Mountains and Seas - #NicGoesToHongKong Day 3

by - July 30, 2019

The first gate leading to the Tian Tan Buddha
When I was 8 years old, I remember we went to La Union to visit the family of my dad's sister-in-law (or technically our aunt), where one of the highlights was a trip to the beach. It was going to be my first time to be in one, and at that time the only image of a beach I had are either from Baywatch, or from a box of a Beach-themed Barbie I had. Basically I was expecting sand, clear waters, and just a handful of people lounging and soaking up the sun. Lo and behold, the beach we went to was terribly rocky, has murky water, and felt like the whole of La Union came and joined us. I know not all beaches are like that odd-one-out in La Union, but I suppose that experience 'sort of' made me allergic to the sea, just 'sort of' because I love Capones Island huhu

A rare of footage of me enjoying in Capones
Soooooo, what is the relation of this little snippet of my past with this blogpost? WALA! Hahaha, kidding! It's just that during our 3rd day at Hong Kong we went to a mountain, and a sea-side (which I deftly connected to the beach story, OHA OHA). Anyway, let's just get on with the blog!

Coming from our tiny Airbnb in Tsim Sha Tsui (Oh the coziness hahaha!), we hopped into the nearest train station going to Tung Chung station. The line going to Tung Chung is almost similar to the line going to Sunshine Bay a.k.a. The Disney Resort line, so you can expect moms and dads restraining their little offsprings in the train with you.

Once we got into Tung Chung, the mecca of all good things, Citygate Outlets beamed at us, welcoming us into its arms, urging us to swipe our credit cards, and fill our hearts with good deals- since we are responsible adults, we looked away, and continued our journey towards the gondola/cable cars that will take us to Ngong Ping 360.

Silent hills P.T. cable car edition
From what I remember a one-way ticket going to Ngong Ping will cost you approximately HK$ 140 to 160. Now, why would you take a one-way ticket instead of a roundtrip one, you asked? Later the answers will be answered, and no we did not end up deciding to live on top of Ngong Ping village hahaha!

Also as you can see in the photos, it was verrry foggy! If you are terrified of heights, or just finished playing Silent Hills the night before, make a mental note to yourself to not travel on January hahaha 💭💭💭💭
Quintessential Turista photo, naks.

Should you ever find yourself worrying that you did not bring food or snacks while on your way to the top, donchuworry fam, Ngong Ping has lots of stores and restaurants where you can buy a variety of food, and even knick knacks. Just an FYI, souvenirs are quite pricier here compared to the ones sold in the mainland, so don't be swayed easily or wag maging marupok ☝

Just a few meters from he village proper, you'll get to see the breath taking lush greneries, where tucked in it are 2 notable landmarks, the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha (or colloquially known as, the big buddha). 

Sure, at a glance you can already imagine how much panting you'll do one you climb the steep stairs, but let me tell you, it is worth the extra cardio exercise.

It's chilly at the top, and given that it was January when we were there, you can expect double the coldness. Given that, make sure you are armed with a trusty coat, jacket, or even a pashmina will do. But if you can't bothered by the cold at all 'Elsa is that you?', then go ahead with a sheer top, and the highest of slits. You do you! Hahaha 👌

Beady eyes
Aside from the big Buddha, you'll see this place beneath it where you can go and worship peacefully. Aside from worshipping, I noticed a lot of names written on rectangular slabs of tiles placed on the walls, akin to columbaries we have here. I am not certain if that place is a columbary, but I did saw a name of a Hong Kong superstar that died 15 years ago, but her fan base is still strong to this day- dozens of fresh flowers were lain below her name.

After wandering around the Big Buddha, and Ngong Ping village, we decided to take a bus going to Tai O fishing village. I remember it was during those times where we thanked the Gods that we opted for an Octopus card, rather than buying single journey ones, because not all buses and terminals accept actual money, and instead you must swipe your Octopus card on to the payment pad before you get to sit. So basically, make sure to go for Octopus card and load it up from time to time, since you can never be sure how much are the fares going to places-unless you are a local, well then 10 points to Gryffindor!

Also, just a quick note, the Octopus card can be reloaded at 7Elevens, which luckily was spread generously across the country 👌
Photo c/o Lot

Photo c/o Lot

Photo c/o Lot

My cousin had been to Hong Kong many times, more than the number of her own fingers, and yet she haven't been to Ngong ping until this trip. Her real agenda why we went to this part of the country is to see Tai O, which is this quaint fishing village at the foot of the mountain. One of the main attractions in this old time-y village is Dolphin watching, which includes riding a speed boat to the middle of the ocean...

Me, when I hear the word 'boat'
Ohhh I was shaking as I go inside the boat! I have always had a terrible trauma with boats and waves ever since I was a kid. With that said, it was REAL challenge for me to step inside this boat for the dolphin watching. Just when I thought I'll be cool with boats now, thanks to the ferry ride to Ha Long Bay, I was definitely wrong. But given that, once again, my cousin had effectively reminded me that I might not be able to go back here again and do this, I stepped into the boat nervously smiling. Yep, that smile below? It's just trying to mask my nervousness hahahah!

We did not see any dolphin. NADA. But look at that view! You can hardly see what separates the sea from the sky, and at that moment I remember this weird immense feeling of awe, amazement, surreal, gratitude, and wonder. Our boat stopped in the middle of the sea, and it's actually really nice how everyone aboard became quiet and just soak up the calmness of our surreal surroundings.

I ended up loving it more than I was expecting.

But before our day ended, it wouldn't be complete without an hour or two worth of milling around Citygate outlets where we have done some damage. If there's a perfect place to buy Adidas shoes without breaking the bank, I would definitely vouch for this place. Aside from the initial discounts, buying 2 or more pairs will give you additional price slashes! With that, I ended up going home with 3 pairs- 2 of which are gifts hahahaha bilis magdefend haluuuh!

And that's it! Looking back, that was such a fun day! Even if I am not looking forward to returning to HK anytime soon, I still want to visit Ngong Ping again in the future.

Love Always,
Nicole 🧜‍♀️

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