24°C Fine
Uniquely HK

Feature Story

Amazing North Lantau

In the late 1980s, the Hong Kong Government decided to replace the overcrowded Kai Tak Airport with a new one on reclaimed land at Chek Lap Kok, just off the sleepy but vast island of Lantau. Remote and sparsely populated, the island was only accessible by ferry to a couple of small villages on the southern shoreline, requiring a lengthy bus journey along steep and twisty roads to get to the few other villages.
How times have changed! Today Hong Kong International Airport is widely recognised as one of the finest and busiest in the world. Together with a truly impressive list of transport infrastructure works connecting it to the city – an expressway, the Airport Express, three architecturally stunning bridges, plus a new satellite city – Tung Chung, the North Lantau development is arguably the crown jewel of Hong Kong’s infrastructure works, a city already known for its modern and ultra-efficient built environment.
Despite the impressive development, North Lantau remains green, its varied natural beauty largely untouched, making it a wonderful place to visit. Be sure to set aside a dayto visit North Lantau and enjoy all its beauty and man-made wonders.

 

Noah’s Ark
 

Tucked underneath the Tsing Ma Bridge is Ma Wan Island, which connects Tsing Ma and Kap Shui Mun bridges. Site of an old fishing village, the island is home to the distinctive Noah’s Ark theme park, as well as Park Island – a secluded residential development, a tranquil park, and the village itself. The main attraction is Noah’s Ark, a full-sized replica of the biblical ark. The Old  Testament story of Noah, a virtuous man selected by God to build an ark to house the animals of the world so they would be spared the wreaking of his fury upon a sinful people, is an oft-told Biblical story. This ark replica, a wooden-exterior structure measuring 130 metres by 30 metres, comprises five levels, including a resort hotel on the deck level. Life-size replicas of various animals welcome the visitors to the ark, which sits amidst a lush landscape and is framed by the iconic Tsing Ma Bridge looming above – an unforgettable vista and a prized Instagram spot.
The ark offers several exhibits that are entertaining and educational, particularly for
kids. They include the Ark Expo, which tells of the story of Noah’s Ark and features a180-degree Great Flood Theatre; the Treasure House, which features 15 ‘knowledge discovery’ galleries to satisfy curious minds; and the Ark Life Education House offers interactive games that encourage kids to enjoy and appreciate life’s precious moments.181-Noah’s Ark also showcases a Solar Tower that features Hong Kong’s first solar telescope. The 350mm-diameter telescope, housed in a separate tall building, projects the sun’s image via a reflecting surface. An accompanying exhibit teaches all you need to know about the sun and the planets.
The ark’s Harvest Restaurant, located on the ground floor, is another pleasant surprise. It offers a sumptuous dinner buffet including a BBQ Station, all set to gorgeous views of the bridge above and the beach alongside.
Access to Ma Wan is restricted. The best way to reach it is by ferry from Central Pier No. 2. Alternatively, special buses run from Tsing Yi MTR Station to Park Island, or just take a taxi directly.

 

Ngong Ping Village, Big Buddha &Po Lin Monastery

Named one of the ten best cable car rides in the world by CNN, the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car delivers breathtaking views of Lantau Island and the China Sea. The ride passes over a sea channel before its steep ascent up the mountain, the spectacular vista of the airport coming into full view. Off in the distance, the 45-km Hong Kong– Zhuhai –Macau bridge snakes its way across the mouth of the Pearl River before descending into the sea for its tunnel section. Even at 25 minutes, the ride is over too soon, so mesmerising are the views. Catch the cable car near the Tung Chung MTR Station.

The cable car brings visitors to the enchanting Ngong Ping Village, where they can stroll through the culturally themed hamlet, its main street adorned with souvenir shops, arts and crafts, and a variety of eateries. Three mini-theatres offer multimedia presentations and live performances.

The iconic Big Buddha is just adjacent. At 34 metres high, it is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. Climb the 286 steps to get a close-up view of the massive statue. The Po Lin Monastery is an important Buddhist monastery in Hong Kong. Visitors can tour its pleasant garden, visit the Grand Hall, which houses over 10,000 Buddha statues, and enjoy a vegetarian meal there.

Tung Chung

Tung Chung, Hong Kong newest satellite town, has grown rapidly with the burgeoning of the airport. Today, it serves as gateway to villages and beaches in South Lantau, via buses, but has also become a tourist destination itself.

Top among its attractions is Citygate Outlets, Hong Kong’s best-known outlet mall. After a recent extension, the 75,000-square-metre air-conditioned outlet mall is home to more than 150 international brands, many offering deep discounts on quality products. The mall also features many regional and international restaurants, and a six-screen cinema complex.

For those interested to see historic relics, Tung Chung Fort, established in 1832 as the headquarters of a naval battalion in the Qing Dynasty, is well worth a visit. The fort has been well-preserved through the years as it was put to other uses after being abandoned by the Qing. Take Lantau Bus 3M, 11 or 34 from Tung Chung town centre.

If you want to catch a glimpse of local daily life, you should visit Fu Tung Plaza, a shopping centre attached to a public estate run by Link REIT. Located in the town centre, it includes a wet market where the locals shop for fresh vegetables, meat and seafood for their meals.

Comments

Add your comment


Please enter the Verify Code