Big Buddha of Lantau
No visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a short stop over in Lantau Island to view the big Buddha statue: Tian Tan Buddha. Sitting atop a 240 step climb, the Buddha itself is 112 feet tall, making it visible from afar.
The metro ride from Hong Kong is a fairly simple one and once you reach Lantau you can either take a bus or do as we did and opt for the cable car ride through the mountains.
You should note however, that the cable car ride is not recommended for those afraid of heights as the climb is pretty steep and as you pass through the canyons the wind tends to make the cars sway back and forth.
Once there, take some time to explore the area. The trek up to the Buddha is a bit touristy with its shops, but directly across from the Buddha is Po Lin Monastery (unfortunately, while we were visiting, the monastery was closed to visitors for repairs. It is scheduled to open again in December of this year).
To the left of the Buddha you can follow the trail to the Wisdom Path and some hiking trails around Lantau.
On the day we visited the weather was very poor. As we made our way past the Wisdom Path, the hiking trails began to narrow and disappear into the clouds rolling down the mountain. Since we couldn’t really see anything anyway, we decided it wasn’t worth continuing on. It was a good decision on our parts too, because once we made it down, the mountain was completely engulfed.
A visit to the Big Buddha is a great way to spend your day. Depending on how much trekking/exploring you plan on doing you’ll probably only need about a half day.
- Wear comfy shoes if you are going climb up to the top of the Buddha or go trekking around Lantau.
- If you are planning on taking the cable car, buy your tickets on-line (there tends to be a long line to purchase upon arrival).
- To avoid too many crowds get there early in the morning or stay late towards closing time. * This last shot was taken about 10 minutes to closing when the monks were starting the evening prayers, you can see there is hardly anyone left on the grounds.