Visiting the Giant Buddha was the most exciting thing that I and my sister looked forward to. For my part, I have failed to visit this landmark during my first trip to Hong Kong and for my sister’s part, she just has that deep interest in Buddhism and Chinese all because of her love of Jet Li and his Once Upon a Time in China movie series. Getting there was not easy. We ran out of Hong Kong dollars and were short of budget so we had to wait for the money changer in Tung Chung to open up. We took the bus (Bus 23), which was the long way to get to the Giant Buddha, yet the more interesting one, I guess, because of the beautiful views we passed by. When we got there, all we could see was fog which made us feel that we were walking in the clouds.
Po Lin Monastery was enveloped with white that made the setting look dreary yet serene. We found our way to the 268 steps that lead to the Giant Buddha. At the bottom we found the giant incense urn, but there was no trace of the landmark we were looking for. I think we covered two-thirds of the steps before we got a glimpse of the majestic figure of the seated Buddha or Tian Tan, the biggest Buddha statue in Asia which sits at 26 meters high, 371 meters above sea level, and weighs 220 tons. It took 10 years to complete the Giant Buddha which was unveiled in 1993. At the top was like really being in heaven especially with the cold temperature and the zero visibility caused by the heavy fog. There were six figures of ladies, three on each side of the Buddha, which offers different kinds of things to him.
Inside the Giant Buddha were stores and prayer walls as well as a vegetarian restaurant. But being on a budget, we had our lunch in one of the eateries in the souvenir shops near the bus station and had a cup of noodles for HK$10, a dumpling at HK$10 and a can of Coke at HK$8. Not that cheap either but better than the expensive meals or than having none at all.