360 Degrees: Ngong Ping and Tian Tan Buddha

Out of the dozen-plus trips I've had to Hong Kong, I have to be honest. I've never been to the Giant Buddha, until last Monday. My dad and I finally decided to trek to the famed statue while planning our trip. Although it was more like winging it than having a well thought out plan, Ngong Ping was first on our itinerary.

After depositing our stuff at the hotel, we hopped on the MTR. Now, public transportation in Hong Kong is such a joy compared to the bane we have here in Manila. Buses and mini buses are on time, clean, and uncrowded. The tram, which runs along Hong Kong island, is an old but fun way to get around, if you're not in a hurry. Taxis are easy to come by, and you don't have to worry about the meters being rigged. MTR is such a marvel. Since most of Hong Kong are developed urban areas, there's no place above ground for the train to run through. Most of the stations are underground and have numerous exits, compared to the measly left and right-side exits here. Some stations have exits that lead you inside shopping malls, while other stations have as much exits from A-R! 

After an MTR line transfer from blue to yellow, we finally got to Tung Chung station. To get to the Buddha, one must take a bus or the cable car to the top. We opted to take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, which set us back 115HKD each. There is a row of shops and restaurants, where some workers were taking out a Valentine themed display.

Photo taken mid-blink, courtesy of Dad
Or they might be CNY themed, as the Ngong Ping monkey couple were in rabbit ears. Either way, the boy monkey-rabbit is M while the girl monkey-rabbit is me :)

Keep on walking and one way or another, you will reach the base of where the Tian Tan Buddha sits. We just followed the people and we eventually got there. The whole trek up to the Buddha consists of 16 sets of 14 steps each. Dad nearly blew his socks off, it was that tiring. He liked the trees around the place though.

All in all, I wasn't super amazed by the whole thing. The Ngong Ping cable car, 5.7 meters long each way, was interesting enough. But I've had my fair share of cable car rides so it wasn't every special. The Tian Tan Buddha was a marvel. You could almost feel his personality shine through the heavy bronze. It was fulfilling to be able to climb up and see him up close. 

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