We were determined that our last day in Hong Kong be as packed full of memorable experiences as possible. This meant getting up and getting going. We were staying at an airport hotel very near to the Ngong Ping cable car station and we thought we might as well start there. We arrived at the base of the station a little after nine and nothing was moving yet, so we joined a line of people to ask what was going on. Instead of finding out we were shuffled onto a bus that would take us to the top of the mountain. We found out later that the cable car doesn't start to run until 10am.
It turned out to be fortuitous though, as this meant we were the first ones to the top. We got unobstructed views of the giant staircase leading to the Buddha statue and were able to walk around and take it all in before the masses of other tourists arrived. It was a beautiful morning and we took our time getting to the top, just enjoying the gorgeous views of hills and flags. There isn't any charge to see this beautiful monument, you only have to pay if you want to eat lunch at the monastery or go inside the museum underneath the Buddha. Especially if you take the bus one way, this is a great attraction for the budget-minded traveler.
Once we'd taken in the monument, we headed back down and spent some time exploring the monastery grounds and smaller temples. The cafeteria was gearing up for the lunch time business while we were there but we were so early that we didn't want to spend too much of our last day waiting around. After a postcard purchase, we spent a little while wandering around the Ngong Ping village. Which is a very Disney experience. Like the China exhibit at Epcot. Then we caught the cable car back to the bottom of the hill.
Incredible views, incredible experience. If we had known how cool it was we probably would have sprung for one of the crystal cars with a transparent floor and walls. It was still amazing, especially since we managed to get a car all to ourselves. It's a long ride and you're really high up. I'm not generally nervous around heights but being suspended so high up was still a little nerve-wracking. Really, really cool. Definitely worth the ticket price.
At the bottom of the cable car you can catch a bus to Tai O, an old fishing village where the houses are still built up on stilts. It's the end station on the bus so don't get off early or you'll wind up at the prison or somewhere else in the absolute middle of nowhere. Dried seafood is still the order of the day and there are lots of stall selling crazy-looking preserved sea creatures. We got a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, declined a dolphin tour and spent some time wandering around the markets, which sell all kinds of fish products, and checked out a few temples. All in all a nice excursion.
After our field trips, we headed into town to collect some last-minute souvenirs at the night market and take some last chance pictures. We managed to cram more into that one day than I had imagined possible. Definitely a great way to wrap up an amazing trip.