Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tips to enjoy Lantau Island

If you are in Hong Kong, and you are planning to visit Lantau Island (which, you are definitely bound to, especially if it's your first time to Hong Kong), there are several tips that I could share with you, since I have been there twice :)
(not bragging or anything, but I have picked up a few things which could be helpful to those hopeful travellers)

Lantau Island is an outlying island from the mainland or main Hong Kong Island, and this place is most well-known for the iconic giant statue of Buddha.
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However, besides the Buddha statue and the colorful Po Lin Monastery, there are a bunch of other attractions which one can visit, and should not really leave out of the itinerary (although even I myself have not been able to make it there), but let's run through the tips, shall we?

To reach this place, you will need to take the MTR and alight at Tung Chung Station

1. Start your day early; you will not regret it :)
Suggested itinerary:
8.30am: Take the cable car to Ngong Ping 360
9.20-9.30am: Arrive at Ngong Ping
9.30am-9.45am: Take a quick walk around Ngong Ping Cultural Village
9.45am-10.00am: Snap photos around the Piazza and also the Bodhi Path (Read here)
10.00-11.30am: Visit the Giant Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery
11.45-Noon: Go for Lunch @ the vegetarian restaurant by the monastery
12.30-1.30p.m: Go for the walk to the Wisdom Path and enjoy the scenery
2.00pm-3.00pm: Enjoy tau foo fah (bean curd custard pudding) and vegetarian cakes from the Deli Cafe (near the vegetarian restaurant)
3.30pm: Head down from Ngong Ping

2. Try the vegetarian meal at the restaurant by the monastery. It's good :)
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3. Get your tickets for the vegetarian meal at the above restaurant at the ticketing counter near the Giant Buddha.
If you get yours at the cable car station, that is for the vegetarian restaurant at Ngong Ping Village (i have not try this one before, so I can't vouch for it).
The ticket at the counter near the Giant Buddha includes the visit to view the Buddha's relic.

4. Take photos at a 360 degrees while you are up near the Buddha statue

5. Make sure you do stamina exercises a week before you go to this place; you will need it for the steps leading to the Giant Buddha :)

6. Take photos along the way up the steps, the scenes of the giant statue behind you just keeps getting better!:)

7. Enjoy the cool and crisp breeze on the top, it's really lovely :)

8. Check out the wooden bracelets around the stalls beneath the Tian Tan (Giant Buddha statue), they are reputed to be the famous souvenirs around here.
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However, be ready for the prices and don't be pushed into a purchase if you can reach a compromise.

9. Take a walk to the Wisdom Path and enjoy the serenity of the place.
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10. Don't forget to enjoy a bowl of Tau Foo Fah (bean curd custard pudding) for dessert! You can even take away to enjoy at the hotel later at night if you want!
This is the best I have tasted in Hong Kong, and I promise you will love it!:)

While you are there, try the unique vegetarian cakes at the same Deli Cafe next to the vegetarian restaurant. (That's where the Tau Foo Fah came from too)

11. To be honest, you can skip the Ngong Ping Cultural Village if you are rushing for time. (but that's just for me, my personal opinion, nothing against the village:)
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12. If you have MORE time, you can re-do the itinerary above, and include Tai-O fishing village! It is a really picturesque location and I have always wanted to go there, and still I missed it on my second visit.
I can only oogle at photos like these:(
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(If you have been there, drop me a mail and I would love to hear/read about your trip there:)

13. Bring along a cap and an umbrella, in case it is too hot or if it rains.

14. Bring extra shirt (sweat after all that walking) and a BIG bottle of drinking water too:)

15. If it's your first time here, you can try the new cable car with the crystal cabin which offers you 360 degrees view of the scenery as you travel to the tourist attraction.
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If you've tried that before and it's your second time here, you can try the bus :)
(I did that on my first trip, it was not that bad, but you may need motion sickness pills:p It is a lot cheaper though, and it works well if you are not great with heights:)

16. Bring along a sweater, in case it gets chilly. It is after all, on a hilltop and by the countryside.

17. Enjoy your fresh air and nature!

18. Check out the view of Chek Lap Kok International airport while you are on the cable car.
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(Hazy view)

19. Find out which general and the time for you when you are at the Bodhi Path

20. Take home some cakes from the Deli Cafe (have i mentioned it already?)

21. If you are the sporty or adventurous type who's into a good workout while on vacation, you can try the hike up to Ngong Ping :D
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22. Depending on your luck, sometimes it could be really hazy or misty up there or on the way up there.

If you are thinking that a few hours or even half a day would cover Lantau Island, then you are just planning on visiting the Buddha statue and the Po Lin monastery and then you're heading back; then that's the amount of time you need.
If you are planning to take a leisure walk around to enjoy the place, then you got to be here really early, and still, you're probably going to leave after 3pm unless you can pay the bus or the cable car to speed down the hill for you.

So, plan well, and make sure you have enough water and batteries for your camera for the day!:)
Enjoy your trip to Lantau, and if you need more help, you can contact me too!~
(just click on my profile at the right of the page;)

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