Finally, The Big Buddha (Lantau Island, Hong Kong)

BIG BUDDHA. Click to view gallery.

BIG BUDDHA. Click image to view gallery.

I’ve been to Hong Kong several times, but in all these trips, I’ve never been able to see the famed Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery in Lantau Island. So when my cousins and I joined forces for their first tour of Hong Kong, I made sure to include this in our itinerary, and they all agreed that it would be a great journey.

There were 8 people in our party. My mom, two of her friends, my cousins and three of their friends, and of course, myself. Because we were travelling on budget fares, we booked three separate flights. My mom and cousins traveled the night before while I took the first flight out the next day where I met up with the remaining two people in our party (who booked the flight after mine) and then proceeded to the hotel where we were staying. At this point, it was already noon, and I was unsure whether to push through with the trip or leave it for another day because I knew that it was going to be a long travel. But the rest of group seemed game so we took the train at the Olympic Station (the nearest MRT station to our temporary abode) and alighted at the Tung Chung stop (orange line). Its going to be the last stop.

From Tung Chung Station, follow the signs the lead to Exit B. The clue that you’re on the right exit is a great outlet mall right outside. On the side of the mall, an escalator will lead you to the Ngong Ping 360 station where you can take the cable car to the Big Buddha. We bought round-trip tickets for a standard cabin (HKD$150). There are also crystal cabins where the cars have transparent flooring which enables riders to see clearly beneath and they cost more at HKD$235. For single trips, the standard cabins cost HKD$105 per head while Crustal cabin tickets cost HKD$165 so its cheaper to book a return journey. There’s also the option of going by bus which is way cheaper, but since we were strapped for time, the cable car option seemed like a good idea.

Note: Other alternative transport options are as follows (courtesy of http://www.discoverhongkong.com )

  • MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take New Lantao Bus 23 from Tung Chung Town Centre, which takes around 45 minutes. Then walk for eight minutes.
  • Catch ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then take New Lantao Bus 2 to Ngong Ping Village, which takes around 40 minutes.
A SCENE FROM THE MIST. My cousin looks out from the cable car through a thick fog.

A SCENE FROM THE MIST. My cousin looks out from the cable car through a thick fog.

I was a bit nervous at first because while inside the cable car, the fog was crazy thick. Talk about Stephen King’s The Mist level of fog. We couldn’t see outside the car and I became worried that it was going to be the same story upon reaching the Big Buddha. I prayed that the fog would clear up soon and was rewarded when we approached the Ngong Ping station in Lantau and found the skies clearing to reveal a view of the revered figure. I felt so blessed even from afar.

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SO NEAR. Despite the moderately foggy skies, the Big Buddha beckons with quiet grace.

We had a quick snack break and headed off to the statue, where we had to conquer 256 steps to reach the top and finally come face to face with the Buddha. The steps were divided into 16 sets of 16 steps. I don’t know if this has any significance in the Buddhism religion but when we reached our destination, the trip became worth it. The Buddha was beautiful. After saying a quick prayer and marveling at the view from the top, we entered the mini museum beneath the statue and marveled at our surroundings some more.

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STEP UP. Since the steps were divided into 16 sets of 16 steps, visitors can rest periodically before continuing up.

On the way back, we lucked out because it seemed that we were part of the last batch of tourists heading out. The Ngong Ping staff ushered us inside a Crystal Cabin despite the fact that we were only booked for standard so we got to experience the crystal flooring journey as well. I’m not sure the rest of the party appreciated it as much as I did because they weren’t as big fans of height as I was. Definitely, the Crystal Cabin is not recommended for people suffering from vertigo. 😀

SEE THROUGH FLOORING. Not for the faint of heart, the Crustal Cabin lets you see how high up you are.

SEE THROUGH FLOORING. Not for the faint of heart, the Crystal Cabin lets you see how high up you are.

All in all, it was a great big check off of my bucket list to see The Big Buddha. It was a good chance to thank Him for the blessings and ask for his guidance for the future. When travelling, I always cherish these types of opportunities. I’m glad I finally made it to see Him in Lantau. 😀 Mission accomplished.

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