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The Big Buddha of Hong Kong, as the Tian Tan Buddha is also called, is one of the main attractions of Lantau Island. Together with the Ngong Ping Village and the Po Lin Monastery, the Tian Tan Buddha is a popular destination for a day trip in Hong Kong.

Day trip to Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island

In this article, we describe in detail how to get to Lantau Island, what else you can see on a day trip to the Tian Tan Buddha and what costs you can expect.

How to get to Hong Kong

To travel to Hong Kong, there are many options. The most used is certainly the airplane, because not only from the Asian countries, but also from Europe and America there are direct flights to Hong Kong. Various airlines such as Emirates, Finnair, Cathay Pacific fly to Hong Kong and you can get a good overview on Skyscanner. There you can also easily compare prices.

The second option, if you are coming from China, is the train. There are connections to Hong Kong from Shanghai, Guangzhou or even Beijing. The boat would be another variant, e.g. from neighboring Macau, if it was your first destination. For more information about getting to Hong Kong and tickets that you can book conveniently before your trip, check out our partner 12go.asia.

Accommodation in Hong Kong – our hotel tip

Located in the heart of Kowloon, Hotel Ease Mong Kok is just a minute’s walk from the Yau Ma Tei Station on the MTR train. The rooms are spread over 20 floors and offer great views of the city skyline. They are equipped with private bathroom, air conditioning, TV, safe and a small desk. A good starting point to explore Hong Kong.

The Hotel Ease Mong Kok in Kowloon, Hong Kong
Room in the Hotel Ease Mong Kok

Find more hotels in Hong Kong in other parts of Kowloon or on Hong Kong Island here.

How to get to Lantau Island by MTR

To get to Lantau Island by MTR train, you have to take the Tung Chung Line (orange). Good places to get on this line are either Hong Kong Station on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Station or Lai King. The journey takes about half an hour (depending on where you get on), as Tung Chung Station is far outside the center of Hong Kong.

We rode the train from Kowloon to Tung Chung, which costs about HK$ 18. Prices vary, depending on the distance, of course. There is a great tool for calculating the journey time and the price here.

Ngong Ping 360 cable car

It is only a few minutes from the Tung Chung MTR station to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car station. There you have to buy a ticket and choose one of the different options. The Standard Cabin or the Crystal Cabin with a glass bottom (costs an extra charge).

Info: If you don’t want to do the tour with the Ngong Ping cable car to the Big Buddha of Hong Kong on your own, there are also organized tours.

Ticket sales for the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to the Big Buddha from Hong Kong

A one-way trip in the Standard Cabin costs HK$ 160 or HK$ 235 return. The price of the Crystal Cabin is HK$ 215 one way or HK$ 315 for both ways. You can also combine them and complete one trip in the Standard Cabin and one trip in the Crystal Cabin.

As soon as you have bought your ticket at the counters, you will continue to the entrance, where the gondolas pick up new passengers every minute and take them up the mountain. It is worth coming early, however, because the later it gets, the longer the queues at the ticket counters are. It is open daily from 10.00 A.M. to 6.00 P.M. and on weekends and public holidays from 9.00 A.M. to 6.30 P.M.

The gondolas of the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, Hong Kong

The gondolas are usually filled with 4-6 people, and when it’s your turn, the 25-minute ride over 5.7 Kilometers along the Hong Kong mountains starts. There are great views of Tung Chung, the Hong Kong airport, the sea and of course the mountains.

Ride with the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to the Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong from the Ngong Ping 360 cable car

Incidentally, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car which was opened in September 2006, transports you towards Ngong Ping Village at around 27 km/h. It is definitely the fastest way to visit Lantau Island’s Tian Tan Buddha, but not for someone with a fear of heights.

View of the Tian Tan Buddha, the Big Buddha of Lantau Island, from the Ngong Ping 360 cable car
View of the Tian Tan Buddha, the Big Buddha of Lantau Island

Note: The Ngong Ping 360 cable car is not a must to reach the Tian Tan Buddha. You can also take bus number 23, which will take you to the summit in about 50 minutes. In our opinion, the cable car is the nicer alternative.

1. Ngong Ping Village

When you arrive with the Ngong Ping 360 cable car (but also with the bus), you automatically end up in the Ngong Ping Village. An artificially designed village with many entertainment and souvenir shops, such as Walking with Buddha or the Ngong Ping Tea House. But there are also restaurants for the many visitors.

The Ngong Ping 360 Village on Lantau Island in Hong Kong

The village was built in traditional Chinese style so that it blends in well with the landscape. As soon as you have crossed the Ngong Ping Village, you will come to a kind of portal, which marks the way to the Tian Tan Buddha.

Entrance portal from Ngong Ping Village towards Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong

2. Tian Tan Buddha or Big Buddha

You can see the Tian Tan Buddha on a hill near the Po Lin Monastery from afar. The statue is the main attraction of Ngong Ping and therefore attracts most visitors. The Big Buddha, as it is also called, is 34 meters high and made of bronze. Its gaze is directed towards the Chinese mainland, more precisely towards Beijing.

View of the Big Buddha from Hong Kong, Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island

The Tian Tan Buddha is also the largest Buddhist monument in Hong Kong and is one of the 5 largest statues of Buddha within China. It is an image of the Amitabha Buddha, a transcendent Buddha who is highly revered in East Asia. The statue sits on a lotus throne and can be reached by visitors via 268 steps.

The Big Buddha, Tian Tan Buddha of Hong Kong on Lantau Island

The three-tiered altar below the Lotus throne of the Tian Tan Buddha houses some exhibitions that visitors can view for free. You will also find six statues around the Big Buddha that represent Bodhisattvas or immortals. They each show different symbols towards the Buddha, which represent wisdom, meditation, willpower, patience, generosity and morality – the six virtues of the Paramita that lead to awakening.

View from Tian Tan Buddha at Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Note: If you are wondering about the symbol on the chest of the Buddha statue, let yourself be told that this is a so-called Swastika. It originally served as a symbol of luck and has absolutely nothing to do with the Third Reich or World War II.

3. Po Lin Monastery

Until the establishment of the Tian Tan Buddha in 1993, the Po Lin Monastery was relatively lonely in the mountains of Lantau Island. Since then, the expansion has attracted many visitors and somewhat overshadowed the monastery.

Po Lin Monastery at the Big Buddha, Hong Kong

It was founded in 1906 by three monks from China. The main hall, known as the Main Shrine Hall of Buddha, houses three bronze statues of Buddha depicting his past, present and future. You will also find the Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda on the grounds of Po Lin Monastery.

The Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island in Hong Kong

4. Wisdom Path

Situated near the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery is also the Wisdom Path. A short walk of no more than 10 minutes takes you into the middle of the hills of Lantau Island, where the Wisdom Path lies. Just follow the signs from the foot of the Tian Tan Buddha.

The Wisdom Path at the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island in Hong Kong

Many visitors to Ngong Ping Village only come to see the Tian Tan Buddha, but they often forget the Wisdom Path. So it is mostly empty here and you meet few other visitors, which still makes it a kind of insider tip.

Tobi with a view of Wisdom Path in Hong Kong, Lantau Island

Since 2005, the Wisdom Path has consisted of 38 wooden piles arranged in the shape of an 8. The path leads slowly up and down the mountain, the 8 reflects the infinity. Each of the 38 wooden posts has a heart Sutra (known Buddhist Mahayana summaries) engraved in Chinese characters.

Wooden posts at the Wisdom Path in Hong Kong

You can walk around the wooden posts, enjoy the view of the mountains and take a few photos. A short visit is worthwhile if you have already made your way to the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery.

Info: From the square in front of the Wisdom Path, signs also show you the way to the Shek Pik Country Trail. This is a 5.5 Kilometer hiking trail that takes you from Ngong Ping to Shek Pik. There are many great viewpoints on the mountains of Lantau Island and the Shek Pik Reservoir. If you like hiking, then bring enough time with you.

Hong Kong: Tours and tickets

Have you already visited the Big Buddha of Hong Kong? Are you interested in a ride on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car? Tell us about your experience.