A Visit To Lantau Island’s Big Buddha in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
After days of city living in on HK island and Kowloon, it was time to branch out to Outlying Islands. I embarked on a trip to Lantau Island to visit Big Buddha.  Travelling by train to Tung Chung, and with the cable car out of service for maintenance just 24 hrs before my trip, I changed transportation to a coach service at Tung Chung station to reach the Po Lin Monastery and then Big Buddha.  Winding roads form a mountainous backdrop of beautiful lush green valleys. Phoenix Mountain being the highest peak of these mountains stretches to 935 meters high. The second highest peak in Hong Kong but the most popular spot for tourists visiting Lantau Island for climbing in order to view and admire sunrise and sunsets from its peak. Lantau Island is among the 234 islands belonging to Hong Kong SAR with only a few these inhabited.
There are about 47 villages on the island with much of it currently still being developed to add new towns. When you arrive at the Ngong Ping Village you are immediately in view of Buddha. Before taking the 268 steps to reach the Big Buddha with tranquil views of surrounding mountain and sea views, you will walk past the Twelve Heavenly Generals or Twelve Divine Generals as they are sometimes known. These are revered in some Buddhist denominations as protective deities. They also represent different times of the day and correspond to different animals in the Chinese Zodiac. On the other hand, Big Buddha, “the eyes, lips, the incline of the head and right hand, which is raised to deliver a blessing to all, combine to bring a humbling depth of character and dignity to the massive Buddha.” Big Buddha also knows as Giant Buddha is 111 feet(34 meters) high, making it the world’s largest seated outdoor Buddha. At the base of Big Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery and home to many devout monks. There is also a Wisdom Path nearby where ancient prayers are inscribed on a series of wooden columns in a figure of eight to signify infinity. You can also tour the monastery while on the island as well as few of the towns nearby such as the Ngong Ping Village where you can catch the cable car which also offers regional performances and demonstrations of local traditions.
Things to do on Lantau Island

Thankfully when I visited it wasn’t so crowded which meant exploring the place much more pleasurable and leisurely. The whole place is quiet and serene. Besides seeing the big Buddha, you also have the:

  1. Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island – This is located right by Big Buddha. Its at the bottom of the steps. You have prayer halls, shrings and cute gardens around the monastery. I would recommend coming there after seeing Big Buddha as you can walk around to cool down from the steps up to Big Buddha and wander around to take in the ornate details of the building
  2. Lantau Island Hiking – You have beautiful hiking trails nearby. Check out This Girl Abroad’s post on hiking on Lantau Island.
  3. Ngong Ping Village – Nestled on the sweeping mountainside of Lantau, the picturesque Ngong Ping Village features traditional Chinese architecture, shops, restaurants and tea houses. It’s the perfect place to drop by for a light bite of dim sum, and perhaps a souvenir or two, before heading to the nearby Tian Tian Buddha and Po Lin Monastery.
  4. Citygate Outlet –  I would highly recommend a stop here after your trip to Big Buddha to avoid walking around with shopping bags. If you love a good bargain then you will love Citygate Outlets. At Hong Kong’s largest outlet mall, brands like Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade and Tommy Hilfiger offer discounted products all year round. This sits righ by Tung Chung Station.
  5. Hong Kong Disneyland –  A place that really needs no introduction. You can also find this theme park on Lantau Island too. There’s a daily parade on Main Street in the afternoon, and nightly fireworks show at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. More reasons why a day trip to Lantau Island is not enough.

 

How to get to Lantau Island / Big Buddha

 

You need to take the train to Tung Chung Station and from here you take a bus that drops you off at Ngong Ping village. Then its just a short walk of about 3mins to get to the path leading to Big Buddha. As I mention above the Cable cars were out of service when I arrived at the station. When working you can get the cable cars from Tung Chung station. The Cable Car is just outside the station. You also have a car park at the station if you choose to drive from mainland HK. You can park here and then take the cable car.

 

How many steps up to Big Buddha?

 

A steep incline and climb of 268 bring you just below Big Buddha’s statue. The views at the top are just breath-taking, not just from the climb but the mountains and the sea views that can be seen as Big Buddha seats serenly at the top.

 

Hotels and where to stay on Lantau Island

 

As small as Lantau Island is it is packed with a few treats like the shopping outlet, Disneyland, Big Buddha and while a day trip is great you certainly need at least 2-3 days to fully explore. There are plenty of hotels on the island from the likes of Marriott, Shangri-La to Disneyland hotels. To have a look at hotels on Lantau Island check out booking.com’s hotel deals.

 

Have come face to face with Big Buddha’s protective Twelve Divine Generals before?

Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Lantau Island Twelve Divine Generals HONG KONG
Hong Kong Lantau Island hiking HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
Hong Kong Lantau Island Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK
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lantau island big buddha | lantau island buddha
lantau island big buddha | lantau island buddha
lantau island big buddha | lantau island buddha
lantau island big buddha | lantau island buddha
lantau island big buddha | lantau island buddha
lantau island big buddha | lantau island buddha
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lantau island hk | Big Buddha | gates | lantau island hk | Big Buddha | Monastery lantau island
lantau island hk | Big Buddha | Monastery lantau island
lantau island hk | Big Buddha | Monastery lantau island
lantau island hk | Big Buddha | Monastery
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10 Comments

  1. July 17, 2014 / 6:04 pm

    Love that Buddha! Its looks like such a beautiful, serene place to visit – and those temples are wonderful. Great photos as always 🙂

  2. July 17, 2014 / 6:07 pm

    That is one big Buddha. 🙂 Looks like lovely setting – nice mountains in the back drop.

  3. July 17, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    I remember those stairs…I thought they will never end! Great photos as always 🙂

  4. July 18, 2014 / 12:32 pm

    Never heard of the place, it looks absolutely amazing! There don't seem to be too many people around, which is great! Lovely pics!

  5. July 19, 2014 / 8:05 am

    looks great! A lot different to the usual photos of Hong Kong!

    • July 19, 2014 / 9:49 pm

      What a beautiful town it is too! Cant wait to visit again 😀

  6. August 4, 2014 / 7:52 am

    Lovely place. Thanks for sharing the experience. Excellent photographs.

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