My family lives on South Lantau with our two kids, but even before we lived here, we often went for an easy fun day trip – and here’s how you can do it too! Here are my tips for a perfect day’s itinerary!
Get the cable car from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping first thing in the morning. If you go early, there is no wait in line, and you can often get a cable car all to yourself. The staff are great at helping the kids in and helping if you have a pram. The ride is great fun and the vents at the top of each cable car make for natural air conditioning. For the brave of heart, try the new Crystal Cabins with a see-through floor (eeek!)
[Sassy Mama Hint – We always stop at Taste’s bakery in CityGate at Tung Chung MTR to pick up some snacks for the cable car ride!]
Ngong Ping 360 Standard Cable Cars cost $80 per adult and $41 per child (aged 3-11) for a single trip; $115 per adult and $58 per child for a round trip. Crystal Cabins cost $118 per adult and $79 per child for a single trip, $169 per adult and $112 per child for a round trip. Numerous packages, including attractions at Ngong Ping Village are also available – check all the details here.
Opening hours are 10am-6pm on weekdays and 9am-6.30pm on weekends. Always remember to look out for signs on the MTR stating whether it’s a scheduled maintenance day – which means the cable car service is totally closed!
When you get off the cable car, you’ll find yourself on the ‘tourist’ street in Ngong Ping Village, where there is a Starbucks and an ice cream place as well as some other food, but try to hold out for lunch elsewhere… (More on that to come!) A few times a day there are kung-fu shows or other entertainment in Ngong Ping – currently it’s Bubloo Carnival, a bubble art and magic show, but you can check what else is on here.
Make your way slowly through the village towards the Big Buddha. If you have older kids, you might want to walk all the way up the stairs. With younger ones, there is a large round platform at the bottom of the steps that is great for running around and around and around and around…. My kids also like posing like the Buddha and generally being very silly! It’s usually a few degrees cooler up here with a nice breeze, so it really is a lovely place for mamas to sit-down and littlies to play!
After a stroll in the temple garden, head to the vegetarian restaurant – go for the VIP room (bathrooms are out back). It’s cheap, yummy and young kids are often free. The food just comes and comes, so there is no need to order! Here are all the details:
Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant, Ngong Ping Road, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, 2985 4736
Now onto the next part of your adventure… the bus ride!
Head back to the ‘tourist street’ in Ngong Ping Village and to the bus stop. Get on the No.2 bus to Mui Wo.
New Lantao Bus Company’s No.2 route runs from Ngong Ping from 12.10pm to 6.20pm on Mondays to Saturdays and 7.05am to 6.45pm on Sundays and Public Holidays – check the full timetable here. It costs $17.20 for adults and $8.60 for kids (($27 and $13.50 on Sundays and Public Holidays).
The bus goes down a windy hilly road with great views out both sides – some say it’s even the best bus ride in HK! My kids love the ride, although when they were younger they often took the opportunity for a nap.
Get off in Pui O Village, at the Bui O Public School stop, and walk down the road to the beach. Here you will find Ooh La La restaurant, as well as the best beach for young kids. Pui O is very shallow for a long way out so it is really safe for young kids to play in the gentle waves and there are public toilets and showers for cleaning up after.
Snacks or an early dinner are available at Ooh La La (Tel: 2546 3543). If you are going to eat here on the weekend, do note food can take 30+ minutes – so order early while the kids are still playing!
When you are ready, catch the bus or order a taxi to Mui Wo, and get the ferry back to Central, or take the bus back to Tung Chung if you left your car there or for the MTR. On the weekend there can be a wait for the taxis, so try to order one early.
The ferry berths at Central Pier 5 and runs until 11.30pm; check out the full schedule here. A standard trip costs $14.50 for adults and $7.30 for children ($21.40 and $10.70 on Sundays and Public Holidays), although there are deluxe and fast ferry services also available, which cost more.
Alternatively, head to the Mui Wo Cooked Food Centre for a fabulous and cheap seafood meal at Wah Kee. We recommend the crunch noodles, fried squid with salt and pepper, fresh vegetable of the day – and a table with a view! It’s all great and the service is fast and friendly.
Wah Kee, Mui Wo Cooked Food Centre, Lantau Island, 2984 1665
Here are a few ideas for some alternative itineraries…
For older kids, you might want to choose Cheung Sha Lower Beach instead of Pui O, which is slightly deeper, and make a meal of all the dips and home-baked bread at The Stoep, which serves Mediterranean and South African cuisine.
The Stoep Restaurant, 32 Lower Cheung Sha Village, Lantau Island, 2980 2699
For adventurous families, choose Sui Hau beach and dig for clams, then bring them to the family-run shop in Shui Hau Village where they will cook them for you! If you go to the shop first, you can rent clamming rakes and leave your bags safely. Remember to check for a low tide first on Hong Kong Observatory’s website or by downloading their iPhone app.
For younger tots, skip the beach – the bus ride and ferry ride are probably enough to make it a full day out! Especially if you then have an MTR, bus or taxi ride home from Central.
Things to bring:
Reusable water bottles
Fresh fruit for instant energy snacking
A couple microfiber towels and a change of clothes if you think you’ll go to the beach
Lots of energy and a sense of adventure!
By LantauMama aka Jacqueline Renée Cohen. Check her out on Twitter!