Ride A Cable Car & Take 268 steps to Tian Tan. Big Buddha.

It was 463 stairs to the top of the Duomo in Florence, 129 steps to the peak of the St. Simons Lighthouse in Georgia and now there are 268 stairs to reach Hong Kong’s Tian Tan, the Big Buddha. Isn’t Hong Kong known for the longest outdoor escalator in the World? Couldn’t they figure this one out?

Fine. I’ll agree to another upward adventure, but only because a missed opportunity makes me ache inside. Even one that may require an inhaler.

At 34 metres (112 Ft) feet tall, Tian Tan is one of the largest sitting Buddha’s in the world. Maybe not quite the biggest, but certainly breathtaking.
Big Buddhe from Afar

Before actually climbing the stairs to Big Buddha you have to get its location on Lantau Island and there weren’t many options. You can take a bus, make a strenuous hike uphill or ride the 3.5 mile Npong Ping Cable Car that suspends you high above the ground. Not like the cable cars in San Francisco. At all.

It definitely ain’t for the acrophobic, but buses make Peter motion sick and if I am complaining about the impending stairs, hiking just isn’t gonna happen. Option 3 please.
Ngong Ping Hong Kong Cable Car

This was one ride that could have been 20 mph faster. Water to the left, water to the right, water to the…okay I get it we are suspended above a lot of freakin’ water. On more than one occasion, during the 25 minute ride, the thought of plummeting to my death did occur. But, the cable car dropped us off right at Npong Village, unscathed.

You could see Buddha lurking from afar, but that wasn’t close enough for me.
Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong

We hydrated at the local Starbucks (yep, it is just that touristy) prior to the uphill journey commencement. An iced vanilla latte has to help with stamina.

My climb game plan was simple; slow, steady and one step at a time, while Peter thought it would be smarter to “rip it off like a Band-Aid”, taking two stairs at a once. Wait for me at the top.

Turns out that one step at a time wasn’t quite slow enough, so every set of fourteen stairs there was also a convenient “photo break”. Sometimes the lens cap wasn’t even removed.
Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong

Annette White at Tian Tan Buddha The Stairs to Big Buddha

As always, the lung gasping and jittery legs were worth the spectacular view. It is difficult to grasp the immense size of all 250 metric tons of the Tian Tan Buddha unless you are up close and personal.
Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong

Tian Tan Big BuddhaStatues at Big Buddha

Now, excuse me, but there is a cable car ride back down to contend with…

Would you have taken the cable car or the bus to Big Buddha? Is seeing Tian Tan on your bucket list?

Book a Tour > Escape to Lantau Island: Big Buddha & Tai O Fishing Village
Book to Skip the Line > Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Lantau Instant E-Tickets


Hong Kong Bucket List: 19 Things To Do
3 Day Hong Kong Itinerary. The Plan.
Ride the Longest Escalator in the World. Mid-Levels in Hong Kong.
Fodor’s Hong Kong Travel Guide (book)
Take a Junk Boat Ride Through Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour
Slurp Chinese Snake Soup in Hong Kong
Witness Hong Kong’s Bucket List View at The Peak
Visit an Offbeat Asian Market. Hong Kong’s Goldfish Market.
Eat Dessert First at Hong Kong’s Dessert Kitchen
Eat Squid Jerky in Hong Kong’s Tai O Fishing Village

2018-12-22T08:19:38+00:00March 20th, 2013|Categories: Asia, China, TRAVEL|Tags: , |


  1. So incredibly cool. I would have LOVED the cable car 😉

    • Annette White March 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm - Reply

      The cable car was slightly freaky when you thought about the thin cables holding it up, but it was a memorable adventure!

  2. Johhny March 21, 2013 at 12:27 am - Reply

    From where buddha sits, the place is awesome.. 

  3. AnitaMac March 21, 2013 at 4:56 am - Reply

    Very cool…I would have been all over the cable car and the hike.  What a view! That is one huge Buddha!

    • Annette White March 21, 2013 at 5:03 am - Reply

      We saw the hikers from the cable car. It looked painful!! 🙂

  4. Allison March 21, 2013 at 8:52 am - Reply

    The cable car is 3.5 miles!!!! I just had a panic attack. 

    • Annette White March 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Yes, but not all of the cable car ride is over water, some is over steep mountains too 🙂

  5. Riding the Longest Escalator in the World. Mid-Levels in Hong Kong. March 28, 2013 at 7:25 am - Reply

    […] Hong Kong is hilly. And not just slight bumps, these are arduous inclines, sometimes equipped with stairs so steep you will get dizzy just looking up at them. I believe you are all aware of my feelings about stairs. Not a fan. For reiteration, read about my adventure with the 268 stairs to Tian Tan Buddha […]

  6. Eating Street Food at Hong Kong's Tai O Fishing Village April 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    […] painfully climbing the 268 steps to see Hong Kong’s Tian Tan Buddha, Peter and I took a short bus ride to visit Tai O Fishing Village, also known as the Venice of […]

  7. Bucket List of 17 Things to do in Hong Kong May 1, 2013 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    […] CLIMB TO THE TOP OF BIG BUDDHA There are 268 stairs to reach Hong Kong’s Tian Tan, one of the largest sitting Buddha’s […]

  8. grasya June 6, 2013 at 7:51 am - Reply

    im definitely riding the cable car.. and see water to the left and water to the right 😀 thanks for the tip!

    • Annette White June 6, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

      It is the fun way to go 🙂

  9. […] visiting Tian Tan, Big Buddha, on Lantau Island we spotted smoke in the air, burning incense was within the […]

  10. kimii September 12, 2015 at 10:24 am - Reply

    how long did it tak you to climb to the big buddha?

    • Annette White September 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      For me, who was completely not in shape, about 15 minutes 🙂

  11. Jon May 22, 2017 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Hi. Referring to the first photo, of the view of the Buddha, from afar, could this photo be snapped only from cable car?

    • Annette White May 24, 2017 at 11:16 am - Reply

      Though that photo wasn’t taken from the cable car, I have seen a few others similar that were. So, I think you can get a shot!

  12. Lindsey May 6, 2018 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    We took the cable car both ways. I’m a little scared of heights but I took it like a champ. We rode up with a quiet family from Vancouver and rode back by ourselves. The cable car was just as interesting as seeing the Buddha!

    • Annette White May 9, 2018 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Yay to you for conquering your fear! I agree that the cable car was just as much of a highlight.

Leave A Comment