Escape to Lantau Island

An excellent day trip from the condensed streets of Hong Kong is to visit Lantau Island, the biggest of Hong Kong’s outlying islands, home to the Hong Kong airport and Hong Kong Disneyland.

But Lantau Island offers even more than that. It has the longest cable car ride I have ever been on, some delicious temple food and a shanty but charming fishing village.

The streets of Tai O.

The Ngong Ping 360 cable car is one of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions and it’s quite scenic. There are two classes of cable car, Standard and Crystal (see through floor). Private cabins are also available for higher prices. The cable car station can be reached easily by metro, Tung Chung station. The line to the cars was fairly long, but there is free wifi available near the cars so at least I wasn’t too bored.

Line for the cable car.

I chose the Standard cabin round trip, though the Crystal would have been cool. The ride lasted about 20 minutes, the longest I’ve been on. Many nice views here of the green mountains and sea, plus the Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery are cool to see from the car.

View of the airport.

The car lands and Ngong Ping village, a tourist village with souvenir shops and restaurants. The Big Buddha isn’t far from here. I’ve seen plenty of large Buddha statues before in many countries, so I wasn’t super impressed by it, however there are really nice views from the top. Near the Buddha, there is a stand selling tickets to buy a vegetarian snack or meal from the Monastery’s cafeteria. I chose the snack for 30 HKD, and it was actually pretty substantial. The snack consists of noodles, two desserts, and a drink. I chose a coconut jelly dessert and a type of pudding (forget the name) and both were surprisingly delicious. I had milk tea to drink.

The village.
View from the Big Buddha.

The Po Lin Monastery is very pretty as well. I recommend checking out the inside of the 10,000 Buddhas Hall, the rows and rows of gold Buddhas were impressive to see.

There is a bus terminus near the Ngong Ping Village that has buses to the Tai O fishing village. It’s only about a 15 minute ride from Ngong Ping Village.

Tai O is a really stark contrast from Hong Kong’s main city and shows there’s more to the city than just the skyline. It was definitely a highlight for me.

Tai O market, plenty of seafood.

Tai O Market is right outside the bus terminal. In the market, there are a few places to go on a boat excursion to view some of the stilt houses and ride out into the sea to try and view the Chinese white dolphin. Unfortunately they were not out when I took the ride. The boat ride itself was pretty fun though, but slightly rough. It’s only 20 HKD.

From the boat ride.

About a 20 minute walk away is the former Tai O police station, a colonial building now functioning as a hotel. It’s located up a hill overlooking the water.

A former holding cell.

At the bus terminus, I caught a bus back to Ngong Ping Village and took the cable car back to the city.

I may not have seen any dolphins, but I did see a feral cow.

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