The Tian Tan Buddha or famously known as the Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery is located in the beautiful Ngong Ping Village at Lantau island. In order to get to this village you need to take a bus/ cable car from Tung Chung town.
When we planned the trip our intention was to reach the Tung Chung cable car station as early as possible as we had heard it gets pretty crowded after 11am. However, with our impeccable time sense we reached there around 12pm and the station had a long queue of tourists waiting to collect tickets (We even made the blunder of not booking the tickets in advance and had to wait for almost an hour). The Ngong Ping 360 cable ride is an experience, which you can never miss on your visit to Hong Kong, and we definitely suggest you to take the new crystal car ride (see through glass bottom and costs about HKD240 for return trip). In the 5.7km cable car journey you see a breath-taking view of the North China Sea, Hong Kong Airport and the lush Hong Kong greenery with the distant view of the Big Buddha.
The village is lined with a couple of restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops (a bit pricey but worth taking a look at).One thing we love about Hong Kong is the great way of providing directions and you get to see it even in this little village (literally since the moment you to step here). During the walk to the Monastery you will come across the Bodhi wishing shrine, where wishes are written in a wish card and hung under the Bodhi Tree (The Tree of Awakening). As we walk ahead we pass through the international cable car gallery, the giant statues of twelve divine generals on each side of the road and finally the Altar of earth (Di Tan). In front of the Di Tan piazza are the 268 steps leading to the Big Buddha.
When we started climbing the steps all we looked forward is to have a closer look of the regal statue of Buddha Amoghasiddhi. But once we reached the top, we were quite entranced by the spirituality and sacredness of the statue, bringing a sense of calmness within us. On either side of the Buddha there are 6 bronze statues: “Offerings of the Devas”, making offerings of various kind to the Buddha. The three floor beneath the Big Buddha: The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit and The Hall of Remembrance hosts exhibition hall displaying priceless items. There is a fee of HKD25 to enter these halls and the ticket can also be used either to have a free vegetarian snack at the Po Lin Monastery or ice cream from the stall outside the exhibition hall. Even though some might find the climb to the top a bit exhausting, we would say it’s all worth it just to experience the purity of the place and the spectacular view from the top.
Once we reached back to the Di Tan, we saw the direction leading to the Wisdom Path and decided to walk down the trail. The 15 minute walk will lead you to the Heart Sutra, however due to the confusion of what lead ahead we turned around and walked back to the piazza within 5 minute of walking.
Outfit details: Dress: Nishka Lulla for Stylista, Belt: Pull&bear, Sunglass: MiuMiu, Bag: Mango
Right opposite to the Di Tan is the Bauhinia Park leading to the Po Lin Monastery. The Po Lin Monastery is one of the important monasteries of Hong Kong and was built in 1906, long before the Big Buddha construction (1993).
At the end of the park there is an area reserved for incense stick burning and you will also find couple of shops selling the incense sticks. There is a small entrance at the end of the path, which leads you to the main Shrine of Buddha. This beautifully decorated hall has three statues of Lord Buddha representing the past, present and the future.
Outfit details: Jumpsuit: Koovs, Bolero jacket: Quirkbox, bracelet: H&M, Backpack: Forever21, Sunglass: Ralph Lauren
To the left of the main hall are the Vegetarian Restaurant and the café. After the visit to the shrine we decided to claim our free snack at the café. With the coupon we were served with tea, noodles and a choice of any two desserts from the wide display of local delicacies. With a happy tummy we walk back to the Ngong Ping 360 station to catch the cable car to Tung Chung.
This trip might take up one whole day but the journey is worth for all those who prefer a bit of change from the busy streets of Hong Kong. And if you happen to visit this place make sure that you do it on a beautiful sunny day as it is impossible to capture the beauty in a hazy weather.