Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Island Hopping near Hong KongThe 112-foot-tall, bronze Tian Tan Buddha statue on Lantau Island is a breath-taking sight. Getting to the Po Lin monastery, where it’s located, via the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars is just as memorable. The 3.5-mile ride in the sky departs from Tung Chung in north Lantau, rising over the island’s peaks. To your right, catch occasional glimpses of jets as Chek Lap Kok airport comes into view. As the climb continues silence takes over, the air becomes crisp, and the outline of the giant Buddha gradually emerges on the horizon. The 25-minute ride ends in Ngong Ping, a village of restaurants and souvenir shops. From here make the short walk to the monastery and up the 268 steps to the Buddha. The ride back to Tung Chung—especially if you go in the late afternoon—has a timeless quality to it, with the fading sun lending the waters around Lantau’s coast a glorious gilded sheen.