Tian Tan Buddha

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by marseilles on May 2, 2007

Our first sightseeing trip of the week was to the giant Tian Tan Buddha statue and the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.

According to what I have read, the monastery has been around since the 1920s. The Hong Kong and Chinese authorities have recently decided to make the monastery a site for Buddhist faithful from around the world. The Tian Tan Buddha statue, the world's largest outdoor sitting Buddha statue, was completed in 1990, and donations are now being solicited to improve the nearby monastery and the rest of the grounds.

Most of the Hong Kong Tourism Authority brochures instruct travelers to take the Skyrail (the Lantau Island cable car) to the Tian Tan Buddha, but there is a much easier and cheaper way to get there, if you don't feel a great need to see Lantau Island by cable car. Simply take the MRT to the Tung Chung MRT station. Exit the MRT station and go to the bus terminals. Look for the Number 23 bus stop. Board the Number 23 bus, and this will take you all the way to the site of the Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. The bus arrives every 15 minutes during the day and the one-way fare is HK$16 on weekdays and HK$25 on weekends. If you are paying by cash rather than Octopus card, please recall that Hong Kong buses require exact change. The bus ride to the Giant Buddha is a scenic 30-minute ride through winding hills. The same bus will take you back from the Tian Tan Buddha to the Tung Chung MRT station.

We arrived at the Tian Tan Buddha site at around 2pm, and immediately wished that we had either come earlier or later in the day, as the midday sun was beating down ferociously. This would not have been too bad, if we hadn't more than two hundred steps in front of us to climb before we could get to the Giant Buddha. Before we commenced the climb, there was a window offering us vegetarian meal tickets for the Po Lin Monastery and entry tickets into the Exhibition Hall (HK$26) at the base of the Buddha statue. We declined both, and decided to just see the Buddha and the temple, both of which are free to just see. We then began our long climb, along with the dozens of other tourists and Buddhist pilgrims who were also making the trek.

At the top of stairs, we took pictures of the statue and of the smaller statues surrounding the Buddha that were depicted to be paying homage to him. Around us, Buddhist faithful assumed their prayer position and began bowing in respect in front of the statue.

After this, we descended the steps and headed to the Po Lin monastery just a hundred meters away.

(Continued in the review entitled "Po Lin Monastery.")
Big Buddha-Tian Tan Buddha
Near Po Lin Monastery
Ngong Ping, Lantau Island


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