This Tallest outside sitting Buddha in the World stands at 85 feet (called Giant or "Tian Tian" Buddha) and sits on the Ngong Ping Plateau in Lantau Island (that is why this is the end part of the Ngong Ping 360! a 6 km cable car ride that starts from tung chung area to Ngong Ping that is 30 minutes in duration). The Ngong Ping Plateau also houses a Vegetarian Restaurant and Various Monasteries like Po Lin. The Buddha was completed in 1993 and became a tourist attraction for tourist and pilgrimage site for buddhists. It is near the Ngong Ping Village Theme Park.
During winter, the sun sets as early as 6pm. I was walking back to the Ngong Ping cable car station when I had the opportunity to 'punked' my 2-year old son. I asked him if he wants to see a monster and so I stood with the sun behind me.
Lo and behold, the shadow of a tall monster appeared. He really ran away!
Leaving the make-believe world of Disneyland and entering Po Lin Monastery. The latter was definitely more interesting for me. The monastery was founded more than 100 years ago and is one of the oldest standing structure in the Ngong Ping area.
Interestingly, the monastery also sells super mega-sized joss sticks. I happen to see a couple buying that and was moving around with the humongous joss sticks, waving it up and down, praying for possibly good things to befall upon the couple.
I've heard so much of the statue. Before 2007, it stood as the world's tallest outdoor seated buddha statue. Some of my friends said that there was nothing much to do that and had adviced me not to visit the place. But how can I not after hearing so much about this place?
Frankly, I've no regrets visiting the place.
To reach the structure, you'd have to climb 268 steps. With two kids in tow, I was contented with the view from ground level.
The Buddha is open from 10am to 5:30pm daily.
My wife and I were afraid that there was no food suitabe for our children up at Ngong Ping. So we brought along quite a bit of stuff.
Fret not, there are restaurants at Ngong Ping village, even modernity has caught up with this place with Starbucks and Subway taking a space in this vilage.
If it's not the established restaurants that you're looking for, then check out the street side stalls. One of the first few that we came across was this lady selling corns. Totally tempting as it was a nice cool weather for a piping hot corn. But we did not buy it as it was corn on a cob, which we'd rather have it peeled and placed in a cup.
Ngong Ping is no 100 year-old village. Actually it's not even a 50 year-old village. The entire village opened in 2005 but what the government had tried to do was to blend the buildings with the present Po Lin temple.
Buildings were built to look authentically old though the freshly painted rosewood and whitewashed walls reflects the true age of this village.
When standing in the midst of the village, you can once again catch the sight of the big buddha. The entire village seems to have been built to allow the Big Buddha to reign supreme as it seems that the statue has been placed in the direct line of the village walkway.
A statue so big that you can see from the aeroplane. So massive that one has to climb 240 steps to get to the statue. Known as the Tian Tan Buddha, it took three years to build and the cable car in gave me one of the best helicopter view of this bronze work.
Whwn I arrived at Ngong Ping, I got another view of the statue. No matter from what angle you see the statue, it is still very impressive.
After climbing beyond the sea, the cable car makes a sharp left turn and afterwhich, the cable car continued its climb.
At that point, you should be able to see two very interesting landmark. Firstly, you will see the tall skyscrapers that houses the tung chung residents coupled with the CityGate shopping mall. The second landmark was the Hong Kong International Airport. You can observe the taxiing and taking off of the passenger jets.
The view was totally mesmerising.
My Hong Kong cousin said, "Why do you want to visit Hong Kong? It's such a crowded place". Well, by taking a cable car ride, we would be ingeniously taken away from the crowd.
Since my family was crossing over to Ngong Ping at about 4pm, the cable cars were largely empty. So instead of having 8-persons in the cable car, it was only the four of us. Perks of travelling at a later time.
When the cable car started the climb, the entire scene turned for greyish building to lofty mountains, bluish seas and skies.
This monastery is famous for big Buddha statue. It's very far from city. But, it's worth travelling for.