Hong Kong Day 1

We woke at 8am and left Panda Botique Hostel at 8:45am. We headed to Tung Chung on the MTR and grabbed a few pastries and drinks in the station upon arrival (HKD35.5, paid with cash).

Although they were good, we needed more food so we visited the nearby “Fresh” grocery store, which was an amazing experience!
All the bottled tea choices that I could fit in just one frame; there was more!

We always love visiting grocery stores in other countries, and this was no exception. The grocery store was very large, and had sushi making, butcher shop, fish shop, and lots of produce.

Katie trying to figure out which variety package of fruit to try

In hindsight, it was one of the biggest, well stocked stores we saw! We grabbed some cut fruit, sushi, coffee drink, and trail mix (HKD103.80, paid with cash to break HKD500)

Our breakfast and some trail mix in case we needed it later

After waiting in a long checkout line, we headed to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car line. We were a bit late for our tickets, but had no issues. We were glad that we had followed the TripAdvisor advice though and booked online (HKD115 each for standard cable car one-way, paid by credit card), as the ticket purchase line was long!

Part of the very, very long line for those without tickets. We got to go up the empty right lane.
We got to fast-track up to the last section of lines right before boarding

We sat on the right side of the cable car, and were glad we did for the views of the airport. We did not pay extra for the crystal cabin, and were happy with this decision as there were no moments we really wanted to be able to see out of the bottom of the cable car, as there was nothing but water and forests directly underneath the car.

View back toward to (unused?) airport transfer point and starting station off to the right

The 25 minute ride went by quickly! We loved the views of the massive Hong Kong airport, with 747s and 777s taking off and landing one after another.

So many 747s at just one airport!
View towards the Ngong Ping station
We wandered through the Ngong Ping tourist village, enjoying the cute photo spots.

View of the Big Buddha from the top station of the cableway

We walked to the Po Lin monastery, which was probably the highlight of the day. We ate our snacks at the picnic tables in front of the monastery and enjoyed watching people light incense offerings.

Katie trying “dragon fruit” for the first time

After eating, we walked around the parts of the monastery that were open to tourists. It was incredibly beautiful, especially the “Grand Hall Of Ten Thousand Buddhas”.

Entrance to the Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Amoghasiddhi, Amitabha, Vairocana, Ratnasambhava, Aksobhya with ~9,995 other buddhas surrounding them

Many of the other 10,000 buddhas were small, seemingly-individually carved statues in neat rows and columns

Next we walked up to the big Buddha statue and enjoyed the views before walking out to the Wisdom Path. The Wisdom Path has 35 wooden posts with different parts of a poem.

Statues around the big Buddha statue
Tagged cows were wandering/sleeping in the areas around the monastery and Wisdom Path
Tablets of the Wisdom Path

After seeing the Wisdom Path, we went to take the bus to Tai O, but upon barely missing a bus and finding it was another 50 minutes until the next one, we opted to take one of two waiting taxis. The fare ended up only being HKD52 (cash) so it was definitely worth it!
Vast price difference between weekdays and Sundays/public holidays
Bus schedule and bus stops
Taxi estimated fares and times from the Ngong Ping Bus Terminal
Once in Tai O we wandered the stalls and then had a lunch of fish balls, tea cakes, and a variety pack of gelatin deserts (HKD45, paid with cash). Katie was surprised that she was willing and able to eat everything.
New-ish foot bridge over to Tai O, with tourist boats crossing underneath
Street food which we didn’t try
Lunch – so authentic of a place that we ordered without really knowing what we were getting!

The items in the bag were “Tanka tea dumplings” – as we found out later on a sign talking about Tai O’s “Best-kept Secrets”. It is described as “a dessert made with glutinous rice flour and stuffed with a savoury or sweet filling. As many Tai O villagers have Tanka origin, they enjoy gathering together and eating the dumplings which match well with tea.”

After lunch we walked through the town and out to the old police station, which had been turned into a fancy hotel. The fish smells (from dried fish, drying fish, live fish, and fish pastes) were strong at points and left Katie unwilling to try eating anything else.

View back towards the more-populated part of the town and surrounding mountain

The old police station, now turned into a fancy hotel

Along the way out and back from the old police station, we enjoyed seeing – and feeding – the neighborhood cats.

As many houses seemed to be shacks, the local government has set-up public toilets to create more sanitary conditions. They seemed very well maintained and were a welcome sight after walking around the village for a couple of hours.

We took the 5:10pm #1 bus to Mui Wo. It was scenic at points, and we generally enjoyed seeing more of the island. The most interesting notes were the roadside campsites and all the cattle on and by the road! There was also a large dam and two correctional facilities.

Once in Mui Wo, we had about 90 minutes until the next slow, ordinary ferry so we went to have dinner at The Kitchen (1 Mui Wo Road, Silvermine Bay 00852) since it was too dark to enjoy the trails or beaches. We split a large Hawaiian pizza (MOP148) and two local beers (MOP55 each). Then we caught the 7:30pm slow ferry to Central. We had read online that in addition to being cheaper, the slow ferry was also better because it was open air.

The city lights were pretty from the ferry, but we both were very tired. To keep from falling asleep on the ferry, we got up and stood at the back of the ferry. The city lights got better and better the closer we got to Central. Once at Central we took to MTR back to Panda Boutique Hostel and quickly fell asleep.

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