Hong Kong 2016: Day 3

Wednesday, 28 December 2016



For our last full day in Hong Kong, we decided to head over to Lantau Island (大嶼山) for a one-day trip. But before we took off, we had a breakfast first at Kai Kee Restaurant (佳記餐廳), located just a few steps from our hotel. Shirley and I both ordered noodles with fish balls as well a ice lemon tea (凍檸茶) and hot milk tea (熱奶茶).




There are a few modes of transportation to and from Lantau Island, but of course, we decided to take the gondola lift/cable car known as Ngong Ping 360 (昂坪360), which is also an attraction of the island in itself. To get to the Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal, simply take the MTR to Tung Chung Station (東涌站) and follow the directions provided on the signs. (Only a short 5 minute walk.)



We started for our tickets around 11:10am and eventually got on the cable car at around 12:20pm. ★Tip: Order your tickets online a few days beforehand, but if it's a busy day (like the day we went), even if you buy your tickets online, you still need to wait a bit to get your actual tickets—just not as long as the general queue to buy tickets. I originally wanted to buy the tickets online, but we couldn't confirm which day we would be going to Lantau Island because the weather forecast wasn't all that great. Luckily, the weather turned out to be absolutely lovely—I think it was the nicest day of our entire trip!



There are two types of cable cars: the standard or the crystal cabin. The difference between the two is that the latter will have a glass bottom while the former won't. The standard cabin costs HKD$255 for a round trip, while the crystal cabin costs HKD$325. To "save money", I thought we were just going to go on the standard cabin, but Shirley wanted to make the most of it, so we opted for the crystal cabin.





Cable cars usually take about 10-15 minutes at most, but this one was a whopping 25 minutes, allowing you to make the most of your time snapping photos and enjoying the beautiful views over the island. So grateful for that beautiful weather that day :)







While we were in the cabins, we noticed that there was a hiking trail and even saw people take the challenge. #whatchamps But looking at the trail down below really showed how amazing the structure of the cable car is for size.





When you finally get off the cable car, you will arrive at the entrance of Ngong Ping Village (昂坪市集), which filled with retail, dining and entertainment experiences. To me, it looked a mini amusement park without all the rides. I mean that in a positive way, because it looked nothing like the city and the fact that we were surrounded by so much greenery at the same time felt so good.







Feeling a little hungry, we stopped for a chocolate/original egg waffle and steamed rice pudding (砵仔糕) first before making our way to the other attractions of Ngong Ping.







Our first stop: Tian Tan Buddha (天壇大佛). Facing north and sitting at 34 metres high, the Tian Tan Buddha is among one of the biggest Buddha statutes in the world. There are 268 steps that need to be climbed before reaching the remarkable statue, so be prepared to use your leg muscles ;)









Our second stop: Wisdom Path (心經簡林). Ever since I was a TVB fan back in my High School days, I've always wanted to see the wooden steles in person because of the drama "Life Art" (寫意人生) starring Kevin Cheng and Gigi Lai. Now that I have, it feels like I can finally cross that off my bucket list!





The Wisdom Path is about a 15 minute walk from the Tian Tan Buddha and when you get there, you will see 38 timber colums carved with the words of the Heart Sutra and arranged in a ∞ (infinity) symbol. I was a little disappointed that the sun was on the opposite side of the wooden steles—and thus causing backlight—but it was still very beautiful nonetheless. The Wisdom Path has a very spiritual yet peaceful aura and is well worth a visit.





After seeing the two main things we wanted to see, we decided to head back to the city. It was only 3:00pm, but we wanted to beat the crowd and leave before EVERYONE goes to line up for the cable car. #notwaitingagain



Did you know that you can actually ride in a cable car cabin privately for HKD$3,800 (standard cabin) and $4,500 (crystal cabin)? That's exactly what we did—without the extra fee. We were the only ones in the "Crystal Cabin" line so we ended up getting a cabin all to ourselves! #woo



On our way back, we felt a little peckish and just wanted a place to sit, so instead of going to Mongkok (旺角) or Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀), we stopped at café in Yau Ma Tei (油麻地) for a cup of coffee. After that, we started roaming the streets and, to our surprise, found that Yau Ma Tei had a lot much street food to offer! Maybe because it was after school hours, but we saw lots of school kids while we were there as well. We got some takoyaki and shrimp dumplings/rice noodle rolls (燒賣腸粉).





We then did some more walking around and a bit of shopping before heading back to Tsim Sha Tsui for some Japanese ramen at Ichiran (一蘭). At this restaurant, you can choose to sit at normal tables or in "single booths". We chose the latter because it's a different experience and Ichiran is known for their single booths.



I'm very picky with my ramen so I don't actually have any restaurant pinned as having "the best of ramen I've ever had", so the fact that you can customise your bowl of ramen gave me high hopes for this title. The choices for my ramen were as follows: broth with a medium flavour strength, light oiliness/richness, regular garlic, with added green onion, sliced pork, seaweed and an egg.



And ta-da! This is what it looks like. They give you a full hard boiled egg on the side, so I cut the egg (with a spoon, hence the jagged edges) in half and placed it nicely in the soup for photo purposes. Heh. I loved the broth the most: it was flavourful yet not overly heavy nor salty. However, I was a little disappointed with the noodles. Both Shirley and I chose "firm", but they were quite soft and didn't have a chewy texture.







Finally, to end our trip in Hong Kong, we went to see the "A Symphony of Lights" at Victoria Harbour (維多利亞港). (We're on the Tsim Sha Tsui side of the harbour looking towards Causeway Bay.) The show starts at 8:00pm and lasts for about 13 minutes. Unfortunately, it was quite cloudy that night, so we barely saw any coloured lights or laser beams in its full glory. But nonetheless, the skyline of Hong Kong is really impressive alone and to be able to see such a beautiful view was a great way to say goodbye to the city.



Maybe because we've been brought up in a Western society and us Aussies are quite slow-paced people, I think we were a little culture shocked. Ever since I was little, I've always loved Hong Kong, but now that I'm seeing more of it as an adult, it's losing its "spark" to me. It's a place with so much history and culture—not to mention their amazing food—but we just couldn't stand the rudeness and impatience of the people and the rush of the city. I understand that when you're living in a densely populated city with much competition, you want to be direct and not waste any time, but acting so aloof and indifferent simply doesn't justify it. Till next time, Hong Kong!

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