Travel Destinations and Photo Spots
Located in the remote mountainous area of Lantau Island is the Tian Tan Buddha, which is more commonly known amongst travellers and tourists as the Big Buddha. It is one of the largest seated Buddha’s in the world and it faces Mainland China, it is said that the statue was created facing north to look over the Chinese people.
Upon arrival at the base of the Buddha Mountain you can see the path that leads upwards to your destination. There are 268 steps to reach the top where the Buddha resides. I stopped along the way up the steps to take photos as the Buddha looms over you. The Buddha itself is highly decorative and stands at 34 metres high.
Once you have reached the statue you can enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding greenery in the countryside. The sea can be seen from one side of the statue’s base. You can go inside the Buddha where a small museum is located; it provides a small amount of history and information about the ideas and construction of the monument.
It is a very surreal, quiet area compared to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s main streets. I advise that you take the time to really absorb the atmosphere that surrounds the Buddha.
There are several food vendors selling noodles, deep-fried fish balls and other local nourishments at the base of the mountain and you will see them as you arrive. There is no need to bring food with you because the street food is very cheap. I do however recommend bringing a bottle of water if you are visiting in the humid summer months.
How to get there:
The first step of getting to the Big Buddha is to hop on the MTR and take it to Tung Chung Station. It is very simple to navigate the metro system in Hong Kong, as the train arrives at Tung Chung station, the station name will be announced in English and it will direct you to the side of the train that the doors will open on. Once at Tung Chung, you now have two options to make your way to the monument.
Take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car that costs $125 HKD for a round trip ticket. The cable car opens at 11am Monday-Friday and 10am Saturday/Sunday. I have read that the queues for the cable cars can be quite lengthy but the views are meant to be very nice and scenic. I myself did not take the cable car up the mountain due to the fact that we arrived at Tung Chung station at 9am.
Take the New Lantao Bus No.23 from the Tung Chung Town Centre, which is just around the corner from the shopping centre that you see after exiting Tung Chung metro station. The bus journey takes around 45 minutes through winding, narrow country roads.
This was my chosen route to the Big Buddha and I loved every minute of it, the bus driver’s drive quite fast along the narrow roads and this makes the journey all the more exciting. The bus will cost you roughly $17.00 HKD which is perfect if you are on a budget.
The great thing about taking the bus early before the cable car opens is the fact that you will avoid all the major crowds. We arrived at the monument just as it was opening to the public and we were the first ones up to the top to enjoy the views.
If you take the bus up to the Big Buddha, you could always opt to get the cable car on the way back if you would like to try both forms of transport.
I took a detour to the Tai O fishing village before heading back to the metro. Tai O is a location I will be writing about in a future blog and I will describe how to get there and any tips i have for your visit.