「 Hong Kong 2018 」 Ngong Ping 360, Ngong Ping Village, Tian Tan Buddha

By Pearly Jane - February 02, 2019




While I was squealing (internally) when we landed at the Hong Kong International Airport, I was still nervous because of freakin’ immigration. From our arrival terminal, we moved to the immigration area via the airport MTR. Early on, we were already shown how high-tech Hong Kong is:

  

But again, immigration was a breeze. They didn’t ask me any questions, same as the others. Just hand your passport, they check your face and finally, scan your passport. Done! It’s really quick. Afterwards, you pass by Customs and then see this section of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. I took a loooot of brochures because I might need them and for souvenirs too!


Before exiting the airport itself, we stopped by the Arrival Hall. Since we preordered our Octopus Card (buy yours here) and 4G Sim Card (buy yours here), we had to retrieve them from Counter A13. You just have to show the voucher you received via Email from Klook.

  

We were to stay at Dragon Hostel in Mong Kok, and to get there, we rode the Citiflyers airport bus, No. A21. The airport has signs everywhere so getting to the bus terminal outside and riding the right bus won’t be problems at all.

  

There are even screens that flash bus schedules so you’ll know how short or how long you have to wait. This is similarly done in the MTR stations as well. How convenient, right?? I mean, when we got to the terminal, a bus just left, which was sayang. But seeing the timetable eased us because the next one arrived in the next 5 minutes!


Our Octopus Card already has 50HKD in it; our fare was only 33HKD so we didn’t have to reload. We got on the bus, swiped each of our cards and got settled. Wow, it’s been months but I still remember the feeling! Finally, we were in Hong Kong!!!


Uhm, by the way, hello to my hot fellow passenger!

 HOW TO GO: MONG KOK 


It was time to get off the 6th stop. While lugging our own suitcases, I took in the place. Everywhere I look, it was busy and bustling with locals and tourists. “I’m in a different country right now! OMGGG” – I was srsly hyperventilating inside. Lol well, I had to compose myself since we had to find our hostel.

I would never say I’m bad with directions because I’m totally NOT. Especially when I’m *in charge* of a trip, by all means, I always deliver. This time though, I was prepared as usual but maybe a little overwhelmed… It took us time to find Sincere House (which houses Dragon Hostel and other hostels). Thank God for Karen~ She was immensely helpful in everything, mostly navigating. For the record, it was our first time to really talk and even travel! That’s what happens when you’re family friends. Hihi

  

After check in at the hostel, we had our brunch at a nearby local resto. My sister and I shared a bowl of noodles with dumplings – they had big servings AND we don’t have big appetites – for around 20 HKD. Currency exchange followed; my sister and I + Karen roamed around the neighborhood to check which store had the highest rate. Our mothers already exchanged their money at the airport.

And now we’re off to ride them cable cars of Ngong Ping 360!

 HOW TO GO: MONG KOK TO NGONG PING 360 

Fare: 17.4 HKD
Estimated Journey Time: 33 minutes

• Walk to Mong Kok MTR station
Tsuen Wan Line – Red line
• Stop at Lai King Station / Interchange at Lai King Platform 3 towards Tung Chung
• Transfer to Tung Chung Line – Orange line
• Stop at Tung Chung Station, Exit B. The cable car terminal is located adjacent to the station

  

Just check the train in front of you if it's the correct line / color and if you're going to the right direction~

  

It takes more or less 5 minutes to walk to the cable car station. You go up using the escalator and you’re greeted by staff at the top. As we booked with Klook, he just led us to the counters to retrieve our tickets. The booking was under my name, so I went over, showed our vouchers and my passport for identification. (Please do bring your passports anytime, anywhere when you’re travelling overseas! I feel like I should stress that.) After tickets have been issued, it was time to enter and line up for the cable car!

The Ngong Ping Cable Car ride is a visually spectacular 5.7km journey, the longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia. The journey offers you a stunning “360-degree” view of Tung Chung Bay, the Hong Kong International Airport as well as the greenery of Ngong Ping.

  

There are 2 lines for the Standard Cabin and the Crystal Cabin. While on the line, you get to see the other people being ushered to the cable car and you just get that cringe feeling of flying in the air soon! Lol I’m not afraid of heights, yall; I’m afraid of falling!


The attendants ask you how many you are in a group (we were 8 and thankfully, a cabin fits exactly 8) and assist you as you ride. It’s nice because you don’t have to be with people you don’t know / you’re not comfortable with. Basically, you’ll have the space all to yourselves.

  

And we flew~ This is when I started having butterflies in my stomach~ I don’t even know if they’re of the good or the bad kind but waaaaah

  

I imagined it was gonna be a short ride; we were looking for the Big Buddha but we couldn’t see it, which means it just wasn’t gonna be over soon enough. Lels the cable car flew over land then water then land again. It was srsly exhilarating and scary at the same time! I’m not afraid of heights per se; I’m just really anxious about falling~

If you’re an anxious person like moi, just don’t overthink this ride. I mean, that’s impossible as it is but try not to and take it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And we can definitely trust Hong Kong’s advancements, right!?

  

It was also pretty cramped, to be honest, since we were full house, but you wouldn’t wanna move anyway. I felt like we would fall! Pessimism at its worst. Lol

Maybe 30 minutes, sitting up in the air… That’s you if you wanna reach the Ngong Ping Village, the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery, among others.


The cable car doesn’t stop – it just slows down - so you have to be fast in alighting it. There’s the souvenir shop first and then you’ll see this pink cable car! Yassss, it’s PINK! Much to my delight.



Of course, my family and I still speak our normal Bisaya with each other there, and this was where we met fellow Bisayas! That made me realize, “Wow, it is INDEED a small world.” What were the odds we were gonna find Filipinos at that place and time, right? More meeting-with-Filipinos stories soon~


Restaurants and coffee shops fill this area (spot SUBWAY?) and while I wanted to grab a slice of pizza, it was expensive. Lol it was our first day and I was still in the state where I calculated everything to peso and gasp. Not to mention, we didn’t have the luxury of time since the last cable car is at 6PM! This was already 3PM?

 NGONG PING VILLAGE (and Plaza) 

You walk further down and reach the Ngong Ping Village. There was a souvenir shop by its entrance and my mother already bought some trinkets there. I wish I also did that time because I didn’t see the same designs in Mong Kok night markets. But I was really thinking I shouldn’t spend just yet.

  

Adjacent to Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal and the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, Ngong Ping Village boasts several major attractions as well as a diverse array of retail, dining and entertainment experiences.


While cows in the Philippines are kept far in the fields, it’s different there. They’re in the park as in you can go near and take photos with them. They’re not leashed either.


 TIAN TAN BUDDHA 

Even though we were obviously strapped for time, I definitely made it a point to climb up towards the Big Buddha. The stairs were killer but I was already there. Why should I miss it? Only my sister, Papa and I went up though. Mama didn’t because it will take time, she said, and thankfully anyway, since I can’t imagine her up the long flight of stairs. I found it overbearing even but I carried on.


That’s why you have to travel while you’re still young and energetic; the experience won’t be the same when you aren’t as healthy and active.

Constructed from 202 bronze pieces, the majestic Tian Tan Buddha Statue sits peacefully on the Ngong Ping Plateau 520 metres above sea level. Visitors have to climb a flight of 268 steps to reach this world’s largest outdoor bronze statue.

See, 268 steps!


The descent is clearly easy, plus you get yourself a good view of nature, especially the Po Lin Monastery.


I wanted to go to the monastery – we were so damn near – but I don’t know. I didn’t push it too, when I think about it. Maybe because Mama was rushing or something? Anyways, next time I go here, Imma start in the morning so I can take my time and totally immerse. Here’s some trivia anyway:

Po Lin Monastery, established in 1906, is known as “The Sacred Place of the Buddha in the South”. Having gone through a century of development, Po Lin Monastery is now well developed with a number of structures including the Mahavira Hall and the Heavenly King Hall. There is also much to see and do at the monastery itself with its various figures of gods and other colorful manifestations of aspects of the Buddhist religion.

  

We got thirsty so the nearby stores were lifesavers. I think my sister bought ice cream (which makes one thirstier, right!?) and I bought mango juice (which has become my constant purchase for this trip). If I remember correctly, the mango costs 5HKD and if you want bottled water, it’s maybe 8HKD? You do the math. Or actually don’t convert anymore, okay, to avoid heartbreak. Lol

Other spots there that you should visit so you won’t regret like yours truly: the aforementioned Po Lin Monastery, the Wisdom Path.


You can actually get to this area via bus / taxi / car but I don't know how to do that so do your research!

  

Process for the way back is the same, even up to commute. Before going back to Mong Kok, we saw a Pizza Hut by the Tung Chung MTR station and decided we’d just eat there. I think you’ll say, “Pizza Hut in Hong Kong?? Why didn’t you try local stuff?” I mean, we wanted to but we were famished already and this was an instant pick. It was damn expensive but I love Italian food so I’m a-okay :P

Bonus: Even though I was exhausted, I’m srsly a hustler. I wanna travel, maximize the time and do lots of stuff. So I dragged my sister for us to explore Hong Kong on our own and our own pace. We both walk fast, for the record.

The Internet said there was a Lights Show every 8PM by the Victoria Harbour so that location was our pick!

 HOW TO GO: VICTORIA HARBOUR, AVENUE OF STARS, HONG KONG SPACE MUSEUM, HONG KONG CULTURAL CENTRE 

We may have got off the wrong stop or something? Thank God for Google Maps~ But we totally seem like lost kids because we kept checking our phones and looking around. But that’s the fun, yeah? It was so fun getting lost! This is the only time it’s fun. Lol

Eventually, we’ve arrived by the Victoria Harbour!

Bustles with activity day and night, Victoria Harbour is one of Hong Kong’s greatest assets. Travel up to The Peak or visit the Avenue of Stars along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade for spectacular harbor views and to catch the magnificent A Symphony of Lights, featuring more than 40 Hong Kong’s skyscrapers in a stunning multimedia extravagance.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the memo that the Avenue of Stars was under construction. All the same, there was a large crowd waiting for something at the Promenade… We thought it was the light show so we waited with them. But at almost 9PM, there was nothing. Huhu


The bay area wasn’t as stunning as I imagined too, to be honest. Maybe if there was the light show, I would’ve been awed but it didn’t happen so… It was still a pretty nice sight because there are no tall skyscrapers back home in Cagayan de Oro after all.


The Hong Kong Space Museum and the Cultural Centre were just lined up there so we went and explored some more. Just took some establishing shots to signify we were there! I will go inside them when I get to fly back~ The Space Museum especially intrigues me because I’m the biggest fan of stars. It would be a stimulating educational experience for sure.

Located in the unique egg-shaped domed building, the Space Museum comprises an east and a west wing, housing the Stanley Ho Space Theatre, the Hall of Space Science, a lecture hall, a gift shop and book store. The Museum is also the first planetarium in the world to possess a fully automatic control system at its Stanley Ho Space Theatre.


Part of my bucket list is to get inside a planetarium! Huhu

By the time we got back to the hostel, our feet were aching but our hearts (mine, at most) were beating from the thrill of a new country conquered.

The sky 100 and Victoria Peak next!

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