Hello and welcome to the “Complete Guide on Visiting the Big Buddha on Lantau Island”. The Tian Tan Buddha (aka Big Buddha) statue is 34 meters tall and is definitely the major attraction on the island. So it really doesn’t matter if you like statues or not or if you’re Buddhist or not. Solely due to this immense peer pressure you will have to visit. Your life would not be fulfilled otherwise. To make it easy for you, I’ve prepared a simple 4 step guide.
Step 1 – Get to Lantau Island
No, you don’t need a boat. Just take the metro to Tung Chung station.
Step 2 – Get to Ngong Ping Village
Ngong Ping used to be a remote village resting up the slopes of Lantau’s mountains. But then the statue was built in 1993. And you can’t have such an attraction in a remote village. You need to deremotize it. So MTRC (the equivalent of Romania’s Metrorex) built the Ngong Ping cablecar, starting from Tung Chung station. They also added a tourist village (a corridor of shops and restaurants), to further cash in on this.
When we were there, the gondola was closed for maintenance. So we took the only other option we had: bus 23. There was a bit of a queue, which is not good for a bus that runs twice per hour. Fortunately, the buses were running faster than scheduled in order to manage all those people.
Step 3 – See the Big Buddha
Just click here. There you have it. You just saw the Big Buddha. It’s what you can also see from the base of the stairs that lead up to the statue. Sure, you’re still 100 meters away, but it’s a big statue, so it’s pretty visible.
And the reason I’m showing you this: climbing the stairs to see the statue up close is ~ 12 EUR. No thanks. Even with the low hanging clouds and lack of visibility that we had, still not worth it. I could see people paying, I imagine it’s because you have to do it. It’s written in every tourist guide: you have to see the statue.
Step 4 – Do something to fill the emotional gap left by the Big Buddha statue
Hiking is very therapeutic, so we went on some sections of the Lantau trail. The whole trail is 70 km long, divided into 12 sections, and describes a loop over the island. We hiked parts of sections 4-6. The low clouds, humidity and drizzling, well.. not the best weather for hiking. The views were pretty forgettable.
Ended the hike in the village of Tai O. This is one of the last places in Hong Kong where you can still find stilt houses. Being a fishing village, we saw a lot of fish based merchandise, including the creepy looking dried fish skins. Hmm.. no, thanks.