It was a Long Time Coming: Meeting Big Buddha in Hong Kong

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December 23, 2011
The Year 2011: Traveling, Fighting, Eating and Everything in Between
December 28, 2011

It was a Long Time Coming: Meeting Big Buddha in Hong Kong

Big Buddha, before and after

Back of Big Buddha
 

Some of you may remember the unfortunate event at Hong Kong. It was the foggiest day of my life when I least wanted it. I was supposed to see the largest sitting Buddha in the world up on the peak, but all I could see was a world of fog. Hazy day at Ngong Ping Village… Well, it was a good thing because I’ve never seen such a scene like that but considering all that money and time we put in… a bit of a waste.

 

Second time’s a charm. Finally, we met.

A trip to Ngong Ping Village by the cable car is more than just seeing the big Buddha. It’s an experience in the village. But today that was my priority since we have a rough history together. I carefully picked the date for the cable car ride. I didn’t want to repeat the disaster once again. Thankfully, it was a clear-ish day. Ngong Ping 360 recently installed a crystal cabin (a cabin with a glass floor), and we were on one of them. The 25 minutes of 5.7km (3.5 miles) ride by a crystal cabin was almost hard to believe. The view of the surroundings; Lantau Island, Thung Chung Bay, hiking trails and people, seemed like a never ending cable car ride.

 

Cable car

Ngong Ping 360 ride to Ngong Ping Village

 

Crystal Cabin

Ngong Ping 360 - Crystal Cabin

Tian Tan Buddha Statue

 

The World’s largest, seated, outdoor, bronze Buddha. Up on 268steps, Tian Tan Buddha is sitting on a lotus throne; the Buddhist symbol of purity.

Here is the photo comparison between last year and this year. See the differences?

 

Big Buddha, before and after

Constructed from 202 bronze pieces, it weighs over 250 tonnes and is 34 metres high. One word: enormous. It was even visible from the cable car. I couldn’t believe I missed this view last time, but here we are, finally.

On each side of the staircase are statues of Buddhist saints: Bodhisattvas. They are venerated for deferring heaven in order to help mortals reach enlightenment.

On the way to Big Buddha

260 steps to the Buddha

 

One of Bodhisattvas

One of Bodhisattvas

 

Po Lin Monastery

 

Po Lin means ‘precious lotus’. It was developed as a place for pilgrimage in the 1920s. Po Lin Monastery is well known for its magnitude, serenity and environment. The main three statues inside the monastery indicate Buddha’s past, present and future. The big Buddha statue is built as an extension of this monastery.

 

Monastery

Po Lin Monastery and three statues of Buddha

Monastery

Inside of Monastery

 

Wisdom Path

 

About 10 minutes of walking will lead you to the Wisdom Path. It features an arrangement of 38 10-metre-high wooden columns arranged in the infinity pattern. Each column shows calligraphy of Heart Sutra by master of Chinese Studies Professor Jao Tsung-I.

Wisdom Path

Wisdom Path near Ngong Ping Villagae

 

 

If you want to see more photos from Ngong Ping Village, please visit Runaway Juno’s Flickr Photo Album.

 

Ngong Ping Village How to…?

You can reach it by hiking, bus and Ngong Ping 360 cable car from Tung Cheung MTR station.

 

 

#disclosure: I was invited to take Ngong Ping 360 Cable car to Ngong Ping Village. I really appreciate their generosity. However this post is written in my own words.

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

19 Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    So happy you got to see the Buddha without all the fog! I loved spending the day there and couldn’t believe how big it really was.

    Love the before and after comparison photos!

  2. monita says:

    wwwwooooowwww…………..nice weather. we can see the Big Budha very clearly and the wisdom path also……me last year…..can’t see anything :-(( it’s morning 10 AM…..but the weather is not good…

    i should go again ^^

  3. Mike Bugno says:

    One word, AMAZING! I recommend seeing Buddha with a Runaway, you travel in style. Thanks for the experience and the trip. A trip in the Crystal Cabin wasn’t too shabby either! What a pilgrimage.

  4. Harrison says:

    Like the comparison of 2010 and 2011 photos of the Big Buddha.

    That reminds me of a time when I went to Tokyo and really wanted to see Mt. Fuji, but the day I went, was cloudy and the mountain was shrouded by the fog. Sad face … guess I’ll have to do something similar and take an after photo if I go back there sometime in the future! Hopefully that day will be clear to view Mt. Fuji.

  5. ciki says:

    i LOVE hong kong!! don’t forget to eat charsiew!! and party in Lan Kwai Fong!! xoxo. Hope u had a great christmas Juno.. and wishing you and ur loved ones, a Rocking New Year!!

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Ciki! It was great to see the buddha finally. Mmm… Charsiew. I think I had too much charsiew already. haha! Food here is amazing!! Hope you are having a great holidays Ciki!

  6. The giant Buddha was impressive I agree. At least you picked a good day to go! When I went there about a month ago, the cable car was in scheduled maintenance just on that day 🙁 So I had to take a bus and missed the views, but still worth the trouble.

    • Juno says:

      That’s unfortunate! But glad you got a chance to go up there though. The view from cable car was certainly amazing. Glad it was a clear day, not foggy like the last time!

  7. Andrea says:

    Wow, awesome!! Love how huge he is and how colourful the monastery is

  8. I want to go there too! Glad you saw the giant buddha without the fog LOL

  9. cailin says:

    I like the comparison of the two times seeing or not seeing it 🙂 Often on our travels things like fog happen and we unfortunately don’t get a chance to come back again so it was nice that you were able too! 🙂

  10. Leslie says:

    Love the before and after pics! And that tram is freaky– not sure I want to look down below my feet and see all that space 🙂

    • Juno says:

      It’s cool, aye? 🙂 Crystal one was not so much scary than I expected. But it was really, really freaky when it stopped for like 20 mins, due to some kind of management?! we were up in the air. Brrr, wasn’t fun!

  11. JK Kim says:

    Hey, sister, good to see your website.
    I am working now, but I am waiting for next meeting at ROK MND, so I just clicked yours.
    It’s nice to see your pics, HongKong looks awesome, I wanna go there later.
    Hey, stay healthy, enjoy your trip.

  12. Liv says:

    This is definitely on my list of Buddhas to meet! Your post also highlights the importance of allowing a few days for things in case of weather!

    • Juno says:

      You’re right; tight schedule can be very tough, if the weather’s not helping. Recently, I had really rainy 6-days in Iceland but I’ve heard it got so much better after we left. It’s all about timing! 🙂

  13. Beautifil pictures, it’s great you finally got to see it! I’m seeing similair things in China at the moment. Loving all the monasteries and Buddhist history.

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