Header image courtesy of @np360hk (via Instagram)
One of the most formidable contenders for Hong Kong’s best tourist attraction, Ngong Ping is a premier day trip destination for families, travellers, and spiritual seekers alike. Home to the historic Po Lin Monastery, the scenic highland in Lantau Island has long been a pilgrimage site for the Buddhist community, but it was not until the construction of the Big Buddha statue in 1993 that Ngong Ping quickly blossomed into a getaway haven packed with all sorts of nature-filled and cultural experiences. To help you map out your itinerary and make the most out of your visit, here is a friendly guide to exploring the absolute best of Ngong Ping!
Climbing the 268 steps up the iconic Tian Tan Buddha is practically a rite of passage for any visitor to Ngong Ping. Holding the title of the world’s second-largest outdoor bronze statue of the seated Buddha Shakyamuni, Ngong Ping’s crowning glory is a magnificent sight to behold from a distance, but an up-close view reveals the fine details and craftsmanship that went into its creation, such as the swastika symbol on the buddha’s chest and the delicate folds of the robe.
Take a meditative stroll around the viewing platform as you admire the Big Buddha’s sublime beauty and peaceful appearance—and don’t overlook the six smaller encircling statues. Known as “The Offering of the Six Devas,” the striking bronze structures depict divine deities holding up offerings that symbolise the Six Perfections of generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are key to reaching enlightenment according to Buddhist teachings.
Check out our ultimate guide for hiking to the Big Buddha.
Hands down the most exhilarating and picturesque way to get to Ngong Ping is taking to the air and gliding your way up on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car! Get whisked away on a scenic, 25-minute journey from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping village and revel in the thrilling sensation of floating through the sky.
During the ride, visitors are treated to panoramic vistas of North Lantau Country Park, the Hong Kong International Airport, and the boundless South China Sea as they cut across Lantau’s spectacular hilly landscape. For the adrenaline seekers out there, opt for the crystal cabin and watch the stunning bird’s-eye view unfold from right beneath your feet through a glass floor!
Step through the ornamental Chinese-style gate and find yourself transplanted to a quaint village in ancient China. Neatly paved with stone slabs and flanked by classical Chinese architecture, Ngong Ping Village is an all-in-one hub for shopping, dining, and cultural happenings in Ngong Ping.
Once you’re done browsing through all the souvenir shops and getting snap-happy at the photogenic Bodhi wishing tree and Stupa Square, head over to the long-standing Li-Nong Tea House to learn about traditional Chinese tea culture and sip on fragrant flower teas.
Ngong Ping Village, 111 Ngong Ping Road, Lantau Island
Paying a visit to the century-old Po Lin Monastery is an unmissable experience for history buffs and Buddhist devotees alike. With a rich and winding history dating back to 1906, the historic worship ground is considered one of the most important Buddhist sanctums in Hong Kong, home to prominent structures like the Hall of Bodhisattava Skanda and Main Shrine Hall of Buddha.
Even as the monastery has evolved into a popular tourist attraction over the years, it has managed to maintain its cleansing atmosphere and religious sanctity. Visitors are welcome to stop by to pray and meditate, or simply marvel at the beautiful architecture and soak in the sense of calm.
Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island
Situated just a stone’s throw away from the venerated Po Lin Monastery, the Lotus Pond Temple is a picturesque Buddhist retreat that often flies under many people’s radars. Set against a sprawling green lawn framed by palm trees, and fronted by a manmade lotus pond, the secluded two-story temple feels light years away from the urban hustle and bustle. Providing more than just the perfect environment for relaxing and finding inner peace, they also host free mindfulness and meditation sessions on Sundays that are open to all—just make sure to register beforehand!
Lotus Pond Temple, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island | (+852) 2985 5281
Even if hiking is not your style of exploring, embarking on a short, peaceful walk through the Wisdom Path is well worth your while. Snaking along the lower slopes of Lantau Peak, this mystical path is lined with 38 large-scale wooden columns carved with the Chinese calligraphy of the Heart Sutra prayer written by master Sinologist Professor Jao Tsung-I. The wooden pillars are thoughtfully arranged in a figure eight pattern to symbolise infinity. Matched with the breathtaking open scenery of Lantau Island as the backdrop, the outdoor installation is nothing short of a surreal spectacle.
Wisdom Path, Ngong Ping Fun Walk, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island | (+852) 2810 2770
With Buddhism as the cornerstone of Ngong Ping’s heritage and identity, it is only befitting to enjoy a traditional Chinese vegetarian feast while you’re here. After a few hours of exploring, hungry visitors can fill up on vegetarian meals that don’t skimp on flavour or quality! Their menu is regularly updated to ensure that only the freshest and best in-season ingredients are used in the dishes. Expect to savour belly-warming soups, stir-fried vegetables, and deep-fried delicacies, alongside a bowl of fluffy rice. If you’re after some light nibbles instead of a full-on meal, pop into the snack shop next door for some steamed cakes, soya milk, and mango pudding!
Po Lin Monastery Restaurant, Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping
Having been around the block since 1984, Li Nong Tea House is a veteran player in the local tea-making scene. Owning six national patents for its tea production techniques, this quaint little tea room is renowned for serving high-quality artistic flower tea in a cosy space brimming with beautiful teaware and classical Chinese décor. Apart from sampling teas and enjoying the Zen atmosphere, tourists and tea-lovers also come to witness the graceful ritual of a traditional tea ceremony and take home a variety of tea-related products!
Li Nong Tea House, Shop 8, Ngong Ping Village, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island
Avid trekkers in Hong Kong knows that it’s often the old-school, rickety stalls at the end of a hiking trail that serve up the silkiest bowls of tofu pudding—and Lung Fai Shan Shui Tofu Pudding is a case in point. Despite its unassuming appearance, this semi-open-air snack shop draws in locals and tourists looking to experience the unparalleled joy of slurping down a heaping bowl of tofu pudding after a long outdoor excursion. Although tofu pudding ($15) is their claim to fame, the menu also covers more substantial tuck shop eats like fish balls ($15), tea eggs ($8), and instant noodles ($45)!
Lung Fai Shan Shui Tofu Pudding (龍輝山水豆腐花), Shop 60C, Ngong Ping Village, 111 Ngong Ping Road, Lantau Island
For hearty Japanese fare, look no further than Matsuzaka Express in Ngong Ping village. Whether you are craving sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki, or ramen, this cosy Japanese restaurant will sate your appetite. You can’t go wrong with the flavour-packed curry pork cutlet omurice ($128) or crowd-favourite chicken ramen ($98), which comes with a whole host of toppings and a choice of three tasty soup bases: tomato, tonkatsu, or spicy pork broth. Vegetarians don’t have to worry about missing out either—their meatless options, like the stir-fried udon with vegetables, are equally as satisfying!
Matsuzaka Express, Shop 6 & 7B, Ngong Ping Theme Village, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island | (+852) 2511 8618