One of the attractions that we saw for the first time in our recent Hong Kong trip was the huge Buddha Statue on Lantau Island. We took the MTR to Tung Chung Station, and from there it was easy to follow the signs to the cable car station.
The cable car going down was empty because the day had just begun | Photo credit: Juxxtapose
A looooong way up! | Photo credit: Juxxtapose
I think this has got to be the longest cable car ride I’ve been on. The distance covered was much further than I had anticipated. We decided to purchase return tickets for convenience, but a money saving tip is to get a one way ticket on the cable car (for the experience), and take the Tung Chung – Ngong Ping bus for the other way. The bus services on Lantau Island are reliable and straightforward AND information on routes can be easily found online.
At the start of Ngong Ping Village | Photo credit: Juxxtapose
When we arrived at Ngong Ping Village, or Ngong Ping 360, we were greeted by a remake of an old Chinese town, except it was filled with eateries and souvenirs shops. All in all, it was all very touristy, so we decided to walk quickly through the village (which was in fact a single street) to the end where the true attraction awaited.
As we approached the towering statue of Buddha, it suddenly struck me how similar it was to Christ the Redeemer. Both statues are enormous, and built to tower over you – like their are watching over you.
Looking ginormous even from so far down | Photo credit: Juxxtapose
Up close and personal | Photo credit: Juxxtapose
Another similarity was the availability of a chamber within the statue for worshippers to offer prayers, etc. And despite them both being ‘tourist attractions’, they are idols of sorts to which believers make pilgrimage to.
This was more obviously seen here on Lantau Island. We witnessed a handful of people kowtowing to the statue after every step up to the statue. One kowtow for each step, they slowly make their way up, either to show their sincerity in making a petition or in gratitude for a prayer answered.
Many many steps to the top | Photo credit: Juxxtapose
From the top, you get good views of the island and Po Lin Monastery, and a good chance to rest your thighs before making your descent.
Po Lin Monastery from the top | Photo credit: Juxxtapose
To be continued.. Part two of our day on Lantau Island!