – TUNG CHUNG
Take the MTR to Tung Chung station (Exit B). Walk to Ngong Ping 360. Take the cable car to Ngong Ping Village and Tiang Tan Buddha. From Ngong Ping Village, take Bus 21 to Tai O Village. (Fare – HKD 6.30 [Mon-Sat], HKD 13 [Sun, public holidays]). From Tai O, take Bus 21 back to Ngong Ping Village. Take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car back to Tung Chung.
For travel tips to Hong Kong, check out our First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Hong Kong
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JB and Renée are the Traveleaters behind Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. They enjoy experiencing food from different cultures so they’ve made it their mission to try every country’s national dish. Read more about them and their National Dish Quest here.