The first country I visited on my two month trip was Hong Kong. I stayed in Hong Kong for 5 days. The first thing I did was visit Lantau Island. Lantau Island is the largest islands in Hong Kong. It is also where the airport is located. Lantau Island is very mountainous and only has a population of about 45,000. I went to Lantau Island to see Big Buddha and Tai-O fishing village.
Ngong Ping Village
To get to Big Buddha you need to take a cable car from Tung Chung Station on the MTR. A roundtrip ticket cost me 180 hkd ($30cad). I bought mine from a ticket agent outside, at the actual ticket gate it was over 200 hkd. The ride is about 20 mins long. I didn't have the greatest views because it was overcast and about to rain. After you get off the cable car you have to walk through Ngong Ping Village. Ngong Ping village is just a whole bunch of stores and restaurants catered to visitors to the island. Basically a tourist trip with expensive souvenirs and food. It would be a good idea to eat before you get there. Tung Chung station has a good court with decent priced food.
Most people I saw were just taking pictures. They had a lot of cool souvenirs but i've stopped buying that stuff to save money. From the village you can see the Big Buddha which is the main attraction.
On the way to the Big Buddha you can actually see cows just chilling everywhere. People were taking selfies with them.
There is also a large gate in front of Big Buddha but i'm not sure of the name.
Big Buddha (Tian Tan)
Big Buddha is a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, which sits on a lotus flower. Big Buddha sits on top of a hill, so you need to walk up the 268 steps to get there. It took three years to build the statue. It is free to visit the statue but if you want to go inside you have to pay. I didn't go inside, I was just interesting in seeing the statue from outside.
The statue is surrounded by 6 smaller statues called "The offering of the six Devas". They symbolize the six perfections of generosity, morality, zeal, patience, meditation and wisdom. The smaller statues show the Devas making offerings to Big Buddha.
From the Big Buddha you also get a view of the Po Lin Monastery.
Po Lin Monastery
Po Lin is the Buddhist Monastery on Lantau Island. It was built in 1906 and originally named Tai Mao Pung. The Monastery has very vibrant colours on all of it's buildings. They do a great job preserving these buildings.
This is a huge tourist area so yes you can take pictures. Make sure not to use flash as there are people who come here to worship.
This is one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. It is well taken care of and the colours on the buildings are very beautiful.
I don't think i've ever seen so much incense burning at a temple. Lots of people buy large sticks of incense to burn. It burns your eyes a bit and also makes you cough so try to cover your face a bit.
I really wanted to visit Tai-O because when I first moved to Korea I actually taught a lesson about Tai-O and had no idea what it actually was. It sounded really interesting so I made sure to add that into my itinerary. Tai-O is on the west side Lantau Island. It is a small fishing village with stilt houses that sit in the river. Bus 21 from Ngong Ping takes you to the village in about 15 mins and was only 6 hkd by bus.
I took a boat ride for 25hkd ($4cad) along the canals and out on the water to see the dolphins. However, no dolphins were seen. It was so cold and windy out on the water and I thought it was such a bad idea to take the boat ride but the stilt houses were so beautiful.
The houses aren't very aesthetically beautiful but they are very charming with the different colours and plants. Taking a boat ride around is definitely worth it. If you are lucky you can see the famous pink dolphins.
There isn't much to do in Tai-O. After my boat ride I literally walked around for 10 minutes through the market and then back to the bus stop.
I would suggest visiting Tai-O it's a pretty unique place to see. It is not a typical tourist area but it is very interestingly beautiful.
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