A Half-Day Tour at Lantau Island

Lantau is Hong Kong’s largest island which features a whole package of sky, land, and sea adventure.  If you are planning for a trip to Hong Kong, never fail to include this island in your itinerary for this is Hong Kong by itself.  It encapsulates the entire local culture, heritage, and nature’s best of this quite small Chinese territory.  So to start our Lantau half-day tour, we hopped into Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to bring us to the island the fastest way.  And this heralds the beginning of the sky adventure at Lantau!

But we didn’t expect that the cable car ride would last up to 25-30 minutes which is a 5.7-km far journey.  As an acrophobic, I couldn’t help thinking that a cable might break, a hook might detach, or our cabin might just fall.  So to ease me from this nega vibe, we took photos while I was also trying to look around the panoramic views of the Hong Kong International Airport, Ngong Ping Plateau, and down the Tung Chung Bay as well as the South China Sea.

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The cable car ride brought us to Ngong Ping Village which signals the start of the land adventure.  This is a culturally themed Chinese-style marketplace which offers a unique shopping and dining experience to visitors.  Eastern and Western restaurants welcome you as you enter the village and there is also a complete line up of souvenir shops which offers a display of authentic Chinese gifts.

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Here, we visited the Bodhi Wishing Shrine.  The Bodhi Tree is dubbed as the “Tree of Awakening”.  It was believed to be the tree under which Siddhartha meditated that gave him the Enlightenment in becoming Buddha.  Just like the paper prayers and wishes kind of thing in a Buddhism temple in Singapore, this Bodhi Wishing Shrine also promises to make your wish come true!

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Then we passed by the International Cable Car Gallery.  This area exhibits several cabins from around the world which showcases unique structures of other cable cars used in different countries.

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And so we entered the Ngong Ping Piazza.  The piazza consists of four main areas namely, New Pai Lau, Bodhi Path, Di Tan, and a Chinese-landscaped garden.  Along the sides of the Bodhi Path are statues of the “Twelve Divine Generals” who are regarded as the protectors in Buddhism.

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The other side of the piazza paves the way to the Big Buddha.  This is the world’s tallest and biggest bronze Buddha who sits serenely on a lotus throne atop the Ngong Ping plateau.  Pilgrims from all over the world pay homage to Tian Tan Buddha whose right hand is being raised to deliver a blessing to all.  Visitors must climb up 268 steps in order to reach the Buddha.  On top, six smaller bronze statues will be seen which is known as “The Offering of the Six Devas”, posing offering of flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha.

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Overlooking the Big Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery.  This is Hong Kong’s largest Buddhist temple but it’s not as big as Singapore’s Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.  But in here, I found the largest joss sticks ever!  This monastery plays a major role for Hong Kong’s Buddhist pilgrimage.  The main temple houses three bronze statues of Buddha representing his past, present, and future lives.  A row of eateries is conveniently located inside the monastery complex for hungry visitors coming down from the Big Buddha.

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To wrap up a half-day tour at Lantau, the sea adventure should never be missed.  The Tai O Fishing Village is a must-see which houses the Tanka people, a community of fisherfolks.  But if you are from the Philippines, this is not new to you.  We have loads of these coastal communities in here!  On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the charming view of stilt houses along the banks of Tai O, a boat excursion is a must-do.  Then you might just catch a glimpse of the very rare Chinese White Dolphins if you are lucky.

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Photos in this collage are grabbed from web

Finally, visiting Lantau won’t be complete without trying their local delicacies which are sea-produce as shrimp paste and salted fish.  A walk to the Tai O Market would make you stinky but it will be worth a walk after all for all the goodies you’ll get to free-taste.

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Photos in this collage are grabbed from web

And what we got after our Lantau Island half-day tour?  Super tired feet but a super filled mind and heart for the culture and heritage of Hong Kong!  So when in another country, try to connect to their culture and the locals.  By then, you will get to experience and that’s the best price of travelling!  Not just for the photos to be flooded with likes on Facebook, but for the sole experience of having to stay there even just for a little while.  As Dalai Lama said, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”

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When in Hong Kong, stay at Oi Suen Guesthouse and buy your Ngong Ping 360 tickets at a discounted price!  For more information about Oi Suen, visit their website here.

More blog entries to come on our HK-Macau family vacation! 🙂

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