Note: I’m splitting our day in Lantau into two blog posts. We did Lantau (Parts 1 and 2) in one day which was doable but tiring. You can easily dedicate a day to each part.
Thanks to jetlag, we were awake at around 7am. We took the subway to the Tung Chung station on Lantau Island (from HK island, it takes about an hour). The gondola entrance is right next door to Tung Chung station.
The gondola starts running at 9am on weekends and 10am on weekdays. We were at the gondola right at 10am on a weekday. There was a short line for those who needed to buy tickets, but we bought our tickets ahead of time on Klook. There was a short line to exchange Klook vouchers for an actual ticket.
There two types of gondola cabins: standard and crystal (glass-bottomed). We decided to do crystal on the way up and standard on the way down. There are twice as many standard cabins compared to crystal cabins.
The gondola ride to Big Buddha takes about 30 minutes.
The gondola ends at Ngong Ping village, and from there it’s a short walk to the bottom of the Big Buddha. I’m glad we went early on a weekday because we didn’t face many crowds.
The Big Buddha is located at the top of 268 steps. When we were there, fog and mist were rolling through the area.
The Big Buddha is surrounded by statues offering gifts. It looks great from multiple angles:
From the Big Buddha, we headed to Tai O fishing village.
There’s a public bus that goes from Ngong Ping village to Tai O, but it takes over an hour. Meanwhile, the drive is only 15 minutes. We knew we wanted to take a taxi but we weren’t sure how to get one.
There’s a small parking lot right next to the buddha. There were a few tour buses parked there, and as we were figuring out how to get a taxi, a taxi pulled up right to the buddha to drop off some tourists. So we hopped in and told the driver “Tai O”. He said it would be less than $70 HKD and took us straight there. Our fare ended up being $60 HKD or $7.65 USD. Totally worth it to save time!
Tai O is an old fishing village with houses on stilts. We ended up walking around the market and neighborhood; it was quite a change from the skyscrapers on Hong Kong island.
I had some snacks from street vendors.
We saw this restaurant with a patio and spent almost an hour trying to get to it. The village is like a maze, and every time we would turn a corner, we would be facing another long path or we could see the restaurant across the water.
We finally made it to “Three Lanterns” cafe and the owner was super kind and took many pictures of us. The food selection was limited but the views were excellent.
After lunch, we headed back to the taxi stand and got a ride back to Ngong Ping village. The line for the gondola was short and we began our journey back to civilization.
One last look at the buddha:
We reached Tung Chung station and it was only 2pm! We had plenty of time for the second part of our Lantau adventure — Hong Kong Disneyland.
- Book your gondola ticket ahead of time on Klook
- Try to do the gondola early on a weekday to avoid crowds
- There are 2x standard cabins than crystal cabins
- Save time by taking a taxi between Ngong Ping and Tai O