Poor Bug hit the wall the day before, so we decided we needed a little slower paced day. We decided on a trip out to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha and Ngong Ping village.
Lantau Island is one of the outlying islands of Hong Kong. It’s largely undeveloped except for the (relatively) new Hong Kong International Airport. It’s also home to the Po Lin Monastery, a Buddhist enclave dating to 1906 and perched atop Ngong Ping Plateau. In December 1993, the monastery completed construction of the 112 foot tall bronze Buddha named the Tian Tan Buddha. Tian Tan is also the name of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing (Tian is heaven, and Tan is temple), and the base of the Buddha is a model of the Beijing temple.
As of 1993 the only way to access the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery was by a walking path up to the Plateau or by an hour-long car or bus trip. In 2006 Hong Kong opened the Tung Chung cable car, a 3.5 mile cable car trip up the plateau which takes about 25 minutes. The cable car starts at the end of the Orange Line MTR, so it’s incredibly easy to get to.
The cable car allows for fantastic views of Lantau Island. Here are some pictures of the trip up the plateau:
And here’s the walking path. Yeah, no way we were going to be able to do that. We did see some brave souls on it. I was impressed:
Ngong Ping Village lies at the terminus of the Tung Chung Cable Car. Ngong Ping is a manufactured tourist village, and it’s a little kitschy. It’s clean and pretty, though, and actually pretty fun so long as you aren’t expecting anything all that authentic. It was just what we were looking for at the end of a long, tiring trip. Here’s a view of the Village:
As you can see, the Tian Tan Buddha lies past the Village. Bug was just too tired to make the walk all the way up to the Buddha, so we just took in the views from the Village and then had some gelato. Yeah, we wimped out again! But the gelato was good!
As you can see, Bug really enjoyed hers!
After the gelato break we did a little souvenir shopping and Bug chased some bubbles a merchant was blowing:
We decided we were tired, and Bug wanted to go back to the hotel to swim. So we headed back down the cable car. We got some fantastic pictures of the Buddha and some of the other scenery on the way down. We got a private car on the way back, giving us more room to move around and get the pictures we wanted.
We went back to the hotel and took Bug for a swim. That night, we inexplicably were craving western food, so we went to a place called Dan Ryan’s Chicago Steakhouse for burgers. The food was great and really hit the spot.
Since this was our last night, I had to sadly go back and pack. In the process Bug wanted to show off her loot for the day:
Next and last post in the series: Flying home!