|Explore Asia East Asia China Hong Kong|
Without a day excursion to Lantau Island, Hong Kong's largest island, sightseeing in Hong Kong is not complete. My tour company gave us option for that and I took advantage of it. We took a fast ferry to Lantau Island from Hong Kong's picturesque harbor in the morning and arrived at Lantau Island in about an hour.
We started our sightseeing in Lantau Island by visiting the beautiful Cheung Sha beach. (See my Cheung Sha Beach video at http://youtu.be/sRKk46cMyNE). Our motor coach then proceeded to Tai O Fishing Village. On the way we passed Lantau Island's beautiful prison. None of us could guess it was a prison. It looked like resort homes or vacation homes of rich people!
Our next stop was at Tai O Fishing Village. It was an unique place where fishermen live and conduct their daily business on water. All the houses of the village are built over water on stilts! We took a close up look at the village by taking a boat ride though the village. It was an unique experience. (My Tai O Fishing Village video is located at http://youtu.be/VBRxiLDIspQ).
Then we drove through lush valleys and saw soaring mountains all around to arrive at the most famous attraction of Lantau Island -- the statue of the Tian Tan Buddha (informally known as the Big Buddha or the Giant Buddha). The Buddha statue and temple is situated on a hilltop (top of Ngong Ping Plateau). There are 268 steps that needs to be climbed to reach the statue. But our tour guide was considerate enough to drive us to the Buddha temple, via a winding road, on the top of the hill arriving at the temple entrance situated behind the statue, thus sparing us the strain of climbing up 268 steps. We were given a guided tour of the temple and were shown the relic of Buddha brought from India. (Photography is not permitted inside the temple.) After touring the temple we came out and walked around to reach the front of this giant statue. The statue and the sight all around was really spectacular. We started our descent by foot down the steps. The steps are very well designned with rest areas every 12 or so steps. This makes it possible for many people to climb up. Since we were only going down it was not so bad. Everybody, including myself, was clicking away while walking down. The Buddha statue is made of bronze and is 34 meters high. (Please see my Giant Buddha video at http://youtu.be/uwmgj9zGZAc).
Upon reaching the ground level we toured the Po Lin Monastery where we were treated with a free and delicious vegetarian lunch. We then took a short walk to see the Wisdom Path where an ancient prayer is inscribed on a series of wooden columns set in a horizontal figure of eight to signify infinity.
Our tour ended with a spectacular ride aboard the Skyrail Cable Car (also called Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car as the name of the plateau on top of which the Giant Buddha statue sits is called Ngong Ping Plateau). The ride offered breathtaking views going down to Tung Chung. (Please don't miss my Skyrail Cable Car video at http://youtu.be/nK0Ua4g4Tp8 . It is really spectacular!) From their another tour bus took us back to our hotel in Hong Kong. I shall never in my life forget this spectacular day of sightseeing.
article published 9/2/2012