Category Archives: Hong Kong

In Search of the Big Buddha: Lantau Island, Hong Kong

The giant Buddha and monastery on Lantau Island near Hong Kong is a captivating sight. It’s easy to feel entranced by the misty allure that surrounds the meditating statue. The Buddha sits on top of a lush mountain bordered by velvety emerald water; his open-facing palms deliver a message of balance and tranquility.

I had a mere 24 hours to spend in Hong Kong. Visiting Buddha was an obvious choice. Getting there… now that was a different story.


It was the first day of April. I struggled to wake up after one of the roughest night at sea. I’d been living on the MV Explorer for nearly three months, sailing around South America, Africa, and Asia on a study abroad program called Semester at Sea.

Sitting up, I stretched my arms up above my head leaning side to side and glancing out the porthole.

Outside stood an army of high-rise buildings, swimming in misty fog.

Good morning, Hong Kong.

I threw on a pair of jeans and a cozy sweater and ran out the door, down the hall, and straight to cabin #2003. I pounded on the door with both fists until the door swung open seconds later. My shipmate and friend, Anna Christina, smiled back at me. She was ready to go.


As we bought our tickets for the Star Ferry that would take us across Victoria Harbour we met up with Jonathan, the guy who helped save my life in South Africa weeks prior (don’t worry, I’ll address this in a future blog post).


It was quite the complicated journey. We began in Kowloon, where the MV Explorer was docked. First we took the Star Ferry to the MTR subway. Then it was on to Tung Chung station. Then, after a 45 minute wait, Jonathan, Anna Christina and I boarded a Ngong Ping 360 cable car.

TIP: If you’re not deathly afraid of heights request a cable car with a see-through floor. It offers another extraordinary view of the island and surrounding water.



Gliding over the water towards Lantau Island felt like a dream. We were slowly being drawn towards the large Buddha statue somewhere in the distance.

DSC02137DSC02141We kept our eyes focused on the horizon, waiting to see the bronze statue appear before us.


Finally, we saw it.Buddha on Lantau Island via

Anna Christina and I jumped for joy. Literally.

DSC02158As we walked through the Ngong Ping village we poked our heads into shops and restaurants. A combination of foreign languages and the scent of tea filled the air.


Soon we found ourselves face to face with the largest seated bronze Buddha statue in the world, the Tian Tan Buddha.

DSC02173 The statue, which took 12 years to complete, has been watching over China since 1993. It stands over 110 feet tall and sits at the top of 268 stairs.

DSC02175The top of the stairs offered a vast view of the valley below.

DSC02186Even though finding it wasn’t as simple as we had anticipated, I’m glad that we spent the day trekking around Hong Kong in search of the big Buddha. I would do it again in a heart beat.

I hope to one day return to Hong Kong and have more time to spend exploring some of the other treasures hidden in that misty fog.

Have you been to Hong Kong? What would you recommend to see and do? Comment below and let me know your personal insights.