Lantau Island: The Big Buddha

I wake up diagonal in my mini room shivering. Mid way through the night I must have doubled up on blankies to lay on and instead gone with no covers. The window is open a crack and it’s kind of chilly. I look out over the bay towards the bridge. Overcast, might rain?

The Agency comes together in Bao’s living room and draws up a breakfast plan. Apparently there’s a dim sum place nearby we can walk to. While we’re chatting there is a NERD video on the tv from the Sponge Bob soundtrack. I’ve never seen or heard this before, it’s rather catchy yeaaaaah, here we go now.

With that rolling through our heads we do a square pants dance on the way down in the elevator, yeaaah here we go now, snag another smirk/head shake from the security guard and hit the overcast streets to a dim sum breakfast of chicken feet, duck, green beans and buns.

Next stop is Lantau island to see Big Buddha! The largest outdoor sitting bronze Buddha in da world.

TIAN TAN BUDDHA

We octopus our way to Lantau island, zsssshtt!, and there is a maaaaaassive line to get on the gondola to the Big Buddha. We wait in it for just a second while calculating alternate options. Overhead there is some very Mega Man-esque Nintendo sounding music. “We could wait all day, metal man our way up the gondola to fight wood man, or hop on that bus”, (points to arriving bus with ‘Tian Tan Buddha’ on it). We head to the bus.

The Big Buddha Bus comes every 20 minutes and we just missed that first one, aaaand don’t make it on the second one, and 40 minutes later are on a bus. This still paled in comparison to the frozen molasses line going for the gondolas. Although that experience is supposedly the most romantic thing to do within several hundred square miles.

The bus schloops us away through some pleasant countryside greenery, up up up a steep hill that gives us a nice overview of the island. Fairly remote, so it was a welcome change from the uber malls of downtown Hong Kong. We putt-putt through some sleepy villages and back down a steep hill towards the ocean again. White sand beaches and a smattering of islands. Things are quiet out this way and picturesque. The weather feels out our moods and the clouds part as the scenery unfolds.

After about 40 mins on the bus we get dropped off in Ngong Ping at the Big Buddha, who you can easily see in the distance for miles around. Makes sense since he’s 112 feet high and over 250 tons. Apparently on a clear day you can see it across the harbor from Macau. He represents the harmony  between man and nature, people and faith.

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Here’s the entrance to the place framing Lantau Peak in the distance…

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…add some familiar places…

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…and the largest outdoor Buddha…

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…we pass through and along the path to the Big Buddha are the Twelve Divine Generals. These are protective deities, each claiming a time of day, a year of the Chinese zodiac and all are armed with a special weapon. ‘Mine’ is Sandira and he is armed with the power of… CONCH SHELL!!! He’ll make you drink out of it between the hours of 11am and 1pm, it’s a great way to start your day.

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After the Twelve Divine Generals, it’s a 268 stair climb up to meet this guy. Back lit Big Buddha is an impressive guy to approach.

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His right hand is raised to resemble the removal of affliction while his left hand rests on his lap in an expression of generosity.

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There is a great panoramic view of Lantau from up there and Big Buddha is surrounded by six other bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas”. Each one presents a meaningful offering to the Big Buddha representing one of the six perfections towards attaining enlightenment.

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We round the Buddha thrice and head into the middle room underneath him. It’s a gift shop, of course. I peruse their wares. My wrists are feeling a little light this trip, I left both the Cord of Charisma and the Orange Togetherness in SoCal. I wonder if there’s anything in here that… my fingertips touch a simple bracelet of small wooden balls and a resonating light instantly explodes into the room under the Big Buddha. It shockwaves out through the arched doorways, shaking the 6 Devas outside and spans up into the sky, into the stratosphere. It ripples out silently through the cosmic expanse beyond then seemingly returns in that same instant back to my wrist where the bracelet now sits wrapped around it, leaving just a wisp of smoking star dust and my hand tight in a glorious fist pump. This is it! “What is this?” I ask the gift shop clerk. “That is a bracelet of fortune and health.”, “YESSSSSH!!”

Back down the 268 steps we spin through the rest of the setting fairly quickly as it’s getting late in the day and the last bus to Tai O will be arriving shortly. There are a number of temples and gardens and we blitz them before heading back to the bus stop

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On the way out to the bus we meet an enlightened cow who seems to be more into McBurger than Narcopiggy.

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Well that was sweet but we’re off to the small fishing village of Tai O.
Queenie high fives Big Buddha and we’re outta here!

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