Hong Kong Getaway – Day 1 (Ngong Ping, Giant Buddha, Kowloon)

Cebu Pacific Flight to Hong Kong

Cebu Pacific Flight to Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s gonna be my very first out of the country getaway. Although I am really fond of travelling locally, this time it feels different. Part of me is somehow worried brought about by the uncertainty and being on our own in a very unfamiliar place. But at least the feeling of excitement is much greater than my anxiety.

At last after 3 months of preparation, here we are boarding our plane. We left Manila at around 11 in the evening via Cebu Pacific at the NAIA Terminal 3 for a short 2-hour flight to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport



We arrived at the HK Intl Airport at around 1 in the morning. (It was part of the plan and besides as a budget wanderer I would like to experience sleeping in airports).

Sleeping in HK Airport

Sleeping in HK Airport

Since I want to make the most out of our 3-days stay, I’ve booked the earliest flight to HK and the latest flight to Manila. So upon arrival we searched for a comfortable spot to get a few hours of sleep before starting our Hong Kong Adventure.

You don’t need to worry and feel like your depriving yourself of comfort since almost all benches here are occupied by airport sleepers! lol..and besides that’s part of the adventure.

Octopus Card

Octopus Card

After having breakfast, we decided to get ourselves an octopus card. These are reloadable cards that can be used at all public transportation, convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and other point-of-sale transactions in Hong Kong.

S1 Bus from Airport to Tung Chung

S1 Bus from Airport to Tung Chung

For our first stop: Ngong Ping Village and Tian Tan Buddha

To Get There from the Airport: Ride the S1 Bus outside the airport to Tung Chung Station. From there, ride a cable car to get to Ngong Ping Village.

Tip: Make sure to take the front seats of the upper deck of the double-decker bus and be amazed by the views.

Front Seat Double-Decker Bus Experience!

Front Seat Double-Decker Bus Experience!

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From airport to Tung Chung, it would only take about 10-15 minutes. We arrived here a little early for the opening of the Ngong Ping cable car terminal which is 9am (since its a Sunday, but for weekdays its 10am).

So we wandered and get to visit Citygate Mall (although stores inside are still closed) and the Tung Chung surrounding. There’s nothing much to see here because this is considered to be a new town, so its mostly residential buildings.

Ngong Ping Cable Car

Ngong Ping Cable Car

After some picture taking, we get to ride the Cable Car at last! You have the option to ride a standard cabin or a crystal cabin. (Crystal cabins have glass bottoms which let’s you see the view right under your feet!).

Cable Car ride

Cable Car ride


Cable car ride

Cable car ride


Foggy Cable car ride

Foggy Cable car ride


Ngong Ping Village

Ngong Ping Village

After 5.7 km or 20-25mins journey from Tung Chung, we finally arrived at the Ngong Ping Village.

Tip: Make sure to be here early morning to avoid the long line of people waiting to ride the cable car and the village isn’t crowded yet.

Ngong Ping Village Map and Directory

Ngong Ping Village Map and Directory


Bodhi Wishing Shrine

Bodhi Wishing Shrine


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The Village is lined with different attractions from restaurants, coffee shops, theatre, tourism office, souvenir shops, and cable car gallery.

Tip: Souvenirs here are a bit pricey. Its better to buy souvenirs in Kowloon especially at night markets.

On our way to Po Lin Monastery

On our way to Po Lin Monastery


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Before you go and climb the stairs up the Giant Buddha make sure to visit first the Po Lin Monastery. Im not really sure if its possible to go inside and besides there are no people in the area yet who we can ask. Out of respect and excitement to see the Giant Buddha, me and my mom decided to just have our pictures taken in front of the buddhist monastery.
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Po Lin Monastery

Po Lin Monastery

Tian Tan Buddha from afar

Tian Tan Buddha from afar

A short walk from the monastery, you will already have a glimpse of the Giant Buddha.

Steps to the Giant Buddha

Steps to the Giant Buddha

To be able to see the statue on all its grandness, you should be able to climb the 240 steps up the hill where the Giant Buddha sits.

Tian Tan Buddha or the Giant Buddha

Tian Tan Buddha or the Giant Buddha

But once you’re there, right in front of this giant statue, you’ll not just be amazed by its humungous size but you’ll also fell in love with it’s calmness.

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The Giant Buddha is also surrounded by several Buddhistic statues praising and making offerings to it.
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Feast your eyes not only on the majestic statues but also on the views that this place offers.

On our way back to Tung Chung

On our way back to Tung Chung


Ngong Ping Village and Lantau Island have so much to offer but it’s almost noon and we need to have lunch and to check in to the guesthouse where we will be staying.

We used our round trip tickets for the cable car ride back to Tung Chung. There’s no more fog so we were able to see the stunning mountain and sea views. Plus strong wind pushing the cable car causing it to swing from side to side makes it a different cable car experience. But its safe..they said. lol

Hong Kong MTR

Hong Kong MTR


I always say that Hong Kong has an efficient system when it comes to its public transportations. Its MTR can bring you to the different parts of the country in just minutes and the public’s safety is a top priority. But of course there are also buses and taxis if you prefer a much comfortable (but pricier) ride.

MTR Stations

MTR Stations


The 31 km travel from Tung Chung to Tsim Sha Tsui where our guesthouse is located is about 35 minutes riding the MTR. From Tung Chung we transferred to another train at the Lai King Station to get to TST. Unlike in Manila where you need to exit the station, in Hong Kong you only need to walk to the other side of the platform to ride another train. How efficient!
Riding the escalator

Riding the escalator

“When in Rome, Do what the Romans Do”. Same thing in HK. When in HK, do what the locals do. Even riding the escalators can be a traumatic experience if you’re not aware of the locals’ custom. If you’re not in a hurry, ALWAYS stay at the right side of the escalator.

Golden Crown Guesthouse at Nathan Rd. TST

Golden Crown Guesthouse at Nathan Rd. TST


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After enjoying the suburban feel of Ngong Ping, here we are stunned with Hong Kong’s modernity. With the tall skyscrapers and busy locals and tourists making their way through the busy streets of HK, I feel like the typical “probinsyano” (province guy) who cant help but stare and be amazed by his surroundings.

After we’ve checked in at the Golden Crown Guesthouse (my first blog entry contains a short review about Golden Crown: https://budgetedwanderer.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/hong-kong-macau-part-1-preparation/ ) and a quick lunch in one of the local restaurants in the area, we decided to meet my cousin and my aunt who work in HK.

1881 Heritage

1881 Heritage


A former police headquarters, the 1881 Heritage was our first destination in Kowloon. The British colonization is very evident here because of the victorian inspired architecture.
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On the farthest end of Salisbury Road is where the pier of Star Ferry located. Tour of Hong Kong wouldn’t be complete without experiencing this iconic ferry. It feels like you’ve time traveled aboard the star ferry because of its dark wooden interior giving it its nostalgic feel.

You can use either your octopus card or a token which you can get at vending machines at the pier to ride the ferry.

The ferry operates across the Victoria Harbour which is also the home port of Star Pisces, one of the cruise ships of Star cruises.
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On our first day, we had a quick glimpse of Central HK because from here we took the MTR to Cheung Sha Wan (back to Kowloon side) where we will spend the rest of the afternoon at my cousin and aunt’s apartment before we visit the Temple Street NightMarket.
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Here at Temple Street Night Market we purchased most of the pasalubongs (gifts) we brought back home.

First batch of Pasalubongs (gifts) for friends and family back home in the Philippines bought at Temple Street NightMarket.

First batch of Pasalubongs (gifts) for friends and family back home in the Philippines bought at Temple Street NightMarket.


Temple Street Night Market

Temple Street Night Market


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At night you’ll see a different but more vibrant and lively Hong Kong.

It’s been a long, tiring but fun day for me and my mom!
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Thank you for reading my blog about our first day in HK!

Join me as we spend our second day in Macau and back in Hong Kong on our third day. (Blog entries for these will be posted soon!)

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Thank you and happy wandering!

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9 thoughts on “Hong Kong Getaway – Day 1 (Ngong Ping, Giant Buddha, Kowloon)

  1. Pingback: MMDA Pasig River Ferry System- Will it serve its purpose? | BudgetedWanderer

  2. hi, need ba dumaan muna ng immigration bago kami mag stay ng overnight sa airport? or hindi muna dapat lumabas ng inmigration?.. hehe tnx

    • uhm connecting flight ba to or hong kong tlga destination nyo? i guess either connecting or hindi dadaan tlga kayo ng immigration muna. usually ung mga benches na pinepwestuhan eh nasa labas. i mean nasa loob pa din ng airport pero labas na ng immigration counters and ung kinukuhaan ng baggages. hope this helps. hehe…

      • hong kong talaga.. 9pm arrival kc namin sa hongkong e thank you so much.. daan muna kami immigrattion counters then tsaka kami maghanap ng benches na pag stayan namin gnun po ba?.. thanks hehe

  3. Hello, your blog is very helpful. I am about to travel solo to HK this coming July. I would like to ask whether in those bus rides (i.e. S1), did you use the Octopus card for your fare or you paid separately? And if you’re backpacking, are you allowed to carry your backpack in the cable car or you have to leave it in tung chung? THANK YOU!

    • hi tinborbs! sorry for my late reply… regarding the bus ride, yeah i’ve used my octopus card even when riding the dingding and starferry.

      I think its ok to bring your backpack with you inside the cable car. We actually did the same since we arrived early morning and before checking in to our hotel we decided to go first to ngong ping with our bags with us. The cable car has a large capacity so I dont think it would be a problem.

      Hope you’ll enjoy your solo backpacking in HongKong! Hope to hear from you when you get back!

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