The Big Buddha, Ngong Ping Cable Car and Tai O! A Day on Lantau Island, Hong Kong
After spending a week on the chaotic, colourful and crazy Hong Kong Island (check out our Hong Kong loves here!) we took a day trip to the Big Buddha and the beautiful Lantau Island. I wanted to indulge my Buddha fascination with a visit to Lantau’s Big Buddha and the husband was keen to partake in some cable car action in the sky! We decided to add a visit to the traditional fishing village of Tai O into the mix and so off we set from Hong Kong Island for our do it yourself day trip to Lantau!
The Big Buddha
The Big Buddha is part of the Po Lin Monastery complex and is perched high in the hills of Lantau.
As it was our last day in Hong Kong we decided to splash out and take the Ngong Ping cable car over which made getting there a lot of fun! Let’s just say I wasn’t born with a head for heights so the prospect of a 25 minute cable car didn’t fill me with excitement but, in the end, I loved it and it was an amazing experience. The views were spectacular and we were smitten with the Big Buddha from the moment we spotted the giant statue emerging from the clouds far in the distance!
The Buddha sits at the top of a 268 step climb (I’m pretty sure it’s 268, I counted them on the way up to distract myself!) and it’s no mean feat to get to the top on a scorching Hong Kong day! Without a doubt it’s worth every single one of the steps to see the Big Buddha up close and personal! Those climbing to the top are a mix of tourists and pilgrims, the latter who stop to worship and kiss the steps on the way.
Underneath the statue there is a centre with 3 floors: the first is a memorial, the second floor contains an exhibition on the construction of the Buddha and the third houses an altar.
Po Lin Monastery
After checking out the Big Buddha, we ventured over to the world renowned Po Lin Monastery, a major centre for Buddhism in Hong Kong. It’s such a peaceful part of the complex and we spent some time watching the worshippers and enjoying the stunning statues.
Our next stop was the tiny village of Tai O, a traditional fishing village with many of the houses on stilts. After the constant buzz of Hong Kong Island Tai O was a shock to the system!
Tai O is the oldest fishing village in Hong Kong and it’s a chaotic and tight knit community. Stalls line the narrow alleys selling hats, fish and dried foods.
There’s plenty of junk boats offering trips in the village and we opted for a boat ride through the waterways lined with stilt houses and out to sea for some dolphin watching.
When I say ‘we opted’ I should confess that we had absolutely no idea where the boat was going as the captain nor anyone else on the boat had any English! The boats looked liked fun and, despite a few worrying moments when we seemed to be headed for China, it was an interesting trip! We didn’t manage to spot any pink dolphins but we were treated to a school of fluorescent fish dancing alongside the boat!
The junk boats:
Life on the water:Stilt houses:
On our return to dry land we sampled some local delicacies, purchased some trinkets from the locals and made the journey back to Hong Kong with our heads filled with lovely memories of our day in Lantau.
For our step by step guide on how to use public transport to get the Big Buddha and Tai O for less than US $20 click here! For more ideas on what to do in Hong Kong check out the places we love here!
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