It was sort of big deal for me at that time that I was allowed to roam around by myself on our first trip abroad, and to think my younger sister was tagging along with me too. Fortunately, Hong Kong’s mass transportation system is pretty easy to understand, especially for new travelers like me, so we didn’t get lost and had no problems finding our way to Ngong Ping. From the MTR station, we took the bus, which I remember was a bit confusing for us since there were no clear information about bus routes. Everyone inside the bus were locals, we didn’t know where our stop would be, so what we did was we just followed what majority of them did. So when the rest of them alighted at a certain stop, we got off too. Thank God, it was the right bus stop! haha
Ngong Ping, located in Lantau Island, is home to various tourist spots such as Ngong Ping Village and Tian Tian Buddha. When we went last 2010, there were major constructions being done around the area, including the set up of statues leading to Po Lin Monastery, so I guess Ngong Ping looks pretty different by now. We decided to see the Buddha first since the weather was cool enough for a morning exercise. Almost 270 steps before one can see the Big Buddha up close.
This massive bronze statue of Tian Tian Buddha is one of the five large statues of Buddha in China, standing 112 feet tall and weighing over 250 metric tons! The structure is fairly new, being fully constructed only in 1993. This statue represents Sakyamuni who attained enlightenment after deep meditation under a Bodhi tree. Circling the Buddha are smaller statues called “The Offering of the Six Devas”. They are said to depict values necessary to enter nirvana such ascharity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom.
Afterwards, we decided to explore the rest of Ngong Ping Village because we were attracted to a display of cable cars from the different parts of the world. The village itself would be a great sidetrip for those new to Hong Kong or Chinese architecture like myself then, but if you have been to Mainland China and have seen authentic traditional buildings, then you wouldn’t probably appreciate it that much. At the time, I didn’t really mind, it’s just that the place seemed to be targeted for tourists comprising mostly of shops selling souvenirs and whatnot. We got to see a replica of the Bodhi Tree and they had a Bodhi Wishing Shrine where you write put your wishes and prayers.
As we got on our bus back to the MTR station, I couldn’t help but to feel sad because my first ever trip to abroad has come to an end, but despite that, I was able to take home wonderful experiences and discover my passion for traveling.
How to reach Ngong Ping:
Take the MTR to Tung Chung,there are buses going to Ngong Ping. You can also opt to go by cable car, but the fare difference is around 100-200 HKD. Come early as queues tend to get long especially during weekends. I suggest going on a side trip to Tai O Fishing Village as well to get a glimpse of the oldest fishing village in Hong Kong.