Lantau Island, Hong Kong Day Trip

I realize that the logical thing would be to write about what I did and saw in Hong Kong in chronological order, but what I like most about blogging is the ability to share stuff that I’m really excited about whenever I want, and I’m really excited about what I saw on Day 4 in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong consists of a series of islands and Lantau is the largest and – aside from Disneyland Hong Kong and the international airport – the most undeveloped. It is in stark contrast and yet only a few minutes’ MTR ride away from the bustling Hong Kong metropolis. The mountainous terrain is rugged and wild with jungle-like natural forests while the coastline is dotted with tiny old-time picturesque fishing villages still in operation. We visited both.

Our day trip began by taking a glass-bottom “Crystal Cable Car” 3.5 miles up the side of the mountain.

We arrived in Ngong Ping, a tiny mountain village fashioned in the original Chinese architecture.

The real sites to be seen, however, include the Tian Tan (Altar of Heaven) Giant Buddha – the largest outdoor bronze Buddha in the world. It was mystical the way the bronze Buddha peeked through the low clouds and slowly revealed itself the closer you got.

The Po Lin (Precious Lotus) Monastery – a classic Chinese imperial temple and quite ornate in design.

And my personal favorite, the Wisdom Path – a set of 38 timber columns rising about 30’ high, each inscribed with a verse from the Chinese holy text in Chinese calligraphy.

It’s a pleasant little hike through the forest and from what I could tell, many of the other tourists milling around the Buddha and temple did not realize it was there. Their loss, our gain. I don’t think it would’ve had the same affect on me had it been crawling with tourists. But because it was isolated in the shadow of a magnificent peak (later learned it was Lantau Mountain), I felt like I’d stumbled upon really special. (Also, the benefits of traveling with locals in-the-know, but more on that later.)

About a 20 minute bus ride away lies Tai O Village – quaint and picturesque. We got there as the sun was setting.

Many of the homes are built on stilts over the water.

Their main livelihood is fish and selling fish products.

As we were walking through the village I noticed some of the homes were built of metal. Jetsetter’s mom revealed that a portion of the village burned down and was recently resurrected with metal instead of wood.

I couldn’t get over how tiny these homes were. How simply they lived. Mostly how different it was compared to the Hong Kong boasting a 3-story Louis Vuitton and gleaming skyscrapers.

Then I saw this little girl pedaling her friend on her bicycle while talking on her cell phone.

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