I had a whole list of things to see when I came to HK. Places that people had recommended and places to tick off in my LP Guide. And Buddha, along with the Victoria Peak, was one of them. Last week, whilst I was walking along Dragons Back with the two pilots, one of them asked what was the best thing I had seen/done so far, and I honestly couldn’t answer. It’s all so different and diverse and each thing that I have experienced has been pretty special. But Buddha is definitely up there. My day started with breakfast at Jaspas. My fellow MN who is up the road from me, completes her job at the end of May and then travels to America for her next assignment. I then met Edith, the nanny to the twins, for dim sum. (I don’t think I’m a huge fan of dim sum, it has to be said, but it’s food and I wasn’t sure where my next meal was coming from). We then all travelled to central where I was dropped off to get the MTR to Tung Chung on Lantau isalnd, where my adventure would begin.
There are a few routes to get to Buddha; bus, hike (?). I was going up on the cable car. You could either get a “normal” cable car or get one with a clear bottom. I asked which one had the least in the queue. Turned out to be the one with the crystal flooring. That was the one for me then 🙂 I managed to jump the queue as I was a lone traveller. (Many bonuses to travelling by yourself). I joined a family of Germans and we were off! The ride was punctuated by exclamations from the boy who kept rabbiting on about Jurassic World and Jurassic Park, and it was pretty spectacular. With our backs to the airport we climbed higher and higher, with beautiful green vegetation below.
After about fifteen minutes we could finally see Buddha, rising up in the distance. We disembarked and walked smack, bang into souvenior central; Ngong Ping Village. Lots of fast food restaurants lined the side along with shops selling anything and everything. At the end of it, we entered a pathway through a spectacular entrance.
Twelve Divine Generals line the path, guarding Buddha. Each general represents the 12 signs of the zodiac. My zodiac sign is the Ox.
Once past the guards I come upon a clearing where I could either go straight on to the monastery or take a right and climb the 260 steps up to Buddha. I decided to climb.
Tian Tan Buddha is one of the largest seated Buddha statues in the world. It stands at 34 meters high, weighs over 250 tonnes, and is made of bronze.
The statue is named Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Along the way up are several spots to stop and enjoy the view, catch your breath and take photos.
I reached the top and turned to to the right where I saw 3 smaller bronze statues. There are 3 more to the left. These are known as “The Offering of the Six Devas.” They are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit and music to Buddha. These symbolise the Six Perfections of generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenmment.
I walked around the to the back of statue and came across the most amazing view.
It was much quieter around the back, strangely. All the tourists were much more interested in the front, so I had time to reflect and enjoy the peace and soak up the view. Eventually, I walked back down and made my way over to Po Lin Monastery.
Po Lin Monastery is a Buddhist monastery and was founded in 1906 by three monks visiting from Jiangsu Province. The main temple houses three bronze statues of Buddha, representing his past, present and future lives.
I was amused to watch three monks as they took pictures of each other in front of the temple. The difference was they weren’t pouting or doing v signs (all chinese children pose doing the v sign) They photographed each other in prayer.
It had been suggested that I take a bus down to Tai O to walk around the village on stilts over the water, but the queue at the bus stop was too big and I had visions of masses of tourists walking around the small village, so decided to catch the bus down to Silvermine Bay or Mui Wo and then the ferry back to Central. The ferry was a fast one, so I was back at Central Pier in 30 mins. I fancied a glass of something so took myself up to Pier 7 Cafe and Bar and enjoyed the last bit of sunshine with my book and a glass of white.
It turns out that I have an extra day off before we fly back to the UK, so shall probably do Tai O then. My day was done and I was shattered. Time to find myself somewhere to have dinner and then bed.