Lantau Island was so beautiful it's getting its own post!
If you go to Hong Kong and you have the day spare make sure you designate a day for Lantau Island. The most obvious reason for this would be to see the Tian Tan Buddha but that's not all there is to see. I was catching a 6pm flight so I checked out of my hotel and took the train to the airport where I stored my luggage. It was then as easy as going to the taxi rank and getting a blue cab (blue for Lantau Island as oppose to the red cabs for Hong Kong proper and green cabs for the New Territories) and it was a quick drive to the Lantau Island cable car.
HOT TIP - if you can, go to a Seven Eleven before you go to Lantau and buy your ticket there. I bought a 360 Sky-Land-Sea Day Pass for HK$245. This covers your return cable car ride, unlimited rides on the New Lantau Bus and a Tai O Boat Excursion. The reason I say try and buy your ticket before you go if you can is this will enable you to jump a very long queue to get on the Cable car at the beginning. If you can't then I'd advise going as early in the day as possible so you don't waste your precious time queueing up. Ain't nobody got time for that! Also, If you don't go early enough you won't have time to check out the beaches and visit Tai O fishing village, something I learned the hard way.
The view from the cable car is just stunning, you can see over the airport and around the bay. I got very lucky with weather and got to do this on a rare blue sky day. You also get to see the people below who were crazy enough to hike to Ngong Ping. ( It actually looks like a beautiful walk if you have the time but it's a decent walk). You get an excellent view of the big buddha off in the distance as you come over the lush green hills and all too soon you arrive at Ngong Ping Village. When I saw that on the map I thought "oh cool, there's a traditional Chinese village in this Island". Hahahahahahahaha No. It's more like the China section at Disney's Epcot. Newly built to resemble traditional Chinese this small "village" is home to some eateries including a Starbucks and a Subway, and souvenir shops. So not a traditional village. It does serve as a pit stop to eat and use the restroom though so it's not all bad.
I made a beeline for the giant statue of Buddha and all I can say is the pictures really don't do it justice. It really is magnificent. As is the spectacular view down into the nearby bays where you can see golden sand on distant shores. Everything is so lush and green and peaceful. It feels like worlds away from down town Hong Kong. This is one tourist attraction worth seeing.
After ascending and descending the 268 steps to the Tian Tan you can take walk to the Peace Walk. It's not that far and it's really pretty so is definitely worth while even if it's hot. You can keep going a little further for some spectacular scenery.
Ngong Ping is also home to the beautiful Buddhist Po Lin Monastery which you can take a stroll through and have a look at.
The highlight of Lantau Island for me was the fact that there are quite a few Lantau buffalo and cattle roaming free and they might just crash your picnic. You are advised not to approach them and to respect their space but I did see quite a few people patting them without causing too much alarm. I was the amused witness to a cow trying to get in on a poor young girls sandwich. She was however, rescued by a local stray dog who gave the cow quite a telling off.
To my absolute devastation I ran out of time to hop on the bus and tour more of the island as I couldn't risk missing my flight. I was dying to go and see the beautiful beaches, I could see some from the top the Buddha and they looked divine. So please heed my advice and go early in the day so you can enjoy it all. I also missed out on visiting Tai O where I had a ticket for a boat cruise through the old fishing village that rests on stilts. I will definitely have to go back to Lantau Island and do it all properly. I loved everything I saw and I am just sad I didn't get a chance to see more. Have you been to Tai O? Tell me about it in the comments below!