I have been to the Big Buddha more than 10 years ago when it was only accessible via bus. This was my first time seeing it after they have added the cable cars and the Ngong Ping village.
Prior to going, we bought our tickets online for the 360 Fun pass which includes round trip on the cable car and admission to Walking with the Buddha, Stage 360 and Motion 360 for $230 HKD. Buying it online saves you $25 HKD and allows you to reserve the viewing time for Stage 360. They were doing a special promotion when I went so for one of the trips on the cable car, you get a free upgrade to the crystal cabin.
The cable car boarding point is a 5 minute walk from the Tung Chung MTR station. When we purchased our tickets online, we had to specify a boarding time for the cable car. However, it turns out that the time does not really matter; you still have to queue in line. Luckily when we went on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., there were not too many people. We waited about 5 minutes before getting on.
The cable ride is about 40 minutes long and you go across 3-4 mountains. We went on a clear sunny day and the view was fantastic. You could see the dense forests on the mountain and a clear view of the Hong Kong airport.
After we disembarked from the cable car at Ngong Ping Village, we went to see the first show, Walking with the Buddha. This is a 5 minute clip of the life of Buddha which has showings in different languages. At the end of the clip, you are given a slip of paper where you can insert into the Buddha’s hand for good luck.
We still had some time before the showtime for Stage 360, so we walked around the shops in the village. There are a few shops toward the entrance which sell ice cream, desserts and savoury food. Further back, you will find some shops that sell Hong Kong souvenirs and Buddhism-related items. There are also some interesting shops that sell fans, toys and fortune cats.
After doing some shopping, we went to see Stage 360. This is a 10 minute show that illustrates how sound effects are created in movies. There is some interaction with the audience and is quite entertaining. We did not end up seeing Motion 360 as the next showing was much later and we had to head down for dinner. It is a show which takes you on a flying journey. Frankly, I did not think we missed much. If I did not get the 360 Fun Pass, I would not bother with the shows. It is not worth the admission price!
Finally, we had to embrace the big challenge! 268 steps were waiting for us before we can get up to the Big Buddha! Luckily there was some shade when we walked up so it was not as bad. It took us only about 10 minutes! From the top, you can also see some other stone statutes and get a glimpse of the Po Lin Monastery. The Big Buddha was the same as how I remembered it 10 years ago. After snapping some pictures, we walked down which was much faster than going up!
We walked over to the Po Lin Monastery and took a quick stroll. There is an area at the back of the temple where you can enjoy some vegetarian dishes. The temple was quite smoky as many people were busy burning their incense. After a few photos, we headed back to the cable cars.
On our way back, we saw some free-roaming cows. Many people were trying to get a picture with them. There are also some food stalls here where they sell the famous tofu pudding made from mountain water. It is suppose to be smoother because of the water used.
When we left, it was already 5:30 p.m. so there were not too many people as it was near closing time. We decided to take the crystal cabin. You have to go to the counter to get a pass by showing them your ticket. The crystal cabin was quite neat as you could see the forest and water through the glass bottom of the cable car. It was interesting but I do not think it’s worth the extra $70 HKD per person.
Overall, I had a great time and I think Ngong Ping 360 is worth checking out when you are in Hong Kong. However, I would highly recommend going later in the day when it is not as hot. Also, the queue for the cable car will be shorter. Alternatively, you could take the bus up to the village which is also less expensive. I would recommend allocating 4 hours for this attraction.