Day 7.  Visiting the Po Lin Monastery and Tai O Village

A clear morning with no signs of any mist so after breakfast we took the MTR to Tung Chung, located at the end of the Tung Chung line.  Our plan for this morning was to visit NGong Ping to see both the Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery.

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NGong Ping Village, Lantau Island

On recent visits I have travelled on the NGong Ping 360 Cable Car but we knew in advance that this was out of action until June as the ropes were being overhauled.  A bus replacement was in operation, advertised as being outside the MTR station but actually located at the far end of the bus station, but still quite easy to find.  Buses seemed to be leaving at regular intervals and we were able to pay for the journey using our Octopus cards.  The journey was quite scenic passing through the Lantau Country Park as the bus wound its way up the mountain.

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Tian Tian, Big Buddha, NGong Ping

Alighting from the bus we clambered up the 268 steps to the Big Buddha statue, also known as Tian Tian.  After taking in the views we glanced in the exhibition hall located in its plinth.  Returning down the stone staircase we wandered over to the beautiful Po Lin Monastery and quietly observed worshippers lighting incense sticks of various dimensions,  their intoxicating scent filling the air.

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Tian Tian, Big Buddha, NGong Ping

Strolling through NGong Ping village feral cattle were wandering around and one tourist who had placed her bag on the floor whilst taking a photo, turned round to find the cow had removed her packed lunch!

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Outside Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island

Moving on, we took Bus 21 to Tai O village, 15 minutes away.  This bus only operates hourly so it’s best to check the times in advance to avoid wasted time standing at the bus stop.  This service is operated by the New Lantau Bus Company and card readers are installed enabling payment by Octopus cards.

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Tai O Village, Lantau Island

Tai O village is built around a creek with homes built on stilts over the water.  It’s very picturesque and far removed from the ultra modern life in Central.  Several companies offer boat trips along the creek and then out of the sheltered harbour in search of dolphins.  Prices vary but all tours seem to take the same route and last approximately 25 minutes, our boat trip cost HK$20 each.

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Homes along the creek, Tai O Village

Boats depart when there are sufficient numbers of passengers and we were fortunate to board first and take the single front seats on each side of the boat and only have to wait a few minutes until several other tourists joined us.  Sadly, no sign of dolphins today but a pleasant boat trip nonetheless offering us a different perspective of the village from the water.

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Bamboo scaffolding, Tai O Village

Feeling peckish, we bought some pork dumplings and leek and pork pancakes from street vendors, finding a bench in the main square to sit down and enjoy our lunchtime snacks.  Feeling re-energised we wandered along more of the narrow village lanes, the aroma of dried fish filling the air.

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Leek and Pork Pancakes at Tai O Village

A further bus journey to Mui Wo (Bus No. 1) taking 40 minutes brought us to the ferry terminal and with 20 minutes to spare we had time for a cup of coffee and McDonalds seemed to be the only option.  Our round trip concluded with a one hour journey on the slow ferry back to Central.  If you take this route I suggest sitting on the upper deck at the right hand side of the boat for some excellent photo opportunities when passing Kennedy Town and approaching Central.

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Temple, Tai O Village

We then popped into the IFC mall for a little window shopping and whilst there, we used the free wi-fi to check-in for our upcoming flight to Taipei in 48 hours time.  Cathay Pacific now charge for pre booked seats so it’s a good idea to try and check-in and select preferred options as early as possible.  We had no trouble selecting the window seat and the one next to it in a good position on the aircraft.

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P & O Cruise liner Arcadia passing our hotel in North Point

Returning to our North Point hotel we again bought coconut buns and warm egg custard tarts to take back in with us for afternoon tea.  Back in our room, we saw the huge P & O. cruise liner Arcadia sail past our window and on looking up her voyage on our iPads, we discovered the ship was on a world cruise, now heading for Vietnam.

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Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island

After a little rest and a catch up with news on TV, we were off out again.  We strolled along to Fortress Hill, glancing in shops along the way.  Hung Hom Cafe looked inviting and as there was a short queue outdoors we thought it must be a good sign.  Our meal tasted good and on leaving the restaurant we continued our walk all the way to Causeway Bay.  I always love the fast paced evening scene here with the bright lights of Times Square and Hyson Place still bustling with people shopping at 10.00 p.m. in the evening.  We weren’t tempted into walking back so hopped on one of the lovely old ‘Ding Ding’ trams, sitting upstairs at the back for excellent views as we rattled along Hong Kong island back to our hotel for the night.

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47 thoughts on “Day 7.  Visiting the Po Lin Monastery and Tai O Village

  1. I was interested to read this as I visited Po Lin Monastery and Tai O village before the new airport was built. At that time, Lantau Island was so rural and the only way to get there was on the ferry from Central to Silvermine Bay followed by bus! I understand it’s a bit different today!

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  3. Looks like another wonderful day! Some of those incense sticks were humongous! I don’t think I would have been able to stay there long because incense tends to make me sneeze and gives me a headache – at least all I have smelled around here.

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  4. Another fabulous day Marion. I recall a wonderful cheap vegetarian restaurant at the Buddha which I went to a couple of times. Plastic tables and chairs but great food. Looks like you are some good dumplings she oancajes at the Village though.

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      1. I noticed the same in the USA and Australia too. Unless you go into authentic Chinatown in one of the Western big cities you don’t get the same great taste of Chinese food or its close relative in Southeast Asia. The suburban Chinese restaurants modify their presentations to appeal to Western taste which spoils it all for me.

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  5. Wow that Big Budha is huge – so impressive and that cheeky cow had me smiling!! The village on stilts looks really interesting too, shame about the dolphins but it sounded like a fun boat ride even without them appearing!

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  6. Lovely post. It brought back memories of my visit to the Big Budda. We didn’t go to Tai-O Village so I was glad to see your pictures. It was so convenient getting around in Hong Kong by public transportation. Also a great way to experience locals’ lives.

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  7. Pingback: Visiting the Po Lin Monastery and Tai O Village – Go For Travel

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