A trip definitely worth taking is to the Tian Tan Big Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. The views are absolutely beautiful and it’s easily accessible from either the HKG Hong Kong Airport, Hong Kong Island or Kowloon.
While technically free to see and walk up to the Buddha, most visitors elect to take the (much faster) Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car ride through the mountains for stunning views.
From the the cable car, it is a quick 10 minute walk through the quaint village of Ngong Ping to the Lo Pin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha.
Continue reading below for a full review and travel guide!
About Tian Tan Big Buddha
Located in Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, Hong Kong, Tian Tan Buddha is the world’s second largest outdoor sitting buddha (#1 is Fo Guang Shan) by Kaohsiung City in Taiwan. The Big Buddha sits a commanding 112 feet tall and weighs over 34 metric tons. Unlike the others, Tian Tan Buddha sits facing north, overlooking all of China as a guardian. The bronze statue is of the Buddha Shakyamuni, symbolizing the harmonious relationship between man and nature, and people and their faith.
Once you take the 268 steps to the top, you’ll see Big Buddha sitting on a circle platform of a lotus throne. There are smaller statues surrounding known as The Offering of the Six Devas offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. This symbolizes the six perfections of generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment.
At the top you will find a beautiful panoramic view over Lantau Island. You can enter the base of the statue for a fee around 60-100 HK*. Brandon flew his drone and was able to capture some amazing aerial shots of the Big Buddha and the surrounding scenery.
About Ngong Ping Village
From the cable car there is about a 10-minute walk through the Ngong Ping Village. It ends at the Lo Pin Monastery and the Big Buddha. The town itself is quaint but fairly touristy, there are travel guides and maps of the Buddha and surrounding village for those interested. Along your walk you will find plenty of food, drinks, souvenirs and even the occasional cow roaming around.
Big Buddha Hours of Operation
How to get to Tian Tan Big Buddha
There are various ways to get to Tian Tan Buddha depending on where you are traveling from and if you wish to take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car (recommended). The beautiful gondola ride is about 25 minutes to Ngong Ping Village, and then it’s a 10 minute walk to the Buddha.
From the HKG Hong Kong Airport
- Taxi + Cable Car (recommended). Allow 3-4 hours for round trip.
- From the airport take the BLUE taxi directly to the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car (about a 10 minute drive and ~40-50 HKD). Take the cable car ride to Ngong Ping Village.
From Kowloon or Hong Kong Island
- MTR + Cable Car (recommended). Allow 3-4 hours for round trip.
- Take the MTR ORANGE line to Tung Chung Station. Get off at Tung Chung Station and exit B for the cable car terminus. Then walk about a block to Ngong Ping 360 cable car.
- MTR + Bus. Allow 4-5 hours for round trip.
- Follow same MTR as above. AtTung Chung Station head toward the Tung Chung town centre and board the New Lantao Bus 23. This bus will take you all the way to Ngong Ping in about 1 hour and around $17HK
- Taxi all the way to Ngong Ping Village. Time and cost varies depending on how far away you are.
- From Tung Chung Station, it takes about 40 minutes one way. From Hong Kong Island about 1 hour and 15 minutes. We do not recommend as it takes longer and is more expensive.
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
The Ngong Ping Cable Car offers a crystal glass bottom gondola and a standard gondola without glass bottom.
Gondola with glass bottom – $145 OW, $210 RT.
Gondola without glass bottom – $200 OW, $290 RT.
I personally don’t think it was worth the extra money for the glass bottom gondola since you the best views aren’t directly downward. It seems like more of a gimmick. We chose to ride there in the standard gondola since the wait was 3x longer for the crystal glass bottom. However on the way back, it was surprisingly quicker to take the glass bottom gondola down. We easily upgraded our ticket at the top for an extra $55 HKD each and saved almost an hour (we had lounges to visit after all!)
The cable car ride is about 25 minutes each way with stunning views of the ocean, Lantau Island and the mountains. We felt it was is a lot more peaceful, beautiful and faster (albeit more expensive) than taking the bus or taxi to Ngong Ping.
Thanks for reading our travel guide on Tian Tan Big Buddha!