|Pak Kung Au -> Lantau Peak -> Wisdom Path -> Ngong Ping
4 km (2.5 miles)
Average Trekking Time:
~ 5.5 – 6 hrs (includes lunch & photo snaps)
🙂 🙂 🙂
When people think of Lantau Island, they probably would be thinking of the Giant Buddha Statue (a.k.a Tian Tan Buddha Statue). Since the airport is pretty close by, people would actually replace their bore transit time (if they have quite a few hours (5-6 hours) to kill) in the airport and take a mini trip down to visit this renowned touristy site.
The 34- metres tall bronze statue faces the North, overlooking the sprawling land of Chinese people. This majestic statue is one of Hong Kong’s most famous tourist hotspot. People from land near and far, the East and the West, would come to this place and immerse in the most galvanising cultural experience of a lifetime.
How to get there & back?
Getting there – Pak Kung Au (starting point of the trek)
Nearest MTR station
Take bus 3M from the bus terminal just next to the MTR station.
Bus ride is approximately 40(ish) minutes? I honestly cannot remember, as J and I were busy chatting away.
There are time schedules for when the bus departs. It is located near the bus bay you are suppose to board at.
So look out for the digital time board, and if time permits, grabbing a morning bite or coffee at Citygate Outlets mall just adjacent to it; can make the morning wait so much more blissful. Haha…! #lifesimplepleasures
There is no official bus stop shelter at Pak Kung Au, and if you are going there for the first time, you may not be familiar with the terrain.
So… In hindsight, inform the bus driver where you are intending to alight.
Also, sit close to the driver, so both of you can communicate. 😀
If I did not remember wrongly, the bus ride was paid using the Octopus MTR card (approx. HKD $17). But I reckon cash payment should be fine as well?
Getting back – Tung Chung MTR station
Walk pass Bodhi Path with the ‘Twelve Divine Generals’ along the sides at Ngong Ping Piazza.
The bus stop for bus 23 will be just at the entrance of the piazza.
Bus ride is approximately 40(ish) minutes?
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
A 5-minute(ish) walk from Tian Tan Buddha Statue to the cable car terminal.
This 5.7 km cable car system will take you straight back to Tung Chung in 25 minutes with an enrapturing aerial view of Lantau Island.
The cost for a single trip back is approximately HKD $115 for a standard cabin, and HKD $180 for a crystal cabin (aka glass- bottom cabin).
If it was not obviously enough, I would imperatively and strongly encourage you to choose Option B. I mean, you had already experienced a meandering bus route towards Pak Kung Au, and after trekking an extremely long arduous way, it would definitely be a nice reward to yourself by taking a relaxing cable car ride back to Tung Chung Town Center.
Trekking Route- Lantau Trail Section 3
Pak Kung Au
Alight from the bus at Pak Kung Au stop, cross the road, and you will see 3 salient Chinese characters engraved into a huge rock – 伯公坳 (Pak Kung Au). This is too obvious to miss.
At this point, it is the start of the perilous voyage up Lantau Peak- the second highest peak in Hong Kong!
Nah, just kidding… This trek is definitely well signed posted; you cannot ever get lost in this trail. Very well- paved walkway either on huge stone steps or on barren harden soil pathway. Definitely nothing to worry about!
The first part of the trek was to make an ascend up concrete rocks. And soon you will be able to have your very first pit stop at a shelter. Definitely a time to drink up, and snap pictures! From the shelter, you are able to have a glimpse at the airplane runway.
Continue on the expedition with even more climbing up concrete rocks, with short distances of horizontal pathways to catch a breath. Oh thank goodness for those horizontal pathways. Haha…
This trek is definitely very popular amongst the locals. We encountered close to 7 odd amiable locals all in light- weighted sports gears running or doing extreme brisk walking up and through the trail.
Yup, running up Lantau Peak- now that’s a perilous voyage. With my level of fitness and all, I might actually run to my early grave even before reaching the peak.
As you are ascending, don’t forget to take time to look behind you. The view is indeed so alluring with forested greenery.
Advancing further up, the cool breeze was definitely a great reward for trudging wearily up those endless flight of steps. Take some time to breathe in Mother Nature and just really enjoy and soak in the moment.
Basically this trail takes you Up Up Up… and Up some more, with only a few short horizontal paths to allow you to catch your breath. It can be quite strenuous at times- all the more a good excuse to take longer water breaks and respites on the concrete steps as you admire the greenery. Haha…
Of course, you do not wanna’ take too long a respite or you might just take longer than 6(ish) hours to complete the trail!
About 3 – 4 (ish) hours, we finally made it to the top. Oh we were so relieved we made it. The journey up made me so jaded that my tummy was mourning in hunger. It was the first time during a trek, that I had to have my packed lunch whilst climbing. We probably took way too long, past lunch time. Haha… It might be corroborated; we indeed have weak leg muscles. Yup! Don’t judge, we tried real hard. 😀
Obviously we spend lots of time on the peak which is our rewarding corollary, after climbing those treacherous steps up. Recuperating and lunching were the only form of activities up there, aside photo snapping and view admiring- though there was not much we could really see considering the fact that the clouds shrouded most of the far distance view.
But just standing near the edge of it all, with the breeze pressing against my sticky and sweaty skin, was like turning the AC on full blast. Though it wasn’t that cold, but hey I will take it!
The descend from the peak was an abate to our exhaustion. So glad gravity wasn’t working against us this time. The way down was much quicker, and from the top, we could see Tian Tan Buddha- so near yet so far. To grabble with the tiredness of it all, the bronze statue was our motivation to press on.
As we descend, the ‘AC’ now turned to heat wave. Going down concrete steps through slightly dense forest, with the occasional need to push a tree branch or two out of the way.
The next landmark we were happy to spot was the Wisdom Path, with the Heart of Sutra imprinted on it. This marks the foot of Lantau Peak; which equates to a step closer to the sweet victory of completion! Whoo-hoo!
The Wisdom Path is the largest outdoor wood carving in the world! The Chinese characters carved into 8 – 10 metres long planks of wood are so anciently profound that I have no clue of its meaning- which is a total bummer. There are a total of 38 such planks of wood. During our respite at the Wisdom Path (yes, I know, another respite), we saw a group of 4, including a monk. He was giving the other 3 insights about the meanings of the carvings. We stayed a brief moment to eavesdrop, but decided to leave as it was getting late. Haha…
Ngong Ping (Tian Tan Buddha)
Passing the Wisdom Path, we had to walk another 30- minutes (ish) to Tian Tan Buddha. Oh boy were we glad we were finally out of the woods and into civilisation.
If not… I might just chant ‘Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods?’ – You know by T.Swift? I just might… …
So this basically marks the end of the Lantau Trail Section 3. A trek off the bucket-list! Yay!
After trek thoughts?
The pressing question would be, is this trek even worth the go?
Well… I would say YES! TOTALLY… DEFINITELY!
It’s without a doubt that it was a great sense of accomplishment- having lumbered up lackadaisically on those deceitful steps, and back down the other way. The sugary satisfaction of having ‘work’ for it, and finally arriving at the most talked about bronze Buddha statue in Hong Kong. It’s a feeling that only one word can sum it all- Pride.
Though J’s and my eyes screamed tired, we could still feel each other’s sense of pride having been able to complete the trail… … in one piece. Haha…!
Yes… Not gonna’ lie, I was already BEYOND sluggish. Tired. Thirsty. Smelly. And the list goes on. But looking back now, I am so glad we did the trek with the Tian Tan Buddha as our sweet corollary! It makes the whole trip to Ngong Ping so much more memorable, and meaningful.
Because at the end of it all, we all know… … It will always be the most painful, languid memories that will remain deeply etched in our minds for many years to come. And added incentive would be seeing each other’s agonizing and excruciating facial expressions during the voyage! It’s so hilarious thinking of it now that it was definitely the walk to remember! 😀
I could still recall the moment I step foot on top of the peak. Distracted by the accomplishment and joy of enduring the climb, I felt so frivolous and to put it simply- happy.
So, YES! I would say GO and give this trek a shot if you are ever thinking of going to the Tian Tan Buddha. Because, ‘working’ for the view of the Buddha is imperatively way MORE rewarding than just taking the bus or cable car right to the foot of the bronze statue.
Attractions at Ngong Ping
There is seriously way too many things to do at Ngong Ping after an arduous trek- definitely a well-deserved welcome treat!
With hordes of people in every direction, tour guides holding their companies’ flag- gathering their tour members, and children running about, no wonder this place is the hype for tourists from all over the world.
So here are a few main attractions within the Ngong Ping vicinity.
Tian Tan Buddha
At 34- metres tall, obviously this is the star of it all. It is a must-see when in Ngong Ping. Climbing 268 steps will bring you to the base of the statue and giving an awe-striking, spectacular pseudo aerial view of the Ngong Ping Village, and the distant vista of mountains and sea on a clear sunny day.
The 2- level museum inside the statue is filled with Buddhist relics. A nice experience with a ticket purchase (slightly more than HKD $30) which includes a vegetarian meal and ice cream!
(only viewing from outside)
10 00 – 17 30
Po Lin Monastery
Opposite the bronze statue, the placid monastery brings you to a world of Chinese culture you have never experience before- entering inside the austerity of monastery life.
Take some time to be introspective; you will be amazed by how calming it is to be there!
An eye-opener for sure! Definitely a must-see aside the Tian Tan Buddha!
08 00 – 18 00
Ngong Ping Village
Just next to the cable car terminal, or just 5 minutes walk from Tian Tan Buddha, this place is packed with so many dining and retail options.
Food options that caters to those craving for authentic Chinese cuisines, or a gelato to combat the sultry heat, or just people who crave for simple delectable street food.
Wanna’ grab souvenirs home? There is a wide range of selection all at the Village!
(unless, of course, you are buying stuffs)
Ngong Ping Operating Hours
10 00 – 18 00
Weekends & Public Holidays
09 00 – 18 30
Start the trek real early!
Lantau Peak is well-known for one of the best sunrise viewing in Hong Kong.
If possible, start early enough to be able to reach the summit just before sunrise; giving you sufficient time to catch your breath, set up your camera and wait for the sun to peak through the horizon. I can definitely imagine a view money cannot buy.
Some people do stay in hostels near Ngong Ping and embark on their voyage before dawn to catch a glimpse of the sunrise. This could be an alternative too, instead of taking the train from the city! 😀
Hope you find this article an insightful one. And seriously doing this trek is definitely worth your while, with the Tian Tan Buddha as your ultimate goal to the end of the trek. Now that is something worth trekking for, don’t you think so?! 😀
So remember to Travel Whenever and follow your dreams!