The original plan was to head to Macau for a one day trip over Easter break, but my poor roommate got sick so we changed plans last minute and headed to Lantau Island for a day trip.
When you’re flying into Hong Kong, you will landing in Lantau Island, one of the largest islands in Hong Kong. The island houses the International Airport, Disneyland, the Big Buddha Statue, and many other attractions. You have two ways of getting to the Big Buddha, the cheaper option is to ride a bus for 40-50 minutes or take a 25 minute cable car ride that will cost you 150HKD (~$20USD). We opted for the cheaper option. Because we did go on Easter weekend, the lineup for the bus was long, but nowhere near as long as the cable car line (it was a 45 minute wait to get to the ticket office!)
One thing I noticed on the bus was the amount of green I saw. Inside the city, Hong Kong does a wonderful job of trying to keep nature the way it originally was, but usually the scene is disturbed by high rise buildings. So seeing the pure green mountainous view made me appreciate nature more. The air was also cleaner and fresher which did wonders for my roommate.
When we got off the bus the first thing we saw was the Big Buddha. The Big Buddha is one the tallest outdoor statues in the world and is made out of bronze.
In order to get to the Big Buddha, you have to walk 268 steps; no buses or cable cars will bring up straight the statue sadly. Luckily, the clouds covered the sun as we were making our way up!
And as we got to the top, the sun came out. We went inside the Big Buddha to cool off and there were picture explaining the process of building the statue. It took a total of 12 years to build the Buddha, from planning the statue to actually building it.
We headed back down and checked out the Po Lin Monastery which was close to the statue. The majority of the monastery was under reconstruction so we couldn’t enter a lot of the buildings. We also had a Chinese vegetarian lunch at the Monastery and it was the best Chinese vegetarian lunch I’ve had. Definitely a must try if you come and visit!
As you leave the Monastery you get a beautiful view of the Big Buddha and the people walking up to see it. You can see how big it is compared to everything that it is on top of.
Right next to the statue and the Monastery is the the Ngong Ping Village. We strolled through the area but to be honest, I was underwhelmed. The area was reconstructed and was obviously made for tourists. There are some chain restaurants along with a Starbucks here. Nothing spectacular, but if you walk all the way to end you’ll see the cable cars making their way across!
You’ll only need half a day to walk around the area, maybe a day if you plan on hiking the mountains behind the Buddha, which we didn’t do. It was overwhelming for me to take in how big the Buddha actually was! I have always knew it was huge, but actually seeing it in person made me speechless.