Thursday, August 7, 2008

Calm & Serenity @ Ngong Ping 360, HK

One of Hong Kong’s newer attractions was the Ngong Ping 360. The Ngong Ping experience begins with the cable car ride from Tung Chung (accessible via MTR from Kowloon) to the Ngong Ping cultural village atop a mountain plateau on Lantau Island. The 25-minute cable car ride is an unforgettable experience across the sea. In the distance we could see the planes taking off at HK’s Chek Lap Kok Airport. We could also see people hiking up the hills. Surely, an easier way to go up is via the cable car! We know we’ve arrived at Ngong Ping when the giant Buddha looms ahead of us. A sense of calm seems to envelope Ngong Ping, the perfect antidote to the bustle of downtown Hong Kong. Disembarking at the Ngong Ping station, we made our way to the picturesque Ngong Ping Village where attractions, shops and good food awaits! The multimedia Walk with Buddha attraction took us through the life of Siddharta Gautama and through his path to enlightenment. The walk through the attraction was so surreal, I had goose bumps. The calm and serenity that I experienced in this walk with Buddha is one which I will not forget in a hurry.

The next attraction was the Monkey’s Tale Theatre which was a computer generated animation with special effects and sound. The antics of the cute monkeys were definitely amusing!

As in elsewhere in Hong Kong, shopping is another attraction in Ngong Ping Village. There were many small village shops where we indulged in retail therapy from jades to chopsticks to our favourite - local sweets! Small intimate cafes are also a feature of Ngong Ping Village. We particularly like the little shop where we filled our tummies with delicious meatball noodles and deep-fried salt & pepper cuttlefish tentacles before making our way up to pay homage to the Giant Buddha. At the end of Ngong Ping Village, the majestic Buddha sits serenely atop the plateau. It is the world’s tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha statue. It is also a very long climb up – all 268 steps of it! The reward for attempting the climb to the top was the spectacular mountain scenery of Lantau Island.

Once we descended we went to the famous Po Lin Monastery at the foot of the hill. A short walk through a small beaten path dotted with derelict abandoned houses took us to the Wisdom Path, an outdoor replica of the Heart Sutra. Wooden pillars inscribed with the sutra were placed in the form on the infinite figure. I am in my element in Ngong Ping. Somehow I felt like I belong.

No comments: