One of my best outdoor experiences in Hong Kong was a visit to the Big Buddha & Po Lin Monastery in the outlying Lantau Island. While I was completely mesmerized by the amazing statue of Big Buddha and the pretty Po Lin Monastery (and I shall share my experience about it later, though you can check out this earlier Big Buddha post, written by guest blogger Payal Biswas), this post is all about Ngong Ping 360, by which I reached Bid Budda/Po Lin Monastery Complex.
Pgong Ping 360 is a tourism project which encompasses a number of activities, but is mostly known for the Cable Car Ride between Tung Chun in Hong Kong to Po Lin Village/Monastery Complex in Lantau Island. The Pgong Ping 360 Cable Car ride is simply the best and easiest way to reach Big Buddha-Po Lin Monastery for travelers.
Even before I landed up in Hong Kong, we (between my friends & hosts in Hong Kong and me) had decided to visit Big Buddha-Po Lin Monastery on a Sunday via Pgong Ping 360. As my friends are residents of Hong Kong, they had a good idea about the crowds for the cable car ride and pre-booked tickets online (Ngong Ping Website). There are different type of packages available on the Ngong Ping 360 website, ranging from one way trip on the cable car, round trip to a full day package with various activities included. It is advisable to pre-book tickets online and the major reason is avoidance of long queues. Just see images below; we happily walked past all these passengers waiting for around 3-4 hours in the queue as we had the online tickets (see the line on the left which is empty, that’s for online tickets pasengers and it’s sooooooo empty!!!).
There are two types of cabins available on the Cable Car Ride – Standard and Crystal Cabin. We had booked Round Trip Crystal Cabin +Standard package which cost us HKD 230 per person (this package meant we got to ride Crystal Cabin from start of cable car ride and standard cabin on way back).
The views on the cable car ride are simply breathtaking and since it is a 25 minute ride, there is ample time to enjoy the many amazing views, starting from the a full aerial view of Hong Kong International Aiport.
The Crystal Cabin has glass bottom and on the ride, it makes for an interesting viewing angle, as one gets to see the sea, forests, hiking trail (with hikers walking up the path), etc. from the comfort of the cabin.
I completely loved the Pgong Ping 360 Cable Car ride; it is managed very well and completely safe. However, this post would be incomplete without sharing one of a kind ‘ eerie’ experience I had on the way back (completely the work of nature and not the Pgong Ping 360 Management). By the time we finished our sightseeing at Po Lin, it was 5 PM and the crowds rush for Cable Car Ride was at its peak. So, by the time we boarded the Cable Car from Po Lin, it was completely dark (around 7 pm) and there was high winds & fog on Lantau Island. The visibility from the Cable Car was zero and it seemed to us as we were suspended in air, with a creaky sound of the running cable (of the Car) and high winds swooshing past. At some points of the ride, the wind speed was so high was our cable car was gently swaying (imagine a big cable car which can hold 8 people swaying). Me & my friend quipped that is was a perfect scene from our Hindi ‘Butiya’ Movies and we tried to take videos from our mobile phones but visibility was so low that the we were not able to capture what was happening. However, the time taken on way back was exactly the same and we landed safely at Tung Chun.
There are many interesting activities in Pgong Ping 360 tourism project and if you have time, recommend to try out those. My friends & hosts in Hong Kong told me that a visit to the fishing village in Po Lin is a wonderful experience to try out. The Hong Kong Tourism Board site ‘Discover Hong Kong‘ also gives useful information related to Pgong Ping 360, so useful to check out before planning to travel.