A ferry or a metro ride away from Hong Kong is Lantau Island. Here, Hongkong’s concrete jungle is replaced by a real one and the city’s thrumming noise fades into serenity. There are many things to see and do in Lantau Island, but for first-timers like me who are on going there for a day trip, Here’s what I would recommend:
1. Take a cable car to Ngong Ping Village.
To get to Lantau Island, you can either go by ferry (from Victoria Harbor to Mui Wo) or by metro. However, I suggest you start your journey to Lantau by taking the MTR to Tung Chung station – It’s the same line going to Disneyland, but one stop farther – then taking the cable car to Ngong Ping Village. A one way standard cabin trip costs $115 HKD, but if you want to indulge, you can take the crystal cabin (glass floor) for $180 HKD.
The great thing about the cable car is that not only is the trip faster than taking a bus (25 minutes versus 2 hours), but you also get stunning views of the island even if you don’t take the crystal cabin. Trust me, when you only have one day to explore, you’d rather spend your time seeing the sights rather than sitting on a bus.
Once you reach Ngong Ping village, you’ll quickly realize that it’s a tourist trap. It’s really a real village per se, but a cluster of souvenir shops and restaurants. Don’t despair, however, as a more worthwhile attraction is nearby (see number 2).
2. Go up to see the Tian Tan Buddha.
One of the well-known attractions in the island is the Tian Tan Buddha located at the peak of Ngong Ping village. Although it’s not the biggest Buddha statue in the world, this bronze and metal statue is still a sight to behold especially since you have to walk quite a long way to get to it. After the exercise, you can see the Buddha up close, go in to the mini museum inside, and just take in the sights.
By the way, from the photo above, you can see the Po Lin monastery in the distance. That is also one of the places you can go before going up to see the Buddha.
3. Ride a bus to Tai O Fishing Village or Cheung Sha beach.
At this point in time, you might have to make a choice of whether to go to the Tai O Fishing village (a traditional village where fisher folk still live in houses on stilts) or go Cheung sha beach for a swim (if the weather permits). Why? Please peruse the map below (from NgongPing 360’s website):
Tai O Fishing Village and Cheung sha beach are in opposite directions. If you’re pressed for time, then it’s best to choose just one of the two so you can better enjoy and savor each spot. Of course, you can totally go to both places if you so desire.
Getting there: There are buses from Ngong Ping village going to either location. You might need to ask help from a local to determine which bus hoes where.
Tip: Ask someone to help you know when to get off the bus as the stops are written in Chinese.
4. Swim, catch the sunset, pick up some shells… In short enjoy yourself at Cheung sha beach!
Because we very much wanted to go to the beach (clean beaches are non-existent in Guangzhou), we decided to forego Tai O Village in favor of Cheung Sha beach. It’s a long strip of beach, nestled within a cove of jagged rocks and lush greenery. At the time we went there (some time in February when it’s too cold to swim) , the place was deserted except for a lone woman
walking her dog.
It was so cold, I had to wear an extra shirt brought by my boyfriend who warned me earlier about the cold, but whom I chose to ignore. We ended up just walking along the beach, taking photos, and sitting on some rocks by the shore to talk while eating some roasted seaweed.
We even found a small pagoda on top of a hill by the shoreline. There, you can get a great view of the beach.
In the summer, Cheung sha beach might be great spot for surfing as I saw some surfboards for rent as well as for a picnic with friends since there are toilets and changing rooms in the area too.
5. Take the ferry at Mui Wo pier back to Victoria Harbor.
When you’re done with the beach, there’s a bus stop right across the street from Lower Cheung sha beach where you can get a bus to Mui Wo pier (usually the last stop). It’s better to leave early as I noticed that the buses stop operating early too.
At the pier, you’ll find that ferry ticket prices es are relatively cheaper (around $20+ HKD if I remember correctly). I think the trip back took around 30 minutes, but I’m not completely sure as I fell asleep somewhere along the way because the movement of the ferry made me a bit queasy. Taking the ferry, though, is a good opportunity to get an unobstructed view of Hongkong’s city line.
If you’re planning a quick day trip to Lantau, I hope that this post helped you. Hong Kong is a great place, where the hustle and bustle of city life lies just a ferry ride away from the serenity of nature.
What I’m wearing: Jacket and headband from Forever 21, jeans and shoes from H&M.