Day 5 in Hong Kong was dedicated to taking the MTR to Lantau Island, home of Po Lin, a Buddhist monastery containing Tian Tan Buddha statue, the world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha (apparently there is a bigger one indoors somewhere).
Adam and I took the MTR to Lantau Island, and then waited in a 2-hour Disneylandesque queue for the Ngong Ping 360 cable car linking the town of Tung Chung with the monastery in the hills/mountains above. The ride offered stunning views of the Hong Kong Airport, though the haze I still had trouble accepting as pure pollution, obscured everything. Seriously, even on days with what appears to be blue skies, it feels like there is a fog enveloping the city.
I opted for a cappuccino and banana walnut muffin at the requisite Starbucks we found inside the mock Chinese village outside the monastery. Then we were off to climb the steps to be at one with the big Buddha (my first of this size mind you). Incense was burning in large pots as we climbed up, reminding me of the ubiquitous offerings in Bali.
If there was a time I felt the sky was truly blue above Hong Kong, it was right above the Buddha. We also checked out the monastery where I encountered the largest incense sticks I’ve ever seen near the entrance.
Inside one of the buildings were a collection of beautiful gold Buddhas. We had to await the end of a ceremony before entering. I know I’m going to see heaps of Buddhas during my time in Asia, so I hope I can enjoy them all equally. Buddha burnout is within the realm of possibility.
By now, I was starting to feel pain in my left knee from whatever I did to it in New Zealand. We took the bus back down the hill, the train back to Kowloon, and got some rest before getting dinner at a Cantonese barbecue restaurant and returning to the arcade for some cheap fun.