Usually when you arrive at the airport during a vacation, the first thing you do is pick-up your bags and go straight to your hotel. But upon arrival in Hong Kong International Airport, we immediately went to the first item on our itinerary which is the Ngong Ping Village. You may wonder why the rush, it is because Ngong Ping Village located in Lantau Island is just right next to the island of Chek Lap Kok where the airport is. Instead of traveling miles from Kowloon (which is where we will be staying) to Ngong Ping, we chose to take a more convenient route.
From the airport, we rode the S1 bus and stopped at the Tung Chung Bus Terminus. It would be tiresome to bring our luggage with us as we discover the village, so we rented a locker at the Tung Chung Cable Car terminal. To our surprise it was very expensive! So I suggest you rent a locker at the Citygate Outlets next to the Tung Chung MTR station just across the cable car terminal.
When going to Ngong Ping Village, one must ride the Ngong Ping cable car. The ticket lines for the cable car are so long. I really suggest you buy online.
There are 2 types of cable cars, one is the Standard and the other is the Crystal. The Standard cabin is just an ordinary cable car; the Crystal cabin, on the other hand, is much enjoyable since you can see the view beneath your own two feet. The thought of seeing the view below from where you are stepping at a high altitude may not sound appealing, but trust me it was a great view and a fantastic experience. It is better to buy just one ticket of each kind because basically you will see the same view to and from the village.
It will take approximately 25 minutes to reach the village. But inside the cable car, you’ll lose track of time. You’ll enjoy different sceneries of hills and buildings.
And talking about the Crystal cabin view!
One of the attractions in Ngong Ping Village is the Tian Tan Buddha. This is probably the largest Buddha I have ever seen! You can even see it while you’re still at the cable car going to the village.
I haven’t told you about what the Ngong Ping Village really is and why it is a must-visit site when you’re in Hong Kong. It is a village landscaped to manifest the culture and spiritual integrity of the whole Ngong Ping area. In this modern era, we rarely see cultural spots but Ngong Ping Village shows otherwise.
So finally, we arrived at the village. What will greet you as you enter the village is the traditional Chinese village atmosphere . Stores and restaurants occupy the houses though as its purpose mainly is for tourist visits.
As we stroll around the village, the Big Buddha is starting to appear even bigger!
We moved forward unto the entrance of the Tian Tan Buddha. It is already lunch time by the time we arrived there, so we tried the local street food which is way cheaper than the restaurants around.
Statues of 12 Chinese generals guide you on the way to the Po Lin Monastery.
There is a circular area facing the Big Buddha where Buddhists can pray. It is surrounded by colorful flowers and flags.
Before we climbed up to the Big Buddha, we went to the Po Lin Monastery first. When you enter the monastery perimeter, you are not allowed to bring meat or food of any sort. The monks are vegetarian, even the restaurants in the monastery area only served vegetarian food!
Some of us may not have been used to being around temples due to our religious differences, but we must observe the proper etiquette when around one. There are more than one temple at the village, but we were allowed to enter only one.
There are three Buddhas inside the temple, each representing its past, present and future lives.
After visiting the Po Lin Monastery, we finally headed to the Big Buddha. Going up, you must first go through 268 steps!
The number of steps may be a bit lesser than the ones I’ve climbed before but we still need to take a break and take some pictures as we rest on the stairs.
The Big Buddha in Mount Tian Tan is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. I’m lucky I’ve been to one. Four more to go! Hehe! As we arrived at the top, I can say it was one large Buddha with six smaller statues around it with an offering to the Big Buddha. They are called the “The Offering of the Six Devas”. These offerings are all necessary to enter into nirvana. They symbolize charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom. I’m no Buddhism expert but I guess all of the things I mentioned were taught in our ReEd (Religious Education) in college. Of course I had to do research again just to confirm it. Haha!
There are still a lot of tourist attractions in Ngong Ping 360. If only time permits, we would spend the whole day there. But nevertheless, it felt good having to experience everything Ngong Ping Village has to offer – the Chinese village atmosphere with its amazing spiritual culture and tradition. I hope we continue to create this kind of places so that we can share our own unique culture heritage for the world to see and appreciate.
Guest post by: Maria Johanna Ybañez