All the shabby tofu pudding shops are gone, but say hello to chain stores like Starbucks and Subway. Big franchises now dominate the market, even though Ngong Ping is supposed to promote "Chinese culture".
Despite the village being overly commercialised due to having too many souvenir shops, I still give it credit for being tourist-friendly. It is true that people from different places may not be used to Chinese dishes so Ngong Ping can now offer them "universal" foods.
Though I was not completely satisfied with the place, there are a number of relatively new, family-friendly attractions - for example, Stage 360 and Motion 360 - that deserve praise.
Stage 360 was an action-packed performance with lots of audience interaction. I was pretty impressed with the show, as it indulged my love of local action movies. Explaining the secrets of movie magic, Stage 360 throws in comedy, special effects and Chinese culture, making it an unforgettable experience.
The Motion 360 was amazing as well. I couldn't help but share the laughs and fears of Xiaoding and Taotao, two audacious ants that embark on an adventure to a dangerous part of the forest. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to everyone.
Motion 360 is a 5D programme offering "vision, hearing, smell, touch and all-round dynamic sensation". Your chair moves, and the room releases scents and blasts of air. It features two shows: Little Ants Adventure, where you experience the world through the eyes of ants Xiaoding and Taotao as they overcome many challenges on Lantau Island; and Discover Lantau, which allows you to see Lantau from different angles - even from underwater, where you can see Chinese white dolphins.
We watched the ants movie, which was shot from a "bug's eye-view", so nature-lovers of all ages could experience the daily challenges and adventures the insects face.
The 3D effects were great, and there were many surprises, such as the splashing of water as you plunge into a pool; a mist coming out of a toad that gives off a bad smell; the sudden release of leg-ticklers that move like a centipede; and above all the synchronisation between the big screen and the mobile, roller coaster-like seats. All these drew oohs and aahs from the audience.
Over at Stage 360, kung fu masters performed a live "battle" showcasing the history of Hong Kong's action cinema. The show highlighted how legends like Bruce Lee and Yip Man revived martial arts in Hong Kong, and around the world.
They explained how kung fu is presented on the big screen by demonstrating the concept of "wire fu", where the actors wear wires that allow them to seemingly defy gravity and fly over skyscrapers.
Indeed, the wire work is far more technical than it seems. The stuntmen's smooth and elegant movements require great control and strength. This is a good wake-up call for movie-goers: behind the glamorous visual and sound effects, the cast and crew strive for perfection to entertain you.