Sunday, January 29, 2012

How To Hike To Big Buddha, Ngong Ping on Lantau Island - Hong Kong

This is a beautiful hike and I can't wait to do it again next time I go to Hong Kong. It is challenging in a sense that its about 10 km of all stairs. But the trail itself is very well maintained and well groomed which makes it "easier" in that sense. A dirt or rocky path would make it pretty miserable to do. The hike took us about 3.5 hours to do (at a slow and easy pace).. but it took us about 1 hour of getting lost trying to find the Start of the hike.
You can click on any of the photos to enlarge.



The tricky part is Finding the start of the path which is not easily marked. So I wanted to make this post to help others (and myself) to find the path.


Take the MTR (subway)  to Tung Chung - its the same island as the airport

*Here is the tricky part*
Once you exit the subway, follow the Bike Path (AWAY from the Cable car signs) and don't go through any tunnels yet. If there is a fork in the road and one side leads to a tunnel, don't go through that part. Keep following the bike path, it will curve around some large buildings.

**UPDATE************
Fredrik, a fellow reader, photoblog'd how to find the Bike Path
See his pictures HERE:

Thanks Fredrik!
**********************


Keep walking until you see a tunnel that looks exactly like this. There will be several tunnels that looks similar with the 2 arrows. Make sure you see the mosaics and the sidewalk. 



The tunnel will lead you to a main road - Go Right

 You will see these signs (Go Right) - none of these signs point you to the Buddha but you're on the right path. Follow the Reddish/Purple arrows for now.



Keep walking and following the bike path. Along the path we saw lots of people drying their laundry on the bushes and trees, despite signs that say to not do so.




You will see a bridge - Go to the Right (Do Not go on the bridge) Not far you will see a little path to the right that looks like it leads to a swampy area. Go there. (lol sounds sketchy doesnt it?) haha 

***** UPDATE******UPDATE*********************************************
a reader informed me of another route to avoid this swampy area (the next few photos). I haven't personally been on it, but it seems easy enough to follow: ~Thanks Ole Ch.

Stay on Yu Tung Road (don't turn right, do cross the bridge).
Near the end of Yu Tung Road (it ends with a sharp turn to the left and becomes Chung Mun Road) there is another sign post with blue/red sings.

One of the reddish/purple signs is pointing towards Hau Wong Temple. The building in your picture right before the bridge across the water (some kind of playground) is right next to Hau Wong Temple, so follow the sign by turning right off Yu Tung Road (down some stairs). Follow the path and turn left at the first fork.
--This path will lead to the fork with the six white sign pictured above. From here the instructions are the
same.



************************************************************************

Go Left where the people are heading in the photo


Once you reach a fork in the road, Go Right 

Can you believe it, You are about Halfway to the START of the buddha hike.

As you walk you will see people that live in the little huts. I don't know if they take kindly to strangers. I stayed quiet and tried not to bother them. 

Keep walking you will see this sign - Go Right 


Keep following the path straight. 
You will come across this building. Keep walking


Soon you will see this bridge, and the cable cars to the right. You have finally made your way around the water.

Follow the path, you will come across the last set of little houses. 

Once you past the houses you will see these firebeaters and the stairs which BEGIN the hike to the buddha!
FINALLY!


The man in the photo is the only 1 out of 3 people we came across during the hike. And this man, in his late 60's totally kicked our butts. We didn't see him again until he was already on his way back and we were about only half way to the 1st tower. 

In total there are 5 towers, which are labeled #2- #6, but I will call them 1-5 to avoid confusion.

The toughest part was the beginning getting to the first tower. Its pretty steep and we took many breaks. The Entire trail is made of these stone steps.


Sit and enjoy the view


Panoramic view


You will see posts like this - the end is when you get to C30 
Here is C03 - you are going toward Ngong Ping


The path is pretty easy  to follow now, just follow the stairs, the massive amount of stairs. 

The path to Tower 2 - *Bleep*!! ( just a reminder there are 5 towers in total)
BLEEP!!


Path to Tower 3 - When we were hiking we didn't know there were 5 towers. The 3rd tower was larger than the others so we thought this was the end. We were pretty excited being about 1.5 hours in at this point and rushed up to tower 3. 
BLEEP


However once we reached tower 3, to our dismay 2 more towers, and Buddha very, very far away (arrow)..  Follow the path under the cable cars. People will yell at you and call you crazy from above. 


You will reach a fork in the road and it will steer you left. It looks like you are no longer following the cable cars, but it is a much easier path. 
Aerial view:

The path that goes straight ends. It looks like the canyon was too deep and they stopped building and decided to go another route. 


The path now isn't too steep, more straight with a slight incline which makes you miss the stairs. 

This Corgi is kicking my butt. These people took the cable car and are taking the path back. I'm curious how that dog is gonna handle the 60 degree stair incline..  



Tower 5 is in sight!!

Finally C30!!



Ahh the last tower!

oh wait.. you're not at the Buddha yet!! 

You need to climb 250 steps to reach him. 


Now you have reached the Buddha. 
omitofu.. 










48 comments:

  1. That looks absolutely amazing. I'm pretty sure, though, that even if you drugged me and snuck me on a plane there, I'd get to that big drop on those stairs there and say "Um, I'm gonna go back now."

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  2. haha! turning back came across my mind several times, especially when you see the people riding carefree on the cable cars above.

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  3. Run Lily,

    Thanks for posting these directions. I have been wanting to hike that path for a while, but wasn't sure how to get started. I had a 2 day layover this weekend and was able to do the hike with your directions today. Was able to get 4 co-workers to join in. It took us about 3.5 hours at a moderate pace. I was able to load the page into my iPhone and look at each photo as a good step by step path to the trail. Worked great!

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  4. Hi Mike,
    Thanks! I'm really glad it helped. :-D yay!!!

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  5. Hi Lily,

    Just wanted to let you know that the start of the hike is even harder to find now because the swampy area has been filled and is now the site of hospital! My friends and I tried to follow your directions and they were good until the swamp. :( But we did manage to find the start of the hike which took 2 hours.

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  6. Hi Kelly!
    Thanks for the heads up!!
    Oh no, how do you get around the swampy area?

    Lily

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  7. Just did this Big Buddha hike today (technically speaking it is the "Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail").
    The weather started out nice, but became rather misty around reaching the second tower. However every cloud has a silver lining and this time it was when I was catching my breath at the third tower and the mist lifted for a short moment and the Big Buddha was visible before mysteriously disappearing in the mist again.
    Thank you for turning my attention to this trail.


    About the directions:

    In my assesment, it is better to simply bypass the swampy area by staying on Yu Tung Road (don't turn right, do cross the bridge).
    Near the end of Yu Tung Road (it ends with a sharp turn to the left and becomes Chung Mun Road) there is another sign post with blue/red sings.

    One of the reddish/purple signs is pointing towards Hau Wong Temple. The building in your picture right before the bridge across the water (some kind of playground) is right next to Hau Wong Temple, so follow the sign by turning right off Yu Tung Road (down some stairs). Follow the path and turn left at the first fork. This path will lead to the fork with the six white sign pictured above. From here the instructions are the same.

    It should be noted that there is more than one exit from the subway station, but not sure how to explain which one is "the right one".


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    1. thanks for the tip! It would be nice to avoid those huts next time, they were kinda creepy.

      Yea exiting the subway was confusing, once we exited we had no idea where we were, and circled the outside a few times. ha. the best I could remember was walking away from the cable car signs. Hopefully another reader can inform us of the right one. :)

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  8. Hi, this is a really nice walk. It's a little tricky to find the beginning (there are multiple tunnels with a mosaic!). But just go to the
    Yu Tung Road, then follow signs to Hau Wong Temple and you'll get to the playground which has a photo here. It took us about 2:30 hours from the first stairs. Cheers!

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  9. I wish I had seen this post before I went. We decided it was too hard to find the start and just took the cable car... we were watching people below us with much jealousy. Next time I am there, I 'm taking these directions. THANKS!

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    1. :) its a fabulous hike, hope you get a chance to try it next time. keep in touch <3

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  10. Woah, did the hike today! Good directions and once you get to the start is easy to follow! Took just over 2 hours from mtr station to the budda! It took us 45 minutes to find the start point! Definatly v.easy to find the Yu Tung Road and follow that to the end then try and look for the tunnels as there are a few! Got the detox after HK 7s going nicely! Thanks

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    1. Thanks! 2 hours, awesome! :)

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  11. Hello run, would you recommend this for a zero experience people in hiking like me. In the sense of, is it dangerous and can i do it solo. Apparently i just have to follow the trail. Its "kinda" simple. What do you think?

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    1. Hi Ronald,
      If you're healthy enough to handle the distance and the incline, I definitely think its something to try. Its a beautiful experience. The path is easy to follow so you wont need prior hiking experience (such as hiking on dirt or rocky trails). I think the incline was the hardest part. Its not dangerous since the path is paved and well maintained, but just keep in mind, since you're going solo, that there aren't any exits, so once you start you kinda have to keep going because there's no way out and no one there to help, (like park rangers). When we were there, we saw a local man walking the path solo so I think its something he does often.

      take care. I hope you go, I would want to go back. Share some pictures.
      Lily

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    2. Thank you so much. No worries, definately share the pictures with you.

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  12. I have uploaded some pictures from my hike up to the buddha! It was a really nice hike, I would recommend it when travelling to hongkong!
    http://www.ludd.ltu.se/~frocke/blog/articles/67/how-to-find-the-hiking-trail-to-the-big-buddha-in-hongkong
    Thanks a lot for the instructions on this website, i'm quite sure I otherwise would have wasted a lot of time searching for the start of the trail!

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    1. How long did you take to hike up to big buddha?

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    2. Thanks Fredrik!
      Your photos are great and very helpful.
      I circled the subway building a few times and was super disoriented by the time we found a bike path.

      I'll add link to your site above.

      Thanks again!
      Lily

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  13. I visited HK last year (loved it!) and I remember looking at the winding path below the cable cars and being really curious about it. Now that I found this site I can finally see what it's like down there! I really appreciate this!

    -Chris from San Francisco

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    1. Hi Chris! You're very welcome! I'm really glad my little blog post is helping out a lot of people :)

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  14. Great hike - did it last weekend.. Thanks a lot for all the Fotos and the instructions! Those were a huge help!

    Definitely not for beginners though... Also really bear in mind that once you are on the track there is no water and no shelter.. Be prepared for that!

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  15. The first time I went to the Giant Buddha way back in 2010. I was on the cable car with my friends but at the time, I really envied those people doing the hike. I told myself that someday I'd go back to HK and experience it myself. And then, I came across your blog! I'm going back to HK for the New Year. I was wondering if this hike would be safe for a solo traveller? :) Thanks!

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    1. @Geleen:- Just read your post today.....don't scare about the path....as it is fully develop..along with all directions...distance..etc.. Also, you would be find many localizes n foreigners on the track for the hiking.....the only challenge is you would not be find any snacks, eating or drinking stuff. You have to be prepare at yourself before start otherwise it can cause you in a problem because some steps of this hiking is on >60 degree angle which will consume max body energy. Apart from that, this hike is really enjoyable and safe for everyone. If in case you have any query or need suggestion you can contact me as well, Today i completed this hiking without any issues.....Good Luck and All the best for your Hike@ 2014....!!!! :-)

      --Ankur Goel

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  17. It is one of the best tracking experience of my life......I am very thankful LILY.....your blog is really helpful ....otherwise it was very tricky part to start hike..towards...Big Budha......Many many thanx...2 u...

    --Ankur Goel

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    1. Hi Ankur, Thanks so much! I'm very glad this post was helpful and you got to experience this wonderful hike. You're very welcome. :)

      ~Lily

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    2. Hi Lily, keep updating such like a post which gave trekking enthusiast to peoples mostly foreigners. Initially, i never thought i would be able complete it or not but after reading your blog only, i change my plan from cable car to trekking and now i can say it' was one of the best and memorable hiking trip of my life. Thank you very much and hoping your new blog which gave a new direction to all localize & foreigners as like me....

      --Ankur Goel

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  18. Hi
    I have been to the Budha before and am planning to go again. this is certainly a different way of doing it, which is just what I am looking for. Do you happen to have instructions in reverse. we might cable car there, have a look around the budah, little village and monastery and then hike back.

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    1. Hi!
      I don't really have instructions in reverse, because i didn't go that way, but I do remember that its much easier to find the path from the Buddha, (lots of signs and such).

      I think the only hard part is finding the subway from the entrance. I believe if you're at the entrance, (your back is facing up the mountain/stairs), you should turn Right, and follow the path, then you'd probably see the little houses, then the 6 white signs. I haven't' taken Ole Ch route, but it seems like it would be easier to go that route back to the main road which i think would be Chung Mun Road and then you would turn on Yu Tung Road, which would take you back toward the tunnels and then to the subway.

      Let me know how it goes :)

      Thanks,
      Lily

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  19. Hi,
    Thanks for your write up. It definitely helped me a great deal. I must say a really good hike along with short detours to the helipads with awesome 360 views !!

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    1. Thanks! I'm so glad my little post helped :)
      ~Lily

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  20. Hey Lily beautiful article on the hike. I will be in Hong Kong for the first time in my live this Sunday, spending a week there. As I definitely want to do a day long hike I think yours is on my favorite list. What I am interested in is the views. Can you tell me if you have nice views onto the airport on the one side and towards the South China Sea on the other side? I would be curious about this. Many thanks again.
    Jochen

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    1. Hi Jochen,
      regarding the views, are you asking about views along the hike or in HK in general? You should check out The Peak fora really high view. for this hike, once you pass tower 1, you're in the hills so you dont really see the city or anything, but the hill itself is very beautiful, and the way the stairs are made is pretty fascinating itself.

      hope this helps. and hope you get to go on this hike. Let me know how it goes. ;)
      Lily

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  21. Thanks, I'll be making a video in 360 degrees of walking along the trail, the video will be here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKMQUvsuUHEUmujhyEfrq-g I arrive there next week. When I first arrive though i think i'll get the cable car to the top and then 360 the video down the trail then another day i will go to Tower 2 or 3 from Tung Chung.

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  22. Hi,
    Today we went for this trek. Your blog helped us a lot. Thank you very much!

    Dnyanesh

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  23. Fantastic directoons. I don't know how we ever would have found the trail otherwise. My friend and I did the hike the day before yesterday. It took about 3 hours and was just as awesome as you describe. Call me crazy, but I think I'd do it again. Getting to the top gave me an incredible sense of accomplishment and there is no way to describe the feeling you get when you are surrounded by those mountains!

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    1. That's awesome!
      thank you for the kind words!

      Delete
  24. Super nice post. I remember hiking down and trying to find the routes in Hongkong to take the bus. Lots of good direction but still. OMG...

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  25. We just did this hike but didn't follow the tip about avoiding the tunnels and then couldn't find the tunnel in the blog...ended up taking the trail south of this one that gets you to the buddha from the other side. Oops! We took the cable car back and saw some people hiking in the dark with flashlights below :)

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    1. I followed Google Maps and that's how we got there but took the other trail since it was slightly shorter (only by 3 minutes though)

      Here is a link to the screenshot of what Google Maps gives you. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1853300518217422&set=gm.1787991661447697&type=3&theater Your blog post is the the blue route, we took the gray one. Next time I go I want to take the blue one and return on the gray, about 10 miles total :)

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  26. Hi did you do a roundtrip hike? If yes how long did it ake>

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    1. Hi, I took the cable cars back. I would guess it would probably would be 4-5 hours round trip, depending on how long you wanted to stay at the Buddha

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