A thrilling cable car ride in Hong Kong

The Ngong Ping 360 cable car

I love cable cars. When I was a kid, I built simple models using string, wheels of discarded toy cars, little paper boxes (as the cabins – complete with drawings of windows and little faces), paperclips (to clip the ‘cabins’ to the string) and old shoe boxes (as the stations). The cable cars were suspended across the length of my room from the top of my cupboard to my desk. I played with my cable car model for hours and yelled at anyone who entered my room for fear of them walking into the ‘cables’! As I started to travel, I never missed a chance to go on a cable car ride whenever the opportunity arose. The Genting Highlands cable car in Malaysia was my first ride, followed by other spectacular rides in Cape Town, Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Queenstown and many more.  I had another great opportunity on my recent trip to Hong Kong: the thrilling Ngong Ping 360.

Ngong Ping 360

I first heard of the Ngong Ping 360 while watching an episode of ‘Extreme Engineering’ on the Discovery Channel. It was fascinating to see how this cable car was built and the challenges the engineers faced. When I arrived in Hong Kong, I knew that there was one thing I absolutely did not want to miss: the Ngong Ping 360.

This thrilling ride starts in Tung Chung on Lantau Island. There are two cabin options: regular and the Crystal Cabin. If you’re in for a thrilling ride, I recommend buying a ticket for the Crystal Cabin – it features a glass floor! :-) The cable car takes visitors to dizzying heights as it climbs and then crosses the mountainous interior of Lantau Island before reaching the peak at Ngong Ping. Please scroll down for photos of this spectacular cable car ride. AND… don’t miss the video!

The Crystal Cabin features a glass floor!

There are awesome views of Hong Kong International Airport.

The cable car crosses a bay before climbing up into the mountains

The ride up was truly spectacular. There were stunning views of Hong Kong International Airport, the South China Sea and the jungle-clad slopes of the North Lantau Country Park. Check out the 50-second panoramic video below:

Ngong Ping Village and the Tian Tan Buddha

After the thrilling 25-minute cable car ride, visitors disembark at the Ngong Ping themed village. The village is packed with shops and restaurants, including several notable Chinese handicraft stores. At the other end of the village is the entrance to two historic attractions: the Po Lin Monastery and the majestic Tian Tan Buddha – the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha. The monastery, Hong Kong’s largest and more than a century old, is absolutely worth a visit. If your knees are still quivering after the cable car ride, I suggest climbing the 268 steps to the Tian Tan Buddha.

The Ngong Ping Village is packed with shops, cafés and restaurants

The Tian Tan Buddha sits serenely atop Ngong Ping mountain
Getting to the Tian Tan Buddha involves a challenging climb!

Getting to Ngong Ping 360

Getting to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car terminal from central Hong Kong is easy – simply take the frequent 30-minute train (MTR) service from Hong Kong Station and disembark at Tung Chung. The cable car terminal is a two-minute walk from the train station. From Ngong Ping, you can opt to return to the Tung Chung terminal or you can take the bus to the Tai O fishing village (a quaint village built on stilts in the western corner of Lantau Island) or the Mui Wo village on Lantau Island’s eastern coast for a wonderful seafood meal. There’s a regular ferry service from Mui Wo which will take you back to Hong Kong.

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18 Responses to “A thrilling cable car ride in Hong Kong”

  1. Tobias 21/03/2011 9:32 am
    #

    Wow, that looks amazing! Thanks for the tip, I’ll go there when i manage to get to Hong Kong.

  2. Travelogged 16/03/2011 2:45 am
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    That glass floor is terrifying!

  3. Nancy D. Brown 12/03/2011 8:51 pm
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    As I am afraid of heights, I prefer San Francisco’s cable cars to crystal cable cars in Hong Kong. Even your pictures make me nervous!

  4. velvet 11/03/2011 12:33 am
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    Thanks Cam. It certainly was pretty intense. My knees were quivering all the way. Hahaha! ;-)

  5. Cam 11/03/2011 12:04 am
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    That looks like an intense cable car trip!
    It was closed when we were there a few years back because the winds had broken it, or something along those lines.
    The giant Buddha is amazing

  6. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures 09/03/2011 8:43 pm
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    It looks absolutely fantastic! Will definitely do this when I’m back in HK next!!!

  7. Debbie Beardsley 09/03/2011 6:53 pm
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    Looks like a great adventure both the ride up and then the Ngong Ping Village at the end! I would definitely opt for glass bottom car.

  8. velvet 09/03/2011 1:53 am
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    Yup, the Queenstown cable car is awesome. Fab views of the lake and the Remarkables.

  9. Vera Marie Badertscher 09/03/2011 1:26 am
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    NICE! Have you been to New Zealand to take the one at Queenstown in the South Island? Wellington has one, too, but Queenstown is more dramatic, I think.

  10. Ted Nelson 09/03/2011 1:20 am
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    I recently went skiing in Utah and they have a tram like this that lifts skiers up to the top of the mountain. No really cool buddha statues there only mountains and snow. Nice post!

  11. velvet 09/03/2011 1:10 am
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    Haha, yes, that’s what he looks like. I guess taking the cable car up on a foggy day (like you did) makes for a surreal experience but you sure did miss the awesome views. :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  12. Juno 09/03/2011 1:07 am
    #

    There he is!!! So that’s what he really looks like…. I’d never know.

    :)

  13. velvet 08/03/2011 7:31 pm
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    Thank you Gray for your comment. I didn’t think I’d have the courage too but went ahead anyway (when in fear, just forge ahead and it’ll simply melt away…Hahaha!). It was an exciting experience and after a while, I kind of got used to the idea of staring down at the view under my feet (it’s a 25-minute ride so there’s ample time to ‘acclimatize’!). I highly recommend this ride. It’s really cool!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  14. Gray 08/03/2011 7:24 pm
    #

    I would love to take this cable car up there….although I might not have the courage to look down at the floor! Yikes.

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