Monday, April 12, 2010

Lantau Island by Water, Land, Air, and Rail

We planned to visit Lamma Island today, one of the smallest accessible outlying islands off Hong Kong. Alas, we arrived at the ferry terminal only to learn that the next ferry didn't leave for an hour and a half. We revised our plans and ferried to Lantau Island instead. We weren't disappointed.

Lantau is a relatively large island, home both to the airport and Disneyland, but our destination was Ngong Ping and the Po Lin Monastery.

The "fast ferry" we took wallowed a little bit too much for our stomachs, but we managed the 45 minutes or so without having to utilize the bluntly labeled Vomit Bag in the seatback pocket.

That was followed by a 50-minute bus ride that Frommer's describes fairly accurately as hair-raising. By the time we arrived at the monastery a little bit of deep breathing was in order. We climbed up the 270 steps to the world's largest seated outdoor Buddha, dating from 1993. Later we wandered around the open areas of the monastery itself before dining on the "deluxe vegetarian lunch." The lunch was pleasant but not too exciting, featuring very bland food. We certainly preferred last night's dinner in the Thai Basil restaurant in Pacific Place.

After lunch we wandered through the Ngong Ping Village (touristy to the max) before boarding a cable car for the ride from the 2000-foot elevation back down to sea level. Even though the visibility wasn't great, this was the scenic highlight of the day. We chose the crystal cabin, featuring a glass floor, for a couple of bucks extra. This also allowed us to bypass a longer queue. We enjoyed great views all the way down, other than the odd bank of clouds. After disembarking, we walked over to the MTR and traveled back to Admiralty Station and the Conrad with one transfer.

We had no need of the umbrella we carried as the thunderstorms predicted didn't materialize. We even broke out the sunglasses from time to time. An enjoyable day.


Dennis Warner said...

Vomit bag is a bit blunt. Did the ferry have a restroom? If so I won't ask what it was called! Glad you're enjoying Hong Kong and seeing some things that most casual tourists miss.

Kathy and Brian said...

As you'd expect, unlike the euphemistic Canadian "washroom" and American "restroom," Hong Kong maintains the British tradition of "toilets," or sometimes "toilet."