Review and Rating on The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
You have to climb up a lot of stairs to get to The Buddha
Spending – 4
The statue of Big Buddha is as kind-hearted as the Buddha, visiting costs no penny. There is a ticket office at the base of Big Buddha before you climb up, but if you plan to only see Big Buddha you could just ignore the ticket office and walk straight in. The ticket office sells two kinds of coupons. The more expensive one is for a big full vegetarian meal. The menu is not even close to middle-class, and the whole table (approximately 10 people) shares the same big dish. However as you are already here at the Po Lin Monastery, why not try the real monastery vegetarian dish? The cheaper menu is for some a bowl of noodles and Chinese dessert. The tofu dessert is so famous in the Lantau Island (where Big Buddha locates), even if you do not buy the snack set at the Monastery you must try the tofu dessert at one of the small street stalls.
ToFu dessert – Can’t miss it !
The Po Lin Monastery
What a great view from Ngong Ping 360
View – 5
Whenever I tell my foreign friends that I enjoy hiking in Hong Kong, they think I am nuts. The image of the skyscrapers and the badly polluted air is so strong that none of my foreign friends believes me that there are indeed beautiful mountains covered in green in Hong Kong. If you are one of them too, you will probably be shocked when you climb up Big Buddha. Yes it takes 268 steps to reach, but once you are there you not only enjoy a closer look with Big Buddha, the smaller statues of the saints, but also the greenery Hong Kong backed by the South China Sea.
Ngong Ping 360
It’s right near the Tung Chung Station
The 360 Cable Car Ride
Convenience – 1
The Buddha sits on the Lantau Island, close to the airport and Disneyland. In other words, far from the city. Of course it will be perfect to visit right before or after your flight, but the suitcases are always a problem. You may have heard that the MTR (metro) drives all the way to Tung Chung, which is also on the Lantau Island, but even if you arrived Tung Chung you are quite not there yet. Taking a bus from there will take you another 45 minutes. Even if you took the ferry from Central to the other part of Lantau Island called Mui Wo, it also still takes you another 40 minutes by bus. The Hong Kong Government must have spotted the inconvenience and built the long cable car named Ngong Ping 360. It is an extremely relaxing ride though there are always long waiting lines. Avoid weekends and public holidays where the locals join the line too.
Closeup of the Buddha
People climb up the stairs to meet the Buddha
History / Culture – 5
The Big Buddha is quite new completed in 1989, but it took 12 years just to design and build it. Every single detail of the Buddha has a symbolic meaning of religious significance. The right hand is a symbol of Buddha’s spirit of saving those who are suffering, while the left grant blessings and happiness to all. The Big Buddha sits 34 meters high and if you are detailed-minded enough to notice, it faces north to look over the Chinese people. Spend some time in the exhibition hall and you will know it is not an ordinary statue.
Some Souvenir you can buy near Po Lin Monastery
Joss Sticks (Incense)
Overall – 5
Although the Big Buddha is quite inconveniently located, it is a nice little excursion from the overly-excited city of Hong Kong. The formal name of the Buddha is the Tian Tan Buddha statue, but it is more often called the Big Buddha because it is real BIG. Perhaps it is like Buddhism, the deeper you see and think about it, the more you get out of it. The Buddha never disappoints you.
Photo by wiredtourist.com, ohsarahrose, Richard Perry, G&R, Jack Zalium, jaaron, karendotcom127, DoNotLick, yosoynuts, firepile, Dan.., under creative common