After a 15-minute ride with some unforgettable views of the the airport and mountainous terrain, we landed in a small village that sits at the base of the stairs to the statue; with the obligatory souvenir shops and ice cream vendors, Ngong Ping has all the creature comforts on would expect from a popular tourist destination. We'd recommend to skip these high-price tourist shops and cafes, however, since it's a bit of a trap. Head straight for the 260 stairs leading straight up to Buddha.
Before you kick off the ascent, there's an option to shell out 30 HKD (3.87 USD) for entrance to the museum, a bottle of cool water, and a refreshing ice cream at the top. Money goes to the non-for-profit and it's a perfect way to cool down after those steep stairs.
What goes up must come down, and there is no elevator. Once you've finished enjoying the view, head down and follow the heavy scent of incense to the Po Lin Monastery. It's a working Buddhist monastery that is home to monks and monks-in-the-making. Currently it's under construction scaffolding, but if you're lucky you can spy on a monk ringing the commune's bell.
[Photos & Video: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]