Hong Kong Day #3 [1]: Gliding across the skies to meet the Great Buddha

It was a mild sunny morning, we glided across the clear skies, eyes feasting on the panoramic views of the Hong Kong International Airport, the mountainside and the South China Sea. We also got a glimpse of the bridge being built to connect Hong Kong to Macau – a bridge with an undersea tunnel, scheduled to be opened this year, another engineering marvel.

We were off to the Lantau island to see the Great Buddha statue and the Po Lin monastery. Lantau island is also where the Hong Kong International Airport is located. There are three ways to reach the Great Buddha statue – by road, cable car or by trekking. Our cab dropped us at the Tung Chung station. We took the cable car ride called Ngong Ping 360, starting from the Tung Chung station to Ngong Ping station and lasted for about 30 minutes. The views are spectacular !!

At Ngong Ping, you are greeted by a cheery market square named Ngong Ping Village lined with eateries and souvenir shops. Here we went to watch Walking with Buddha – a multimedia presentation on Buddha’s life and teachings.

We then proceeded to the see the Great Buddha or the Tian Tan Buddha. It’s a large bronze statue of Buddha and there is a steep climb of more than 250 steps to the statue. Surrounding the Buddha statue are six smaller statues known as “ The Offering of the Six Devas” and they are offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit and music to the Buddha. There are three floors underneath the statue. One floor has detailed descriptions and paintings on Buddha’s life. There are also photographs and explanations detailing the construction of the giant statue from the modelling stage to the completion – a captivating read. Apart from the religious sentiments, it’s after reading about why the statue was constructed there, the many iterations the initial model had to go through and seeing the pictures of the exoskeleton and the images of the statue taking shape, do you fully appreciate the statue.

Next, the Po Lin monastery a colourful oasis of calm and peace. It houses 10,000 Buddha statues within it along the dazzling walls, together with three big bronze statues of the Buddha – representing his past, present and future lives. The monastery also offers vegetarian lunch and snacks. The vegetarian restaurant seemed very popular, with many tourists seen entering to have lunch. We had a bite of spring roll from the canteen at the monastery and walked back to the Ngong Ping village for lunch. After lunch, we took the cable car back to Tung Chung for the next adventure.

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