It had been two years since Johnny and I had visited Hong Kong together. And even though I’ve been back and forth solo since then, we had a long to-do list on this recent visit — especially since we’d upgraded our camera equipment and wanted to re-capture a lot of Hong Kong’s top tourist spots.
One of the top things on our list was Lantau Island, a place we frequented when living in Hong Kong thanks to it being home to Hong Kong Disneyland. Despite our frequent visits, we rarely made it past Sunny Bay out to explore the peaks and other tourist attractions.
Even that one time when we did make it out to visit the Big Buddha, we had visited by local mini bus rather than taking the famous picturesque cable cars. So when invited out on a romantic Lantau Island tour with Ngong Ping 360 on the first day of our honeymoon, how could we refuse?
We started our day at the cable car terminus as we waited for our Crystal Cabin to arrive.
While it was boiling outside, the upside of being there in summer meant sunny blue skies (relatively) free of pollution, making the views from the cable car even more beautiful.
It was so clear, we could even see the Shenzhen and Macau skylines in the distance (which is super rare nowadays).
The ride up took around 35 minutes, so it really isn’t for the faint of heart. But even with my fear of heights, I found the ride enjoyable since the scenery distracted me from looking down.
At the top we were greeted by our tour guide. Since we told her we had been here before, she asked us how we wanted to spend our time and then took us straight to Po Lin Monastery.
For all the years living in Hong Kong, Po Lin had been closed to renovations, so I was excited to finally see it in person. Our guide gave us lots of history and cultural tidbits before giving us free time to explore the area.
Since it was so hot outside, we decided to skip the challenging ascent up to Big Buddha. With that being the only thing we had previously seen in the area anyways, we decided it was a better use of our time to take in the views elsewhere.
We snapped a few photos from the base and then headed on our way.
We explored some of the smaller shrines in the complex as well as a few of the great halls – taking in the beautiful architecture of them all.
Majority of them were really empty – despite the mass crowds that were piling into the cable cars. Most people really do just stick to seeing the Big Buddha and the touristy Ngong Ping Village.
After taking in all of the monastery, we made a quick jog out to the Wisdom Path knowing we had only a few minutes before it was time to leave.
Even though we had been there before, it really is one of my favorite spots in the area and I wanted to grab a better photo of it with the day’s gorgeous blue skies behind it.
Literally jogging back to make it in time, melting in the sweltering heat, we got back just to be whisked off on an air conditioned coach to the Tai O villages.
Tai O was one of the few places I had always wanted to visit in Hong Kong, but somehow in two years living there, we never made it.
Known for it’s fishing villages, people come out this way to be transported back through time. Seeing the houses sitting on their stilts, walking through the narrow streets filled with markets, I loved everything about the charming atmosphere of Tai O.
While everything certainly felt very Chinese, I still couldn’t help to feel a bit of a European vibe while wandering the streets.
Maybe it’s because it was narrow or all the random pops of brightly colored buildings, but something about it greatly reminded me of my time in Burano.
That plus the water, I guess I can see why people joking called Tai O the “Venice of Hong Kong”.
We made our way to a dock where we hopped aboard a little boat to get a closer look of the houses.
From there we sped off into the bay to head to the Tai O Heritage Hotel.
We sipped cocktails on the terrace of this boutique hotel, where we then had our dinner as the sunset.
So for all of those who say Hong Kong can’t be romantic – this is the perfect outing the prove them wrong! It was an absolutely great start to our honeymoon and a fun way to explore more of Lantau Island than simply Disneyland.
A special thank you to Ngong Ping 360 for inviting us out.