Something big, bronze and better than expected

One of the tourist attractions in Hong Kong I have been wanting to tick off the list is the big Buddha. He is a massive bronze dude, sitting on a hill looking out to China. As he is so large, they had to build him quite a long way away on Lantau island. There are several ways you can get to Lantau and see Buddha. You can either take a cable car from Tung Chung or you can take the number 2 bus from Mui Wo. We opted for the bus.

Before the bus however, we had to get off Hong Kong island proper. This involved a ferry from the central piers across to Mui Wo. I enjoyed the ferry actually. You get a good view and it feels a bit novel. Here’s a snap from the ferry of the view.

Once we arrived in Mui Wo, it was a case of waiting and queueing for the bus. It was actually a coach which transported us to Buddha. The drive is fairly scenic and I felt set us up nicely to see the Buddha.

Once we arrived at the villange (I call it a village but there are shops and food places all over as part of the complex), we were feeling peckish. We dived into a food place not in the main village. It’s a noodles and rice place just off to the left of the entrance to the Buddha complex. We had a pretty good view of Buddha as we sat and lunched on noodles and iced milk tea. Even though the place was right next to the Buddha village, the prices were still fairly reasonable. This is a snap of the view we enjoyed.

Once refuelled, it was time to tackle the steps to Buddha. Buddha is actually a fairly new attraction. It was erected in 1993 and has 263 steps leading up to it. The steps are not a hard climb but it does look a little intimidating from the bottom.

There’s not a lot to see or do on the climb up apart from to stop and look at Buddha getting bigger and bigger as you get closer and closer.

The grounds that Buddha was built in are actually part of a monastery so there are plenty of other things to see and do around Buddha but, whilst ascending the stairs, there’s not much else to to look at. On the ground, you can find twelve statues which represent the twelve animals and guardians of the Chinese zodiac. There is also the Po Lin monastery temple and associated structures to see and look around. Anyway, back to Buddha. Here’s a picture from about two thirds of the way up the stairs.

Once you are at the top of the stairs, there are some truly stunning views of Lantau island. There is endless greenery and, if you look closely, you can see circular structures off in the distance. I have no idea what they are but you can see them. This was my favourite view from the top of Buddha. You can just see the yellowish roof of the Po Lin monastery temple to the right of the picture.

Surrounding Buddha are six lovely ladies (the six Devas) all offering something to him. Here’s one of the Devas below making her offering.

Despite being a very popular attraction, I still found the big Buddha to be an incredibly enjoyable place to visit. The top platform really is stunning to walk around and there is plenty of space. It was peaceful, serene and impressive. You can go inside the platform if you wish, for a fee, but we did not bother as we felt there was plenty to see already. I would highly recommend big Buddha as a place to go whilst in Hong Kong.

Once we’d had our walk around and admired the views, it was time to go back down those blinking stairs…….

Once down at the bottom again, we decided to explore the Ngong Ping village. It is packed with shops and places to eat. They have a mini carnival feel to the place and do have performers parading through the streets at certain times of the day. We had quite an enjoyable walk around really. There are some interesting bits and pieces to look at and even a Starbucks coffee for those of us who cannot live without a shot of caffeine every 3 hours. I bought an admirable amount of souviners before we got in the queue for the cable car ride back to Tung Chung.

The wait for a cable car was around 45 minutes. There are two different types of car. A standard cabin (which has a solid base) or a crystal cabin (which has a see through base). We opted for the standard cabin as neither of us had a burning desire to see the ground a few hundred feet literally beneath our feet. On the ride, we spotted what looked like a walking trail which would allow you to ascend to Ngong Ping on foot. It was decided that would be an adventure for another day. The view from the cable car is impressive. I feel we chose the best combination of transport to Buddha that day. Up on the ferry and bus, down on the cable car. I feel one way is enough for the cable car as the views cannot differ so much between the up and down trips. Here’s one of the views looking back towards Buddha (you can spot him to the left of centre in the picture)

On arrival to Tung Chung, we caught a bus back to Wan Chai. Thus, our day was finished. I really would advise visitors to make the trip out to Lantau and see Buddha. We didn’t look at the Po Lin monastery temple or anything and still felt like it was entirely worth the trip. There are plenty of tourist photo opportunities too. You can pose with your Chinese zodiac counter part or, if you like, pose as if you too are serene and composed like Buddha.

Side note about this circular platform. When sitting on the ground in the middle (as I am in the photo), there is an amazing echo when you speak thanks to the acoustics of the platform. It reminded me of the acoustics at Golkunda fort in Hyderabad. Very cool indeed!

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