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My most vivid recollection from the day I made the journey to Tian Tan Buddha was the glass-bottomed cable car ride up the mountains of Lantau Island. Our heart-thumping vantage point gave us panoramic views of Hong Kong’s dense forestry, airport, urban sprawl and the South China Sea, which stretched before us as far as the eye could see.
Colloquially dubbed “Big Buddha,” the 112-foot bronze statue of the Buddha lives up to its name: Its silhouette is visible from the cable car long before visitors disembark at the station.
The 25-minute ride takes guests to Ngong Ping Village, a shopping area for tourists from which they can walk to the statue. For those requiring wheelchair access, the statue is perfectly visible from the foot of the stairs, but travelers must make the long (but rewarding) climb up more than 250 steps if they want to reach the base of the structure. For me, it was incredible to ascend and watch the Buddha gradually loom larger and larger until, at the top, looking up meant that the statue filled my entire field of vision. Inside the base is an exhibit hall educating visitors on the Buddha’s life.
Devout Buddhists and casual tourists alike flock here every day to see Tian Tan Buddha for themselves, whether for religious pilgrimage or general spiritual enrichment. But even if you’re not spiritual, there’s a sense of accomplishment at having finally reached the top. It’s no small feat to see the surrounding mountains of the island through the eyes of a statue that reaches for the heavens.
The DetailsVisit Hong Kongwww.discoverhongkong.com
Ngong Ping 360www.np360.com.hk