Lantau Island, Hong Kong China

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The longer I am in Asia and have the ability to travel at my fingertips, the more I realize why I travel: not only do I enjoy cultural experiences, but I am on some sort of spiritual pursuit. In Japan, there are shrines and temples on almost every street corner and I am constantly reminded of my Higher Power. Hong Kong had some reminders, but not nearly as many as Japan – but one thing it did have… a REALLY BIG BUDDHA.

I am an avid reader and contributor to the web site Trip Advisor (you can check out my profile and reviews here), so when I decided to go to Hong Kong, the first place I began my research was there. I kept finding posts for a Tian Tan Buddha, or ‘Big Buddha,’ and after seeing the photos I knew it was somewhere I wanted to go. The Buddha is sited on Lantau Island a bit outside of the main island of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a series of small islands, so it wasn’t too terribly far from the city and we easily took the subway there.

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Upon leaving the subway, we followed all of the other tourists to the main ticket center. There we purchased tickets to ride the Ngong Ping, a cable car that took us from one part of the island, across a body of water, and up a mountain. The view from the cable car was great and we got a 360 degree view. It was from the cable car that I began to see just how big this Buddha really was!

Photos of Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong
This photo of Ngong Ping 360 is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Photos of Ngong Ping 360, Hong KongThis photo of Ngong Ping 360 is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Once we got off the cable car we were in a small ‘village’. I use the term ‘village’ lightly because it was a set of modern buildings made to look like an older traditional village. It was incredibly touristy and was disheartening. There was a Subway restaurant and tons of tourist shops.

At the top of the hill we prepared ourselves to climb the steps to meet the Big Buddha up close and personal. I’m not sure how many steps there were, but it was tiring at times. The steps were definitely doable, but after walking around all day I definitely stopped to take a break on my way up.

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Once we reached the top, Buddha was massive! I’ve seen some other great Buddhas in Japan, and only one other compares! The interior of the Buddha’s base was a museum explaining basic beliefs of Buddhism and how the Big Buddha came to be. It turns out this Buddha was created in 1993 and is not old at all! I had made the assumption that it was – I guess holy sights can be modern too! The island itself was a sacred place which is why they chose to place the Buddha there.

Photos of Big Buddha, Hong Kong
This photo of Big Buddha is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Photos of Big Buddha, Hong Kong
This photo of Big Buddha is courtesy of TripAdvisor

After descending the stairs, we followed a path that took us to the Po Lin (Precious Lotus) Monastery. The monastery was probably my favorite part of the island. It seemed more traditional and less touristy than the other attractions. There were beautiful statues and ceremonial pieces on display. People were burning massive sticks of incense and praying. It was in the Po Lin Monastery that I fist saw the ‘fat’ Buddha (the Buddha with the big round belly) that I had been familiar with prior to coming to Asia.

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Overall, Lantau Island was worth seeing. If you are open to it, you may be moved by some of the things you see, but you will also have to sift through the tourist nonsense in order to find the true spirituality.

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2 thoughts on “Lantau Island, Hong Kong China

  1. Pingback: Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Hong Kong, China « The Journey of My Feet

  2. Pingback: Hong Kong Recap | The Journey of My Feet

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