Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walking with Buddha

In Hong Kong is the world's largest bronze sittig Buddha. He was completed in 1993 after a long construction that began in the Victorian era!!!
His base was sitting there unoccupied by anything all through WW2. Through generous donations he was completed and is now one of the biggest symbols of Hong Kong and one of our biggest tourist destinations.
Some people avoid taking visitors to the buddha due to the crowds but I believe he is something you CANNOT miss if you visit HK.

You can get to the buddha by two ways.
1) The Ngong Ping cabel car. A glass cable car will carry you over the mountains and straight to the buddha. This is the fastest and most scenic way of reaching the Buddha. However, lines can get pretty long so book ahead or go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. COST- 60-100HK a person
2) The Tai Wo Beach Bus. Located at the Bus station at Tung Chung a bus can take you to the Buddha for MUCH cheaper than the cable car. This trip can take up to 50 minutes and has some of the scariest roads in HK. Not for the easily car sick. This bus is also the way to reach Tai Wo beach which is excellent for camping, dolphin watching and sun bathing! COST- 10

Ngong Ping Cable Car and Tung Chung
Avoid Foggy Days at the Buddha or you will have no visibility.

Ngong Ping has a full touristy village at the buddha. Avoid it like it's Jersey shore cast member! They have taken a very sacred spot to HK and turned it into a place full of 7-11's and a Starbucks. Support the buddha and the temple but do not support this travesty, PLEASE! Also, avoid going to the Buddha on mornings when it's foggy. Although my guest Juno got some beautiful photographs of the fog she did not actually see the buddha on the day she went due to low visibility.

The Po Lin monastery in Lantau is one of the largest and most sacred spots in all of Hong Kong. It's one of the largest temples and I believe it is now the 3rd oldest. (The 2nd oldest was torn down 2 years ago in a construction project...) It is important to support HK's history because often people here put more value on the property a place rests on then the importance to HK's heritage or the people who live in the area.
Po Lin does an AMAZING vegetarian lunch. Don't go for the deluxe one, it's not much better and costs 20 dollars more. With your 40 dollar lunch at Po Lin you will be so full you won't feel like moving! They let you sit there and drink tea as long as you like and in a place so peaceful it's nice to sit back and relax.

The Buddha it's self
The Buddha is bronze and hallow. Inside the buddha is a museum of chinese art, chinese religous pieces, alters and the history of the buddha. Entrance to the Museum is included in your 6HK ticket to the top. The Buddha has 200 steps apparently. It's a long, hard journey but apparently the struggle to the top is the make you think about your life and how all good things (like an amazing view of HK and fre ice cream) take hard work and strife. Pain and struggle are worth it in the end according to the stairs.
Michael and I at the Buddha. The stairs!

The Monastery
You can take pictures of the monastery except for when the high prayer goes. They allow filming at that time but the camera flashes are distracting to the men and women who are trying to pray be respectful! When I went the last time I was walking up the Wisdom Path to the Pillars of Buddha and heard the High Prayer wafting through the mountains. An amazing experience.
Inside of Po Lin Monastery

The Wisdom Path is an easy hike through the woods to the top of one of the smaller hills in Lantau. You can keep going once you reach the Pillars of Buddha or turn around and walk back down. Each time I sit at the top of the mountain, breath in the clean air and take it in. It's an amazing view and definately worth the ten minute hike.
Sometimes you see wild cows on Lantau. They scare easily so please don't pet them!

Wisdom Path in Lantau. Go before your exams!

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