Hello my fellow travellers!
After a good nights sleep I feel like I've settled into the new time-zone quite well. That actually went quicker than I had expected. I started this day with a brisk walk to the Central Station where I took the MTR to Tung Chung, this is where you take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car up to the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha.
The ride is cool and steep but so is the price, it costs 165 HKD for a return trip and 115 for a single trip, and that's for the standard cabin, you can also go in a crystal cabin which features a glass bottom. I don't remember the single fair for that one but I think the return fair was 255 HKD. You can also choose a 1+1 combination of one ride in a standard cabin and one in a crystal cabin.
Unfortunately the windows are quite dirty which detracts a bit from the experience, not to mention that it's crowded with 10 people in each cabin. Another downside was the immense queue to get there, you shouldn't come here expecting anything less than 1-2 hours of waiting.
All summed up I guess I still recommend it, because it is quite amazing with the mist covered mountain-tops and when the Buddha dramatically comes into view it is a memory for life. However, just so you know there is a bus going to the top as well and there is also the possibility to hike there in case you're not in a rush or find the price steeper than the climb.
Once on the top you will enter the Ngong Ping Village which is basically a cluster of restaurants, movie-inspired sets and other tourist stuff.
I went into a small tea-house where I was offered a taste of green tea and was given some information about tea, all free of charge and I recommend it. Very nice and friendly staff. After that I decided to grab some food.
Next, the Tian Tan Buddha, this is amazing and yes, it is indeed a must see while you're in Hong Kong. It is situated at the top of the mountain and you approach it through a long, narrow and steep set of stairs, all while the Buddha is looking straight at you. I tell you if this
doesn't invoke the awe of Buddha in you then nothing will!
The view from up in the Buddha is also astounding! You can see down into the Ngong Ping Village and the Po Lin Monastery, all embedded in lush greenery and nestled beautifully between the mountain-tops with Buddha calmly watching over them. The feeling of this place was, for me at least, enhanced by the fact that there are very few western tourists here, most visitors are from other Asian countries.
After I had gathered my breath and picked my jaw off the floor I went back down the stairs and onto visit the Po Lin Monastery. With a stroke of luck I came there in time to visit an amazing procession of Buddhist Monks as they went to deliver offerings to Buddha, a memory for life!
The monastery itself is nothing short of stunning with a rich and vivid décor in all colours imaginable that greet you as you enter the grounds. It is several floors tall and every part of it is covered in marvellous decorations, make sure that you visit this place while you're in Hong Kong!
So, once I was done with
my taste of traditional Chinese heritage I decided to shift gears into the modern era. I returned down with the cable car and got on the MTR back to the Central Station again and then took a short walk to the Peak Tram, only to again be met by a huge queue. I arrived at 5 pm and didn't reach the tram until 6.30 pm so be ready to wait in line again!
A return trip with the Peak Tram was 40 HKD I think and it is pretty cool to ride it because it is really steep, like, almost vertical! I kid you not! It was kind of spoiled though by the fact that I had to stand crammed in the middle of the tram and could barely see anything.
Unfortunately I arrived at the peak after it had become dark so I didn't get to watch the sun set as I'd hoped but the view was still more than enough to warrant the uncomfortable trip. Beneath your feet lies the whole of Hong Kong, lit up brightly by the neon lights. There is no need to pay for the observation deck as there is a wonderful
open air pavilion just a short walk from the tram station.
After I was done with gazing at the neon-lit city below I partook in a spicy but delicious meal at one of the restaurants before I set out for the tram again, only to find myself back in the huge queue. I thought to myself, enough, no more queuing today! I hailed a taxi and asked for what it would cost to go down, 400 HKD! That's insane, the meter here starts at 22 HKD which lasts 2 km, no fair from here should be in excess of 70 HKD but I'm guessing it's a set price because I got the same listing from two different taxis.
Well, I figured screw it all, I'll walk! And I can tell you it was a great decision! Even in the dark the trail is amazing as you come closer and closer to the magnificent sky-scrapers. It took quite a while though to get down and man did I feel it in my legs but yeah, most definitely recommended as there are very few other hikers on the trail.
Once I had gotten down I returned to my host,
tired and sore, but with a big smile on my face because this day has been wonderful and I can certainly recommend Hong Kong so far!
On my agenda for tomorrow is the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, the Che Kung Temple and the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, if I have the time and energy in the evening I will try and visit the various markets. The sites I'm going for are quite spread out though but I hope I'll make it because Jody said that the markets are really amazing.
Until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!
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