Ngong Ping, Hong Kong: Escape to the Big Buddha

Ngong Ping 360 is a tourist attraction most famous for housing The Big Buddha of Hong Kong, but the experience includes a spectacular cable car ride and other cultural attractions. Ngong Ping is on Lantau Island, which is still part of Hong Kong, but its seclusion makes it feel like a different place altogether. It’s an ideal day trip to see the calm, outer edges of Hong Kong and escape the chaos of downtown.

I long for peace after spending a few days in the city, and Ngong Ping was the perfect place to go.

The Big Buddha Hong Kong

After exiting Tung Chung MRT station on Lantau Island, we boarded a cable car and took a scenic 5.7 kilometer ride over a lush mountainous landscape. It became even more exciting when we spotted the big, bronze Buddha sitting serenely on the hill in the distance. (Can you see him?)

Ngong Ping Hong Kong Cable Car

riding the cable car to Ngong Ping

After stepping off the cable car, we walked through a Chinese themed village stocked with souvenirs and commercial coffee- for those who find their spirituality in sipping Starbucks- but that was the extent of tacky tourism. The rest of the journey was ours to create. We exited the village, and Buddha came into view.

The Big Buddha, also called the Tian Tan Buddha, is one of the largest seated Buddha statues in the world. He sits atop an unfolding lotus pedestal on Mount Muk Yue with his right hand raised extended to show no fear. And we feared not; we climbed the 268 steps to the top as dragonflies zipped around us.

The Big Buddha Hong Kong

The Big Buddha Hong Kong

The Big Buddha Hong Kong

The Big Buddha Hong Kong 3

Not only was Buddha overwhelming in his size and serenity, but the 360º views at the top were stunning. The hills unraveled around us, and nature presented us with her most crisp color palate.

Ngong Ping View from the Big Buddha

Around the perimeter, six bronze Devas kneel in front of Buddha. Although smaller, I was just as taken with these kind creatures, who offered to the Buddha.

The Big Buddha Hong Kong Ngong Ping

I came with the sole intention of seeing the Buddha, but Ngong Ping offered more than I expected. The bottom stairs spill onto a spacious piazza nestled in the mountains.

Ngong Ping Hong Kong

The Big Buddha Hong Kong

It was so random and awesome that cows were wandering and lying around the grounds, and they seemed pretty comfortable with cameras and selfie sticks.

Ngong Ping Hong Kong cows

Po Lin Buddhist Monastery is across the piazza. We walked through several structures with bright colors and ornate designs. Although Po Lin is a large attraction for both Buddhist disciples and tourists, it was very peaceful and enjoyable. It’s well tended to, down to the beautiful rose bushes and gardens.

Ngong Ping Hong Kong

Ngong Ping Village Hong Kong

Po Lin Monastery Ngong Ping Hong Kong

Many come to Po Lin with incense offerings, so its heady aroma was thick in the air. Small incense, large incense, incense with designs… I even saw several sticks that were taller and thicker than my legs.

Incense and Buddha Ngong Ping Hong Kong

beautiful incense Hong Kong

Ngong Ping Hong Kong incense

In search of fresher air, we took a 15-minute walk through the woods to the Path of Wisdom. This winding path is surrounded by 38 wood pillars with engravings from the Heart Sutra. It’s a sweet, simple path that may just inspire a few yoga poses. There’s other hiking trails around this area, too.

Path of wisdom Hong Kong Ngong Ping

Path of wisdom Ngong Ping Hong Kong

path of wisdom Hong Kong Ngong Ping

Path of wisdom yoga Hong Kong

Path of Wisdom Ngong Ping Hong Kong

I appreciate the wisdom that peaceful, spiritual places offer us. With our lives so burdened by tragic news stories and and social media, I crave these places of peace where it’s so easy to enjoy, admire, appreciate, and just be.

We bid goodbye to Buddha and let the cable car carry us back down the mountain.


  1. elizabeth | 31st Jan 16

    We loved the Big Buddha! And how about the views from the cable car! It is such a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of HK.

    • Words of a Wanderer | 5th Feb 16

      Oh man… those views from the cable car were incredible! Glad you enjoyed the Big Buddha too… It’d be hard not to! 😉

  2. Svet Dimitrov | 31st Jan 16

    Amazing photos of the, I think, the biggest sitting Buddha worldwide. Some friends of mine went to visit this place when they had a stopover in HK. Well worth the cable car ride and the view! Thanks for sharing!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 5th Feb 16

      Thank you! I think you’re right… I believe it’s the largest sitting Buddha in the world. If it’s not… it has to be in the top 3!

  3. Natasha | 1st Feb 16

    I’ve been here! Have some of the exact same photos as you. Glad you had a great time, it was a lovely place.

    • Words of a Wanderer | 5th Feb 16

      Awesome!! I couldn’t stop taking photos! (hah) It is a great place… I’m glad you’ve had this cool experience as well!

  4. Alli Blair | 1st Feb 16

    Stunning images! I love how the sun seems to shine down so nicely in every one! Looks like such a peaceful place. I love Buddha’s so much and the message behind them – I have one sitting on my fireplace mantle 🙂 Also awesome yoga pose!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 5th Feb 16

      Thanks Alli! It was a VERY peaceful place. I also LOVE Buddhas. I love their message and I love that they are a perfect, simple decoration ANYWHERE in a house…. sounds like we have similar styles! 😉 I’ve probably collected too many while living here in Thailand!

  5. carolcolborn | 1st Feb 16

    You brought us back to there where we toured in 2011. It was an unforgettable experience and the highlight of our trip to Hongkong!!!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 5th Feb 16

      Well, I’m happy I got to take you on a trip down memory lane! 🙂 Looking back, it’s also a highlight of my trip to Hong Kong. I’ve never been anywhere quite like it!

  6. Madi | Restless Worker | 3rd Feb 16

    I’ve been to Hong Kong only for a layover and I loved it – would love to go back!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 5th Feb 16

      Well when you make it there, DEF put the Big Buddha on your list! 🙂 I would love to go back too!! HK is such a fascinating city.

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