Since realizing that the Peak and the Big Buddha were on separate islands, it would only be appropriate if I also devoted some time to Lantau island and seek out the Big Buddha. Opting for the quicker route, I took the MTR from Hong Kong station to Tung Chung station, as opposed to taking the ferry over to the island. Upon arrival, the line for the cable car becomes rather apparent with wait times of approximately 1.5 hours. The line seemed to move rather quickly for the first half hour, but quickly slowed thereafter, thus rendering the wait time to be closer to two hours.
The ride in the cable car was a delight; traveling 5.4km overhead the island delivers quite an amazing view. Down below, one can see that there is indeed a walking path for the committed (it seem as though once you start walking, you’ll have to finish it since there didn’t seem to be any access to the main roads). Compared to other tram and cable car rides, this was most certainly worth the money (both for view and distance covered), what with it being ~$10 USD for a single trip.
Walking through Ngong Ping village isn’t anything remarkable; it has the air of one of the theme park “villages.” Albeit, the most fun was the snow machine that was spewing man-made snowflakes at passersby. On a limited time frame – I had to get back to Hong Kong island for dinner within the next two hours – I went straight to the Big Buddha. Prior to my visit, I was expecting the larger and fatter Buddha (Budai), but instead was greeted by the Gautama Buddha. In any case, the size of the Buddha is insurmountable, and it really becomes evident after hurrying up the steps.
After spending quite some time marveling at the Buddha, I was ready to head down until I noticed the pathway leading to the Po Lin Monastery. The monastery only reveals one hall open to the public, which already showcases the splendid decor and statues. Many that visit the area recommend having a bite at the vegetarian restaurant next door, but when I arrived at the monastery, kitchen was already closed. Needing a break from all the walking and exploring, I sat down and treated myself to a bowl of to fu fa from the deli café next door.
Not wanting to wait in line for the cable car again, I walked over to the bus terminal for a ride back to the MTR station. The bus driver, who evidently seemed to know the route inside out, barreled his way through the hills and curves with ease, almost as though he was playing his own mental version of Mario Kart time trial edition. The speedy ride dropped me off at the station and off I went to enjoy an evening of hot pot at a local restaurant in Central.
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