One of Hong Kong’s “must do” tourist experiences is the Ngong Ping 360, which is a 5.7km ride on a cable car, through outstanding scenery to the culturally-themed village and it’s surrounding attractions at Ngong Ping, located on a high plateau in the heart of the mountainous Lantau Island.
Most passengers start the ride from the Tung Chung terminus. The 25 minute ride begins with the short hop across a sea channel to the first angle station on Chek Lap Kok (the airport island). The ride changes direction here and slowly climbs steeply over Tung Chung Bay as the hills of Lantau North Country Park loom ahead. Below are green forested slopes and valleys, whilst behind are stunning panoramic views over the airport and across the South China Sea to the New Territories. We had almost completed the slow ascent of Nei Lak Shan, where the ride reaches it’s highest point some 560 metres above sea level, when all of a sudden, through the mist, the Giant Buddah came into view! What a majestic sight, sitting there serenely surveying all around him.
On arrival, we climbed the 300 or so steps to the base of Giant Buddah and later visited the nearby Po Lin Monastery. The mountainside is frequently covered in swirling mist, and today was no exception. As we took the cable car back down to Tung Chung, for the first two thirds of the journey we could see absolutely nothing!
Our final visit of the day was to the Forever Blooming Bauhinia sculpture and the Reunification Monument in Golden Bauhinia Square, on the waterfront at Wan Chai. They mark the return of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China from the British, on July 1st 1997.