Thursday, 26 November 2015

Travel | Big Buddha | Lantau Island | Hong Kong

One of the most famous attractions in Hong Kong, popular with both locals and tourists alike, is the Big Buddha of Lantau Island. Buddhism is one of the major religions in Hong Kong and China so it comes to no surprise the popularity of this attraction. 
My earliest memory of visiting this landmark was probably when I was 7 years old or so when I travelled to the motherland when I thought there must be about a million steps to the top (it's actually only 268 steps), my little legs just could not handle it. Fast forward nearly two decades later and my not-so-little legs are still thinking the same. However, once you reach the top, you are rewarded with glorious views of Lantau and the South China Sea.

This statue is one of the many attractions Hong Kong offers, and half the fun is actually getting there. You can get the bus or opt for the more fun albeit tourist centric cable car from Tung Chung, the nearest MTR station for 25 minutes and enjoy the scenic views. If you're not afraid of heights, and enjoy admiring the scenery, then you can pay a little extra and opt for the "Crystal Cabin" - a glass bottomed cable car which we did on both ways and found that because it was a little extra to pay for, the queue was a little shorter too. What goes around...

The cable car brings you directly to a little village called Ngong Ping Village which is fully pedestrianized and you can walk through enjoying the sights and sounds until reaching the Big Buddha. After waiting in line for about an hour or so plus 25 minutes in the air, we were pretty hungry so headed to a nearby restaurant to refuel before exploring once more.

While the area has been developed to cater towards tourists, it still retains some of its original charm and history which once you ignore the crowds, is so easy to appreciate when strolling through. There are so many things going on from little souvenir shops to showcasing cable cars from around the world including Switzerland and Brazil, the Wisdom Path featuring large wood columns displaying calligraphic works, all the way through to the Bodhi Wishing Shrine where you can make a wish and place it on display. 

Sitting on the glass bottom of the cable car

The original triple arch stone "Mountain Gate" at the entrance to the monastery
Bodhi Wishing Shrine

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