A Different Side of the City on the Ngong Ping 360 – Lantau Island, Hong Kong

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Think of Hong Kong and the first thing that comes to mind is most likely close-packed skyscrapers with huge crowds of people. And while that certainly holds true for Hong Kong Island and neighboring Kowloon, there’s more to be found in the region. Just a quick metro or ferry ride from the central part of the city, Lantau Island offers a relaxing break from the fast-paced action. Here, pristine beaches, forest-clad mountain peaks, and many miles of hiking trails are just waiting to be discovered.

There's more to Hong Kong than skyscrapers and crowded streets.There's more to Hong Kong than skyscrapers and crowded streets.
There's more to Hong Kong than skyscrapers and crowded streets.31-May-2012 15:43
 

Heather hates cable cars, so it’s ironic that we always seem to end up on one of these things (be it in Malaysia, Colombia, New Zealand, or Vietnam). I somehow convinced her to get on the Ngong Ping 360 – a 5.7 km cable car journey which begins near the Tung Chung metro station and climbs to the top of Lantau Peak.

She really does hate these things.She really does hate these things.
She really does hate these things.01-Jun-2012 14:16
 

The ride starts over the ocean, passing near the International Airport.

Departing Tung Chung on the Ngong Ping 360.Departing Tung Chung on the Ngong Ping 360.
Departing Tung Chung on the Ngong Ping 360.01-Jun-2012 14:13
 

It then makes a 90-degree turn and starts ascending.

Ascending Lantau Peak with the International Airport at left.Ascending Lantau Peak with the International Airport at left.
Ascending Lantau Peak with the International Airport at left.01-Jun-2012 14:22
 

Along the way we were treated to breathtaking views of lush Lantau Island and the surrounding harbor.

Lantau Island is a nature lover's paradise. There are even waterfalls!Lantau Island is a nature lover's paradise. There are even waterfalls!
Lantau Island is a nature lover's paradise. There are even waterfalls!01-Jun-2012 14:30
 

Fully expecting Hong Kong to be a packed and clogged metropolis, we were amazed how wild and beautiful it was here. Even though she doesn’t enjoy these things, I think it’s safe to say Heather was glad we made the 25 minute journey on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.

It's hard to believe this is one of the most fast-paced cities on the planet.It's hard to believe this is one of the most fast-paced cities on the planet.
It's hard to believe this is one of the most fast-paced cities on the planet.01-Jun-2012 14:25
 

In addition to the stunning views, the top of Lantau Peak also hosts a gigantic Buddha statue, a large monastery, and a cheesy “tourist village” filled with knick knacks and other trash.

The Po Lin monastery on Lantau Peak.The Po Lin monastery on Lantau Peak.
The Po Lin monastery on Lantau Peak.01-Jun-2012 15:02
 

The Tian Tan Buddha, weighing in at 250 tons, holds the title of largest, seated, outdoor bronze Buddha statue in the world. It truly is massive.

The Tian Tan Buddha.The Tian Tan Buddha.
The Tian Tan Buddha.01-Jun-2012 15:30
 

After snapping our fair share of photos and grabbing an ice cream cone at the tourist village, we boarded a bus for a ride down the mountain to Mui Wo on the opposite side of Lantau. From here, we caught a ferry for the 45-minute ride back to central Hong Kong.

Sailing back through Hong Kong Harbour.Sailing back through Hong Kong Harbour.
Sailing back through Hong Kong Harbour.01-Jun-2012 18:02
 

Sailing away with smooth seas and perfect weather, we were once again impressed by the stunning views of the harbor, islands, and skyscrapers. Hong Kong was truly impressing us on every level.

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