Ngong Ping village boasts of the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha. Both of which were significant tourist attractions already, but what made the trip extraordinary is how to transport to the scene: via the hanging gondolas.
Ngong Ping cable cars has two varieties, standard and crystal. The crystal cabin is more appealing (or maybe not for those with fear of heights) since you can enjoy the view beneath your feet through the transparent flooring.
Prepare to hang for dear life for about 6 kilometers of aerial lift passing eight cable towers at 585 meters above sea level (highest point). While trembling, try to keep looking around (and down :)) to appreciate the massive gift selflessly presented by nature.
After the 25-minute thrilling ride, witness the culturally themed village which reflects the cultural and spiritual integrity of Ngong Ping area.
What exactly awaits you in this village on top of the mountain? A Buddhist monastery, a giant sitting Buddha and a nearby quaint fishing town to name a few.
- Traditional backdrop
Traditional Chinese houses serving as stores and restaurants were scattered around the area.
- Ngong Ping Piazza
Spanning on about 1.5 hectares, the piazza serves as the main point linking all the other attractions such as Po Lin monastery, Big Buddha and Wisdom path.
New Pai Lau
The impressive ornamental archway that serves as the piazza’s entrance.
Twelve statues (called the Twelve Divine Generals) line up on both sides guiding the visitors from the main entrance arc to the Po Lin monastery.
Also referred to as the Earth Temple is an open space midway between Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha.
- Po Lin Monastery
Po Lin Monastery translates to “Precious Lotus”. Lotus flower being a special symbol of purity.
There are three Buddha statues inside the temple representing its past, present and future lives.
There is a vegetarian restaurant beside the main temple which unfortunately we’re not able to try.
- Tian Tan Buddha
Constructed from 202 bronze pieces, the 34-meter-tall Buddha is placed on top of a three-platform altar reachable via a 268-steps concrete stair.
(It took me 268 steps, bottles of water and an ice cream – from the little store on top, to reach the Big Buddha)
On top is the giant Buddha surrounded by six other smaller statues that seems to be holding an offering. I learned later, after a little research that those are referred to as “The Offering of the Six Devas”. These symbolize charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom. All of which are essential for enlightenment.
- Wisdom Path
Fifteen-minute walk from the Po Lin monastery is the Wisdom Path. The trail traces a series of more than 30 wooden bars that contains verses from the heart Sutra – one of the best-known Mahayana Buddhist sutra. The verses were inscribed in Chinese calligraphy while the wooden columns were arranged in an infinity pattern (∞).
- Tai O Fishing village
One bus ride (and few minutes) away from Ngong Ping village is another attraction, the Tai O fishing village. (Take Bus#21 or taxi)
Tai O fishing village is a picturesque community in the western coast of Lantau. The traditional stilt houses that sit along the waterfront were among the very few remaining stilt houses around Hongkong.
Another attraction of this village aside from the stilt houses are the Tai-o market, occasional Chinese pink dolphin viewing, boat ride or kayaking and the seasonal Tai O Dragon Boat festival held in May or June.
The modest atmosphere of the whole Ngong Ping experience is a breath of fresh air from the much modernized Hongkong. The journey leads to both cultural and spiritual discoveries that governs Buddhism. Truly worth a visit and must not be missed when in Hongkong. 🙂