I have seen several of Big Buddha in Asia, such as the indoor seated Big Buddha in Todaiji Nara Japan and the outdoor seated Buddha in Fo Guang Shan Kaoshiung Taiwan. Big Buddha, Hong Kong is a must-visit spot especially if you want to escape the Hong Kong city’s hassle busy life.
The Big Buddha is in the seated position stands at 34 meters high and made of bronze, located in Lantau Island. It is also one of the icons in Hong Kong and this is my second visit.
How to get there?
There are a number of ways to reach Big Buddha, you can go via the Ngong Ping Cable Car from Tung Chung MTR station or by bus. I highly recommend to do it with the Ngong Ping Cable Car as it is thrill and fun. You are able to enjoy the excellent view high up of Hong Kong Mountains, Buddha and all it takes is less than 30 mins. If you have the ticket from Klook online, you may be able to beat the huge crowds and also enjoy some discounts. However, during my recent visit to Big Buddha, the Ngong Ping Cable Car was closed for maintenance so we catch the bus instead. It was still very good to experience the winding roads up to the mountain and it also offers some interesting views.
268 Steps Up to meet the Buddha
The Big Buddha is at the peak and the number of steps to reach the Buddha is 268 steps. There is no short cut to see the Big Buddha, you have to climb the stairs. No lifts or escalators up. I am still very impressed to see some faithful followers climb up despite having weak knees and mobility.
Big Buddha was first built at the beginning of 1990 and it took 3 years to complete. It was officially opened in Dec 1993 and monks from around the world were invited to the opening ceremony. The name Tian Tan 天壇 was the same name as the Altar of Heaven in Beijing.
Six Bronze Bodhisattva statues
There are six Bodhisattva statues, each with a different offering on their hands. Look carefully none of the offerings are the same. Go spot them. Below two are jewel box and musical instrument.
At the summit
Catch your breath after the long climb as there is a small exhibition hall about the life of the Buddha at the summit which allows you to enter with no fees.
Take a moment and enjoy the beautiful views over the lush greenery of Lantau Island and sea view from the South China Sea and if you are lucky you may catch some planes in the sky.
Po Lin Monastery
Po Lin Monastery is located opposite of the Big Buddha, just 5 mins walk, it is an important Buddhist temple in Hong Kong. At the entrance, you will be greeted with giant burning incense sticks. Good news for vegetarian as there is a temple restaurant which serves vegetarian meal. You need to purchase your ticket for the vegetarian lunch at the counter; Regular vegetarian meal cost HKD 60/pax starts at 1 pm and Deluxe Vegetarian meal cost HKD 100/pax start from 11.30am onwards.
Souvenirs Stores & Snacks at Ngong Ping Village
There are some shopping and cafe at the Ngong Ping Village, but we only bought some ice-cream and drinks.
Cows at Ngong Ping
Similar to deer in Nara city Japan, cows roaming freely in the complex of Ngong Ping. Unlike deers in Nara where you are allowed to feed them, over here you cannot feed the cows as one of the cows died from a congested digestive tract with enough plastic bags to fill two buckets found in his stomach.
Big Buddha is a must visit spot in Hong Kong. I highly recommend anyone to go up to Big Buddha Lantau with Ngong Ping Cable car. You may want to have the vegetarian meal at Po Lin Monastery which is located opposite of Big Buddha, just 5 mins walk.
Special tips: On our way back the queue at the bus stop is super long and it was raining plus there is no shelter. If possible, do leave early, say before 3.30pm to avoid the long queue. Always bring along umbrella and poncho as the rain seems to come and go anytime in Hong Kong.