Lantau is Hong Kong's biggest island and offers much more than its Big Buddha.
It has a very attractive mountain scenery (the highest mountain is Lantau Peak at 934m) and an impressive rocky coastline with some very nice beaches and it is also ideal for hiking tours.
There is the tiny village of Tai O in the West (for details check out the below tip) and Mui Wo in the East.
How to get there?
a) Take a ferry from Central (HK Island). The trip takes about an hour (ordinary ferry) or some 35 minutes by fast ferry.
Ferries usually arrive at Sivermine Bay (Mui Wo) on Lantau's East shore. From there, you can already see various buses waiting to bring people to further destinations all around the island.
Take the bus heading for Ngong Ping, i.e. the Po Lin Monastery (you can pay by Octopus card). The ride takes about 45 minutes and is, frankly speaking, not very comfortable... but on the good side, you can see a lot of Lantau Island during the ride.
b) Take the MTR (subway) from wherever you're staying to Tung Chung on Lantau Island.
From Tung Chung, you can take the new cable car (Ngong Ping 360 - see next tip for details) and enjoy a stunning 25-minute-ride (!) with awesome views across Lantau and the airport.
Po Lin Monastery is located at 450 meters altitude. It was opened in 1970 and the main attraction is the 34m high giant Buddha statue, unveiled in 1993. It weighs 220 tons and is said to be the biggest Buddha statue in the world (quite believable). You have to climb a lot of stairs to reach the platform but it is worth the effort because you enjoy a wonderful view across Lantau and its surroundings.
If you prefer a little lunch, the monks of Po Lin successfully operate a vegetarian restaurant that serves excellent food at very moderate prices.
Thanks to the new cable car, the trip can be done within half-a-day. However, it might be more relaxing to plan for the whole day and make a side-trip to Tai O (see below tip for details).
If you walk towards Lantau Peak, you will see it.
It is a compound right in-front-of Lantau Peak, with many sculptures. Big wooden pieces engraved with Buddhist Wisdom Orison (If you watch "Journey to the West" - HK Movie/Drama, you'll sure know it!)
The sunset view here is perfect. Winds are strong here too. Weather here is like Fraser's Hill, Malaysians!
It was a Wednesday, tourists are packed at Big Buddha & Po Lin Monastery but not here. Actually we thought of turning back half way. It was a long walk (about 15-20 minutes in a jungly path) from Po Lin Monastery to Wisdom Path. We have no idea whether the path that we are heading worthwile or not. Luckily we did not gave up. You will regret if you missed it!
If you have time while in Hong Kong, the Bid Buddha statue on Lantau Island is well worth a visit. It's such a amazing statue that can be seen well before you reach it. The eyes, lips, incline of the head and even the right hand raised to deliver a blessing to all is so awe inspiring, whose very glance brings calm to those who look into those seemingly all-seeing eyes. The majestic figure of the seated Buddha (or Tian Tan) is 34 metres high, was cast in China and took 10 years to complete. Weighing 220 tonnes, it was unveiled in 1993 amid deep religious ceremonies. Besides attracting Buddhists from all over Asia, the magnificent figure with its compelling presence almost instantly transformed the remote Po Lin Monastery with its devout monks into a must on tourist schedules.
Tai O is often referred to as the Venice of the Orient. It is a fishing village by the mountain where ppl live on houses built on stilts over the river. Although many ppl have moved onto land, there are still many of these stilt houses by the river.
Dried seafood, especially salted fish, is the local specialty, since many ppl catch fish or shrimp for a living. It's not difficult to see ppl drying fish or baby shrimp on a bamboo rack outside their home. You can also take a boat tour around Tai O.
There is a lookout about a 15 min walk from the main street of the village, where you can have a good view of the south end of the airport on a clear day.
To get to Tai O, take bus 11 from the bus terminal in Tung Chung in Lantau Island or bus 21 from Po Lin Monastery
A great daytrip out of Hong Kong is to visit Lantau Island. One of the popular things to see on the Island is the worlds biggest outdoor seated buddha, and also very close to that is the Po Lin Monastery, which is just absolutely spectacular.
Go inside the main building and see the amazing details, and the beautiful buddhas.
Even the outside of the building is fantastic and very detailed.
If you want to feel a world away for a day, a delightful escape from the city is Lantau Island. It is here that the world's largest outdoor seated buddha calls home. What a sight! There is also an active monastery located here as well. Such a gorgeous environment.
To reach Po Lin, you take the ferry from the Outlying Islands pier to the port town of Mui Wo and from there, you ride a bus to the monastery.
A nice alternative (and certainly less crowded) is visiting the Tsing Ma bridge visitors point. You can see the Tsing Ma bridge connecting the New Territories to Lantau Island. There is a tiny visitors center showing information regarding the construction of the bridge.
The little park where the visitors center is located is very well kept. Certainly also worth visiting at night!
this is a beach at Lantau Island, it's not touristy, mainly filled with local people. a hiking trail passes through this beach, and there is a camping ground right attached to this beach. it has a very beautiful view, and there is also a football ground nearby, there are also some restaurants within walking distance.
Natasha took us on a ferry trip to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha, and I have to say it was impressive.
We'd just come back from Europe, where a 1 hour boat ride on a lake in Switzerland cost us over $40, so it was amazing to get a 1 hour journey for only the equivalent of $A2!
It was a hot and humid day, but Paul and Natasha still managed to climb all the steps to the big Buddha.
Afterward, you could explore the temple there, and have a traditional vegetarian lunch together in a big room, served by monks, if I remember them correctly.
An interesting and nice cultural experience, especially away from all the crowds of the day before.
Discovery Bay is on Lantau Island. and a lot of expats live here. Once you could only get to Discovery Bay by ferry and all your household items had to be taken that way as well. Now with the Tsing Yi Bridge from the mainland to the airport, you can travel both ways.
The Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island was opened in 1970. It is supposed to be the most magnificent Buddhist Temple in Hong Kong. The main hall has 2 floors with an elaborately decorated roof.
You can actually stay at the temple, accommodation is provided with a vegetarian meal.
From the top of the hill by the Buddha looking down. Its quite a hike to the top where the Buddha is. Lantau Island is just a ferry ride. You then take a bus up a windy road until you reach Po Lin Monastery.
More on Lantau and other islands in my travelogues.