Hong Kong Weather in January
This is my first suggestion for anyone visiting Hong Kong. It makes using the train/bus/ferry much quicker and easier. It is $150 HKD ($19 USD) $50 is a deposit you put down and then load your card with $100. If you return the card within 3 months you are charged $9 HKD ($1.20 USD) and the remainder of the money you did not spend is returned to you.
Take the MTR
Use the great online to find the quickest way to get to Tung Chung Station. You swipe your octopus card to go through the turnstile and get on the train. For the MTR, you also swipe when you leave the station at your destination and that is when it will deduct money from the card based on the distance you traveled. For us to get from the Prince Edward Station in Mong Kok to the Tung Chung station it cost $14.1 HKD pp/each way. I am from Chicago and am an avid rider of the El since I don’t own a car. The MTR puts the El to shame (sorry Chi-town!) The MTR is spotless, super fast and efficient. It has lights telling you which station you are heading to and even which side to get off at. There is no eating or drinking on any of the public transportation, so there is no trash being left behind. The MTR is a great experience for anyone to get around Hong Kong!
Decide between the gondola and the bus
Once you arrive at the Tung Chung station you have two options to reach the Big Buddha. You can either pay $125 HKD for a round trip gondola ride up to the top, which would be fun on a clear day, but it was especially foggy while we were in Hong Kong. Being budget travelers we opted to pay $17.20 HKD ($2.20 USD) and took the bus. The bus wasn’t boring. It was 30-40 minutes taking switchbacks up and down a mountain, while our driver drove much faster than I would ever drive on the tiny roads. It didn’t help that I am still not used to cars driving on the left side of the road so around every turn we felt as if we were going head first into them.
Walk up the 268 steps to see the Big Buddha
You have finally reached the former world’s tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha statue (I love the extensive explanation.) Hopefully the weather is in your favor and you can clearly see the statue and the surrounding land. Again, you have two options. You can purchase a vegetarian meal at the monastery and enter the museum portion at the top, or you can walk the stairs and enjoy the statue from outside. We just admired the view.
Hike up to the second highest point in Hong Kong, Lantau Peak
Lantau Peak is the second highest point in Honk Kong and the trailhead is right next to the Big Buddha. If you enjoy hiking this is a great climb to the summit, where the sunrise is a popular destination in the early morning. Allow around 3 hours for a round trip hike to the top. Or if you are like us, you will get halfway up and realize that:
1. It’s too foggy to see anything so the summit won’t look anything different than the fog you see now.
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