Thursday, May 16, 2013

Our Third Day Exploit - Ngong Ping & Citygate

On our third day, after a tiring trip at Shenzhen, it was time to go slow and savor nature. I consider Ngong Ping as the best place to have a relaxing sight-seeing in Hong Kong, far from the hustle and bustle of the city and the noisy and crowded theme parks.

Due to fatigue, we woke up a bit late and took our daily caffeine and choco shots at McCafe near Times Square. Family loves their daily steaming hot choco while I prefer the strong aroma of their hot coffee to awaken my senses.

We arrived at 10 AM at Lantau MTR station. Upon seeing Citygate Outlets, as if being magnetized my wife and daughter automatically proceeded inside this mall unmindful of the boys, lol. However, upon seeing that most of the shops were still closed we proceeded to nearby Ngong Ping 360 cable car station.

The famous and unused stair at NP 360

We fell in line and waited for the ticket counters to open. After 15 minutes we noticed that several groups of tourists were bypassing our queue. I approached an NP staff and showed to her our vouchers bought from CTS airport. We were directed to another counter without any queue to exchange our vouchers into tickets. We were elated since we knew that probably more than a hundred people were already ahead of us. Hence, if you plan to visit Ngong Ping, buy your voucher at CTS airport upon arrival. You will find them at counter A04. I paid 135 HKD for each round-trip ordinary cabin voucher.


On our way to NP village

It was a first time for both daughter and eldest to ride a cable car thus they were very eager and chirpy while waiting for our turn. Unfortunately, since there was a long queue, the staff were herding 8 people inside a normal cabin thus a female "kabayan" with her Caucasian friend were with us. Nonetheless, we got a thrilling and enjoyable 25 minutes cable car ride on our way to Ngong Ping village.

Stunning views greeted us on our way to the top of the mountain. The sea and lush mountain complimented each other and at the same time we got a glimpse of how huge Hong Kong International Airport is.

As usual, upon arrival at Ngong Ping, we saw our large family pic being paraded by NP staff. Since our shot inside the cable car was better than our cable car shot at Genting Highlands, Malaysia we decided to buy it.







Fortunately, it was a cloudy day thus we were able to enjoy Ngong Ping without suffering Hong Kong's summer temperature. It was a picturesque place due to Buddhist style structure at Ngong Ping village, the lush vegetation and absence of skyscrapers.

From the cable car station we walked for several hundred meters until we reached the base of the 34 meters tall Tian Tian Buddha, the largest outdoor bronze seated Buddha. You have to conquer 268 steps before reaching the pedestal where a 3-storey exhibition hall is located. Another tip, it is cheaper to buy bottled water from here than in NP village. Moreover, on our way we bought a medium size corn on the cob for 35 HKD and a stick of "siomai" for 15 HKD; food is quite expensive around here so better bring some snacks with you.






AT THE PEDESTAL



From this point, the view is really breathtaking due to panoramic outline of Lantau Island and the South China Sea.

These guys were having a free show

After spending an hour at the pedestal and lots of photo ops we decided to return back to the cable car station; we didn't try to visit Po Lin Monastery anymore. On our way back I got a free shot with these cool guys. Likewise, family searched for their Chinese Horoscope Generals statue and another set of photo ops.

Going back to Citygate Outlets was better because we had the entire cable car cabin for ourselves making our descend more fun and exciting.

After Ngong Ping, famished, we raced to Food Republic inside Citygate Outlets. We had a sumptuous and filling meal. The food here is affordable compared with NP village.

CITYGATE OUTLETS




As expected, wife and daughter got a sudden boost of adrenaline rush. We entered different shops like Esprit, Giordano, Guess, etc. Not to be outdone, my boys explored Adidas, Nike and other sports outlets as well. Fortunately, I was able to convince them that it was cheaper to shop at Mongkok. I was lucky that the wife was in good mood thus I was able to exercise my convincing prowess, lol.

We left Citygate Outlets at 2 PM and raced to a place which I can't divulge here since I consider it a trade secret, lol. We have found another great source of Japanese and Korean dresses that can rival the Platinum Mall of Bangkok, Thailand. In fact, in terms of variety and price this place could possibly outweigh Platinum Mall. In a matter of less than an hour, we have consumed our initial or trial budget for our online shop HappyStripes Hong Kong limited collection. Likewise, my daughter was thrilled to find a pair of trendy leather shoes for a measly 100 HKD.



Furthermore, we have booked our flight back to Hong Kong on the first week of June to further explore this place and with bigger shopping budget. This time our "fashionista" daughter would be coming with us.





Before returning back to our hotel, we took our dinner at Ngan Lung Restaurant at Jardine Bazaar Street at Causeway Bay. They have increased their price since our last visit on December 2011. I got billed more than 400 HKD for a dinner for 5 people with soda drinks. If you are in a budget, avoid this place even if  it offers  authentic local cuisine, trust me.

See our 4th Day Exploit: Macau