The queue looked long for the cable car, something I did not want to wait for having waited for over two hours for the Peak Tram I asked the attendant “How long is the wait?”, “around an hour” ,” an hour, Do you know when the next bus is?” “Yes it leaves in five minutes”.There was no need to say anything, Hitomi looked at me before nodding and saying in unison”BUS”. By taking the bus we missed out on the 5.7 km cable car, you can see spectacular panoramic views of the hilly terrain, the sea and the city of Lantau island.
Big,huge, gigantic all words needed to describe Tian Tan, the big buddha, which happens to be the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze buddha. It soars 34 metres into the air. The big buddha is located on Ngong Ping plateau on Lantau island near the Hong Kong airport. It sits on a lotus leaf above 268 steps. Half way up we started running, racing one another to the top, the Rocky anthem would have been blaring in the background had it been a seen from a movie, the winner raising his hands in triumph, jumping up and down yelling “ROCKY, ROCKY”.
The buddha was impressive I took my time circling the Buddha taking in the 202 bronze pieces that it took to make. Its right hand raised representing the removal of affliction, while its left hand rests on its knee, signifying human happiness. six smaller bronze statues surrounds the buddha holding offerings to it.
Not far from the big buddha is the Po Lin Monastery. It was built by three zen masters in 1920.It is still active today in the buddhist community of Hong Kong. The incense filled the air but it was smokier than the incense I’m used to in Japan. There at the monastery it burnt with a thicker stick looking more like a fire cracker than something to purify your body.
Lunch at the monastery is highly recommended, only serving vegetarian food. You can see the monks go about their daily activities.Unfortunately we did not know about this at the time. They do however have a food stall serving vegetarian food And Hong Kong sweets.The tofu that we ordered was nice covered with a sweet sauce we also ate two sesame dumplings and a custard tart.
Walking back, we wandered through the village of Ngong Ping, a reenactment of a Hong Kong village. The village is filled with souvenir shops and a few other attractions that we never entered, at the end of the village is the cable car station and this time there was no queue, few people and we could enjoy the views back down.