We arrived in Hong Kong around 8 a.m., nice and early! We decided to grab some breakfast in the airport before heading out to our first stop which was the Tian Tan Buddha! After a breakfast of steamed vegetable buns and wonton soup (very delicious by the way) we dropped our luggage off in storage and grabbed a bus route map.
We sat on the top of the double decker bus which was really cool and a fun way to travel around. The bus dropped us off at the Ngong Ping 360 cable car station and we boarded one to take us to Lantau Island. It was such a pretty ride and we could see the water down below and the mountains. As we came closer, we were even able to get a glimpse of the Big Buddha, which is 34 m in height and sits upon a lotus platform.
Once you get to the island you walk through a little tourist village filled with cafes, a Starbucks, some souvenir shops and even some tea houses. After exploring the Buddha and Monastery we decided to have a tea break at a traditional looking tea house, which also sold some different types of tea.
After walking through the village, you will get to a large square which has a couple different features, like a large traditional gate which leads you to the Monastery, and the entrance to the 268 steps you need to climb to reach the Buddha. The view from the top is amazing, not only is it magnificent to see the Tian Tan Buddha up close but you also see the Six Devas, which are smaller statues holding out offerings to the Buddha and symbolize The Six Perfections like, wisdom and meditation. Walking around the platform you get a beautiful view of the mountains, the ocean and also the Po Lin Monastery in the distance.
The Po Lin Monastery is one of the most important Buddhist Monasteries and was founded in 1906 by three Chinese monks. The Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas was constructed in 2000, and while no pictures of this hall are permitted, let me tell you that there are Ten Thousand Buddhas. Ornate miniature gold Buddhas adorn the walls and there are five medium sized statues in the middle of the hall surrounded by offerings. It is a spectacular site to see and we stood in awe for quite a few minutes just mesmerized by the intricate details and craftsmanship that went into the design and construction of this hall.
If you are ever in Hong Kong, I definitely recommend this as a cultural place to visit. I have been to quite a few Buddhist temples and monasteries and I haven’t seen anything quite as amazing as the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. This was one of my favourite parts of the trip!