INSIDE: Roam the Gnome’s ride on a Ngong Ping Crystal Cabin to the GIANT Buddha in the mist!
One of the places high on our bucket list of family-friendly things to do in Hong Kong was to visit Ngong Ping 360 and take the cable car up to Ngong Ping Village.
It’s here that tourists and locals can visit the Giant Buddha in Hong Kong, and see the famous Po Lin Monastery.
If you are in Hong Kong for 12 hours or less lay-over, Ngong Ping 360 and the Giant Buddha is the closest tourist option for you from the airport.
Take a sneak peek at our video, and find all you need to know below!
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- 1 Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Hong Kong & Giant Buddha
- 2 Hong Kong Cable Car Lower Terminus building
- 3 Ngong Ping Crystal Cabin Tickets
- 4 Ngong Ping Cable Car Journey to Ngong Ping Village
- 5 Changeable Weather at Ngong Ping
- 6 Ngong Ping Village in Hong Kong
- 7 What to do in Ngong Ping
- 8 What to do at Ngong Ping Piazza
- 9 Ngong Ping Shows
- 10 Giant Buddha and the Guardians Walk
- 11 Ngong Ping Flags
- 12 Po Lin Monastery
- 13 Hong Kong culture
- 14 Ngong Ping Big Buddha
- 15 How do you get to the Big Buddha in Hong Kong?
- 16 Hong Kong Buddha View
- 17 Fun Facts about the Ngong Ping Buddha
- 18 Ngong Ping Cable Car Ride back to Lower Terminus
- 19 How to get down from Ngong Ping
- 20 Hong Kong Ngong Ping souvenirs
- 21 What to eat at Ngong Ping 360
- 22 THE INSIDE SCOOP: Ngong Ping Cable Car & Buddha
- 23 Ngong Ping 360 operating hours:
- 24 Ngong Ping 360 Ticket Prices
- 25 How to get to Ngong Ping in Hong Kong
- 26 Facilities at Ngong Ping
- 27 Map of Ngong Ping Lantau Island
- 28 Toadstool Rating:
- 29 Looking for More Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids?
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Hong Kong & Giant Buddha
Getting to Ngong Ping 360 is simple.
Catch the train (clean, super fast, not crowded in the slightest) from Central on the Orange Line – Tung Chung line.
Stay on until the last stop, Tung Chung, about a 30 minute ride.
To get from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping, start by walking across the giant plaza from the station to the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car building (Lower Terminus).
Hong Kong Cable Car Lower Terminus building
This is the place to buy Ngong Ping tickets for the HK cable car, and embark on this adventure up into the clouds!
Ngong Ping Crystal Cabin Tickets
We bought the 1+1 Standard & Crystal Round Trip Cable Car tickets, at a cost of $375 HK for me (approximately $49 US) , and $210 HK dollars ($27 USD) for Ned.
Jack, being under 3, was free to ride the Ngong Ping 360 Crystal Cabin.
This gave us the opportunity to take the standard Ngong Ping cable car up, and the Ngong Ping crystal cabin on the way back.
Ngong Ping Cable Car Journey to Ngong Ping Village
Hot tip: The entire journey to Ngong Ping is 6 kilometres long, and takes about 25 minutes!
Don’t do as we did on this cable car ride in Hong Kong, and stand up to hop off at the first stop!
This is where the cable car changes direction 90° towards the giant steep mountains of Lantau and the journey REALLY begins.
(Felt like twats, we did!)
At first, it was clear skies and just a little bit of drizzle.
Changeable Weather at Ngong Ping
But proving the theory about the weather in Hong Kong in Spring, the mist started rolling in halfway up, and it cooled down incredibly.
Bring a variety of clothing to cope with the changing conditions, including:
- wet weather gear – mackintosh/raincoats/water resistant jacket
- hats and beanies
Ngong Ping Village in Hong Kong
By the time we arrived at Ngong Ping 360, we could barely see a few metres in front of us.
That didn’t bode well for our chances of seeing the Giant Buddha in full glory, but such is the luck of the traveller.
But in our eyes, ALL travel is good travel.
Weather doesn’t bother us in the slightest.
Rain and mist can be quite a bit of fun in fact.
What to do in Ngong Ping
Hot tip: There’s a Ngong Ping village map as you exit the upper terminus.
You can also find a virtual Ngong Ping map here.
The map lists all of the activities and attractions at Ngong Ping you can enjoy.
What to do at Ngong Ping Piazza
Stepping out from the Cable Car into the manufactured ‘theme park’ style world of Ngong Ping 360 Tourist Village was a little strange:
- a row of touristy shops
- souvenir shops
- food and drink stalls including noodle cafes and
- a teahouse.
There’s a Starbucks AND Subway.
Ngong Ping 360 village was NOT what I expected.
It’s very, very kitschy
But very clean and full of festive decorations.
Although a misty day, there was still some street entertainment and we’ve heard there’s often performances, workshops, and stall games during peak visiting times.
There are also three “touristy” entertainment shows on offer in Ngong Ping 360 village too, but we didn’t visit as Jack was a little bit small to sit for too long.
Ngong Ping Shows
No.1: Walking with Buddha Show
For those interested, there’s Walking with Buddha, an immersive multimedia attraction that showcase the life of Siddhartha Gautama (the man who became Buddha) and his path to enlightenment.
No.2: VR 360
There’s six different VR experiences you can try.
The scariest is the high altitude ropeway, where you believe you are walking the tightrope, high in the air.
It’s a fun attraction for tech fans.
No.3: Motion 360
Motion 360 is the third choice of entertainment activity.
Choose your choice of 3D film, either:
- “Discover Lantau” where you’ll fly over the Big Buddha, swim into the habitat of Chinese white dolphins, and travel through the Wisdom Path, or
- “Little Ants Adventure”, where you’ll immerse into the world of the little ants, and embark on their thrilling journey on a leaf.
We just walked right on through the village to get to the cultural stuff on the other side, but it’s a good stop for a quick snack with kids.
Giant Buddha and the Guardians Walk
The walk to the Giant Buddha and Monastery passes through the 12 Guardians.
Each one of these statues represents a different Chinese year, and also a time of day, eg 7am to 10am.
The stories of each one’s backstory are fascinating (and intriguingly, somewhat familiar!) and I kept the kids close, by reading a bit about each one to them.
Ngong Ping Flags
When you reach the flags, it’s time to “choose your own adventure” by picking the direction you will go first.
Right to the Buddha, or straight on to the Monastery.
We went to the Monastery first, to try and give the weather a chance to clear up before our ascent to the Buddha.
Po Lin Monastery
Strangely, the mist cleared for a moment to allow us to see the Monastery in full blooming colour, and hear the ever present birdsong.
This Po Lin Monastery was once remote, hidden by the mountain scenery, and it was only the construction of the Giant Buddha in 1993 that brought it to people’s attention.
It’s one of the most important Buddhist centres in the world now, and pilgrims (and tourists alike) come from all over Asia and the world to visit.
As it is a religious site, it is important to keep the kids contained and somewhat quiet out of respect to others who visit to pray and be reverent.
Many visitors (worshippers) light incense in small bundles and the kids loved watching the people use their hands to waft and wave the smoke over their faces and bodies, a practice is said to purify the surroundings, bringing forth an assembly of:
- demons, and
- the like.
The Po Lin Monastery entrance fee is free.
Po Lin Monastery is open from 8 am to 6 pm.
Hot tip: You can eat a vegetarian lunch at the Monastery. Details below under “what to eat”.
Hong Kong culture
In front of the monastery, there’s also a bit of joviality as people try their luck on throwing a good luck coin into a giant vessel, and bang on the giant drum gongs.
A local told us that banging the drum is part of a ritual to help people to ‘wake up’, both literally (as in rising in the morning) and figuratively, to stay conscious in daily life, as well as a signal for meals, and bedtime.
I’ve also heard stories that if you listen carefully to the beating of the drum, you can hear the sounds of wind, rain, and thunder.
This signifies good weather and therefore national prosperity, so banging the drum is something the kids can join in too.
Ngong Ping Big Buddha
Finally, we headed to the Buddha.
I admit I felt stark terror at the prospect of carrying Jack in the ergo up 268 steep steps but luckily for me, his independent streak won over and he wanted to climb.
And climb he did.
ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!
Slowly going of course, but he made it, with me close behind.
How do you get to the Big Buddha in Hong Kong?
The only way is to head to Ngong Ping, walk through the village, and UP these steep stairs.
A word of warning – be careful on those steps up to the Buddah temple in Hong Kong.
They can be VERY, VERY slippery.
Hold on tight to the handrails where you can.
Hong Kong Buddha View
When we got there, THIS was our view.
A bit misty, but not completely hidden.
We walked around the base and the kids conned me into a lolly pop from one of the convenience shops underneath the Buddha for their stair-climbing efforts!
Hot tip: Park your stroller
Staff are happy for you to leave your stroller near the “Charms and Offerings” counter at the base of the steps.
Be grateful for their generosity.
You couldn’t lug it up there if you tried.
Fun Facts about the Ngong Ping Buddha
No.1: How tall is the Big Buddha in Hong Kong?
The Tian Tan Buddha is a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, completed in 1993.
The Big Buddha sits 34 meters high (112 ft) and faces north to look over the Chinese people.
No.2: How many steps are there in Big Buddha Hong Kong?
268 steps in total. It’s a slog!
No.3: How long did it take to build the Big Buddha in Hong Kong?
According to Discover Hong Kong, “the eyes, lips, incline of the head and right hand, which is raised to deliver a blessing to all, combine to bring a humbling depth of character and dignity to the massive Buddha, which took 12 years to complete.”
Ngong Ping Cable Car Ride back to Lower Terminus
Once you’ve climbed back down the stairs, there’s plenty of room in the grounds for the kids to run off a bit of steam.
We also encountered our first non-western toilet.
Feet on either side of a hole type thing, a bit of a novelty event for them.
Jack and Ned shared the stroller for the slow walk back to the Cable Car.
As luck would have it, the mist had become a complete white-out for our Crystal Car trip.
We couldn’t see a thing!
But they thought that being enveloped in white cloud was just about the best thing ever.
Especially looking down.
How to get down from Ngong Ping
You can ride the cable car down, or you can walk down the Ngong Ping trail.
The trail is 5.7km long. Allow 3-4 hours.
Towards the bottom, the mist began to clear and we could see land, including the bush walking tracks that criss-cross to the top of the mountain.
We could see people walking on the Ngong Ping trail too, far below.
Those people have stamina (or a death wish), that’s one thing for sure.
But if hiking is your thing, it’s one for the bucket list.
Can you ride the 360 crystal cable car if you are scared of heights?
I’m normally a bit queasy with heights but this experience was not too scary at all.
The wind, however, was a different story.
Swaying from side to side, while the wild winds scream past you as you hang way up high was NOT my idea of fun.
I had to keep taking deep breaths but the kids weren’t bothered at all.
We’d definitely recommend buying tickets for the Crystal Car for at least one way of the trip.
It’s an added extra that really does make a difference to the level of FUN to be had!
Hong Kong Ngong Ping souvenirs
There’s a souvenir penny (pressed penny) machine near the back entrance to the shop and top terminus of the cable car.
As Ned collects these, we always stop to make one.
We’ve since discovered you can buy a little book to keep them in so this makes for a cheap and lightweight souvenir if you are travelling long distances and don’t want to lug too many things about.
You can also buy:
- cable car souvenirs
- Ngong Ping tshirts
- magnets, postcards, stationery
- miniature ornaments
What to eat at Ngong Ping 360
Need I say more?
Do buy a caramel popcorn before you embark. It’s super delicious and worth the investment to make the journey even more peaceful.
Available in the main ticketing area.
(Even though you are not supposed to eat in the cable car, no-one bats an eyelid.)
BYO Snacks & Drinks
Take snacks and drinks with you for the visit. It’s fine.
Book Vegetarian Lunch at Po Lin Monastery
You can eat a vegetarian lunch at the Po Lin Monastery but with kids, I wasn’t sure this was a good idea for our little tribe (as much as I wanted to go) so we skipped it.
The vegetarian kitchen is open from 11.30am to 4.30pm.
Head to the dining hall.
Ngong Ping Garden Restaurant
Try authentic Cantonese dim sum, Chiu Chow sweet and sour noodles, and taichi soup at this Ngong Ping village restaurant.
AOK Hong Kong Cafe
Stop by to eat some of the must try foods in Hong Kong including:
- signature milk tea
- pineapple bun with a cold thick slice of butter
- specialty snacks like Egg tarts
CityGate Food Court
We decided to eat lunch at the food court in the Outlet Mall, “City Gate”, which you pass on your way back to the train at Tung Chung.
There were plenty of options for both asian and western food, and reasonable prices too.
THE INSIDE SCOOP: Ngong Ping Cable Car & Buddha
Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in US/HK dollars, unless otherwise stated
Address: Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal is adjacent to MTR’s Tung Chung station. 2 minutes walk from Exit B of the station.
Telephone: (852) 3666 0606
Website: Click here
Ngong Ping 360 operating hours:
- Weekdays 10am to 6pm
- Weekends and public holidays 9am to 6.30pm
Ngong Ping 360 Ticket Prices
The Ngong Ping cable car cost for a round trip is:
- Standard cabin HK$235 adults (HK $211.50 online) – approx $30 USD full price
- Standard cabin HK$155 senior (HK $139.50 online) – approx $20 USD full price
- Standard cabin HK$110 children 3-11 years (HK $99 online) – approx $14 USD full price
- Crystal Cabin HK $315 adults (HK $ 283.50 online)
- Crystal Cabin HK $235 seniors (HK $211.50 online)
- Crystal Cabin HK $190 children (HK $ 171)
Mix and match your Ngong Ping cable car price with two single one way trips:
- Standard cabin HK$160 adults, HK$75 children 3-11 years, Senior over 65 HK $105
- Crystal cabin HK$215 adults, HK $135 children 3-11 years, Senior over 65 HK $160
Ngong Ping discount tickets
Get a 10% off coupon for a round trip cable car ticket by subscribing to the Ngong Ping 360 newsletter.
This e-coupon can be redeemed for a 10% discount on any type of Ngong Ping 360 tickets at the Ticketing office at Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal during the valid redemption period.
How to get to Ngong Ping in Hong Kong
By MTR: Catch the MTR from Hong Kong Station (or any train station on the Tung Chung line) all the way to Tung Chung, the last stop. It is a 5-minute walk from Exit B of the station.
By Bus to Ngong Ping:
There are regular bus services to Ngong Ping. Click here for details.
By Car: Click here to add your location to google maps for driving instructions.
24-hour car parking service is available near Ngong Ping 360 Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal, and at City Gate Mall.
Facilities at Ngong Ping
Ngong Ping 360 has Wifi, and battery charging services.
Map of Ngong Ping Lantau Island
Riding the Hong Kong gondola is a chance to rest for a moment while the kids are “contained”.
Hong Kong is pretty busy wherever you go, and keeping an eye on the kids on busy streets and in markets is exhausting. Enjoy a bit of downtime.
Also, one visit is enough.
Looking for More Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids?
Click the blue links below for more Hong Kong attractions on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, The New Territories and Lantau Island