Why it's in Hong Kong of course! And I went to pay it a visit today. We haven't had a lot of sunny days lately, so when I knew this one was coming up I decided it would be the perfect time to take the scenic Ngong Ping 360 cable car over a scenic stretch of Lantau Island to the site of the Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha, as it is commonly known. (It's official name is the Tian Tan Buddha.)
First, this is what I faced getting there- yes, more lines. Oh, the things I do for the sake of my blog!
As we began our journey, we got a glimpse of the first part of our route- can you see how far the cable car runs in the distance? Hard to see in the smoggy summer air, I know.
I splurged and paid a premium for a cable car with a glass bottom, so we could see the water down below as we rode over it. To give you an idea of how high up we were, if you look down below you can see tiny dots and white squares, those are people fishing in the water with their equipment:
We got a good view of the airport, which is also located on Lantau Island along with the Hong Kong Disneyland- yes, Disney is has invaded here too. Lantau is geographically larger than Hong Kong Island, though smaller in population.
There is a pathway running more or less underneath the cable car, presumably used by those who had to build it- sometimes made of stone in flat areas, other times made of wooden stairs that twist and turn in multiple directions:
And finally, our first sighting of the Big Buddha- looking tiny from here, just to the left:
This is the view from Ngong Ping Village, which is kind of like a touristy gauntlet you have to run to get to the good stuff:
I was surprised to find a certain animal wandering at will throughout the village grounds, are you curious to know what it was? If you join my Mailing List, I promise to explain all in my next monthly newsletter. :)
Finally we reached the beautiful archway entrance to the grounds, and yet closer to the Buddha:
There was a rather long staircase to get to the base of the statue, and let me tell you in that heat everyone (including me) was sweating buckets by the time they reached the top:
This is one really Big Buddha- 34 meters tall and 250 tonnes, it is made of copper and took 12 years to build.
There are 2 sets of 3 smaller statues set on a lower level, as though they are making offerings:
And there is a lovely view of the monastery grounds from the base of the Big Buddha:
I really found it quite peaceful as I strolled around the base- the whole thing is in the middle of nowhere, so getting all the materials here must have been a challenge. Inside the base were 3 levels containing other historical artifacts and information about the history of the site- but no cameras are allowed in there.
Inside the entryways at the base, there were adorable wooden statues of yet another animal creature- again, I will save that tidbit for my next newsletter to my Mailing List subscribers!
Time was running short so I had to leave after just a short visit- the cable car only runs until 6 pm, and I didn't want to think about what the lines would be like. Actually it wasn't so bad- even got a lovely view of the setting sun over the water on the way back:
And that concludes my adventure on Lantau Island. Next week I will be visiting Beijing on my days off, including a visit to the Great Wall- stay tuned to hear all about that in my next blog! Til then, be well-