Many of the passengers who pass through Hong Kong every year, are either spending their short stopover holiday in the city centre, or simply prefer to stay at the airport, not knowing that some of the city's most spectacular attractions can be found just near the airport. This article will show you how you can enjoy your short Hong Kong stopover without getting too far from the airport.
Lantau Island, right next to the airport, is Hong Kong's largest and most scenic island, and other than beautiful nature sceneries of steep forest-clad mountains and sandy coves, it is home to some of Hong Kong's most spectacular tourist attractions.
After clearing with Immigration and Customs, you can deposit your trolley luggage at the baggage storage facility, in the "Meeters and Greeters Hall" (Full details can be found in my other article: "Hong Kong Stopover - the Easiest Ways to Get From the Airport to the City's Main Attractions").
Now you can catch a bus to the new town of Tung Chung, on Lantau Island.
Bus routes S1, S52P and S64 are all traveling to Tung Chung Bus Terminus and the journey takes something like 10 minutes. You can also catch a blue-colored Lantau Taxi or a red Urban-taxi. It's only a short ride and the price is not likely to be more than HK$ 35-40
Tung Chung's Bus Terminus is located right next to Citygate Outlets (some of the buses have a stop within the mall). This modern shopping complex is Hong Kong's first and (so far) only outlet mall, which means that international brand names can be bought here at significant discounts, all year round...
Citygate is also a good place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a light meal, as the mall boasts 14 restaurants and cafes, as well as a cinema and other entertainment venues. From here, you can start your cable-car journey to Ngong Ping and its attractions.
A visit to Ngong Ping Village, Po Lin Monastery and the "Big Buddha" is definitely one of Hong Kong's must-dos. The 25 minutes long cable-car ride covers a distance of almost 6 km, from the lower terminus, next to Citygate, all the way up to the mountain, and the panoramic views are simply spectacular.
Up on the mountain, you can see the famous "Big Buddha": An immense bronze statue of the seated Buddha, soaring to a height of 34 meters above its Lotus-shaped base, and the Po Lin Monastery, with its beautiful golden statues, lavish Chinese decors and lovely vegetarian restaurant.
Ngong Ping Village spans from the cableway's top terminus to the monastery and the Big Buddha's base. It's a "culturally themed village" with restaurants, souvenir shops and some cliche attractions, related to the life and philosophy of the Buddha.
If you love nature and you do have a bit of time on your hands, you might want to pop to the Ngong Ping Nature Centre and join one of their free nature guided walks. The walks are only 1 hour long or so, but they are really nice.
Depends on how much time you have, you can either catch the cable-car back to Tung Chung and Citygate, and proceed to the airport from there, or you can continue your Lantau Island journey. Ngong Ping cable car operates seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm (weekdays) and from 9am to 6:30 pm on weekends.
New Lantao Bus Co. offers a "package" that includes One day of unlimited Lautau-bus rides (on almost all the island's routes) + One-way cable car journey. It's not a bad deal, if you have plenty of time and want to venture to places like Tai-O and Mui Wo. But if all that you want is to travel to Ngong Ping and the Big Buddha and spend some time at Citygate, there's no need for you to bother about it.
Bus No. 21 travels from Ngong Ping through one of Hong Kong's most scenic roads, to Tai-O: A picturesque fishermen village that is built on stilts above the water and popularly nicknamed "The Venice of Hong Kong". You can easily spend an hour in Tai O... There is a lovely little market (with strong seafood smells), some excellent seafood restaurants and one or two old Chinese temples...
From here, you can board bus No. 11 back to Tung Chung and Citygate, or you can hop on bus No. 1 and travel with it along Lantau's beautiful coastline to Mui Wo, a sleepy seaside town with some good seafood restaurants, nice nature walks and relaxed ambiance. Bus No. 3M travels from Mui Wo back to Tung Chung Terminus/Citygate, or you can board A35 and travel directly to Hong Kong International Airport (N35 at night).
Before I conclude this article, here are a couple of other options you might want to know about: From Ngong Ping directly to Mui Wo: take bus No. 2. From Ngong Ping back to Tung Chung Terminus and Citygate: Take bus No. 23 (that is if you don't want to go down with the cable-car)