Tian Tan Buddha
also known as the “Big Buddha” and “天壇大佛” in Chinese, is a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Interestingly, the Big Buddha is also visible from Macau in a clear weather. In case you are taking a plane in the morning or early afternoon, you may have a chance to spot him at the window seat too.
The steps to Big Buddha
Make your way up via the 268 steps, you are able to take a closer look at this remarkable statue and enjoy the sweeping mountain and sea views from above. Looking out, these panoramic views over the Lantau island are what’s worth carrying all your camera gear for.
For those who have made your way up to the Big Buddha, you should explore what’s inside the Buddha. There are 3 floors to explore – “The Hall of Universe“, “The Hall of Benevolent Merit” and “The Hall of Remembrance“. It is certainly worthwhile to take a look and explore the 3 floors, especially since there is a rare relic of Gautama Buddha inside.
Ngong Ping Village
Ngong Ping Village is connected via the Ngong Ping Cable Car to the Tung Chung lower terminal. The village is by no means an “old village” and it is 100% meant for tourists and very commercialized. There are many souvenir shops, tea houses & restaurants, including Subway and Starbucks.
Ngong Ping Village is also home to the Po Lin Monastery and the giant wooden steles of the Wisdom Path, giving you a lot to explore.
Po Lin Monastery
Opposite the Tian Tan Buddha statue, the Po Lin Monastery is the Buddhist temple founded over hundreds of years ago. Similar to Big Buddha, it is one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums. And also, it has been dubbed ‘the Buddhist World in the South’. Home to many a devout monk, this monastery is rich with colourful manifestations of Buddhist iconography and its pleasant garden is alive with birdsong and flowery scents.
When you look closer, you will notice that the timber columns of Wisdom Path actually forms the figure of eight which represents and symbolizes “infinity”.
How to get there
- MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take Ngong Ping Cable Car (around 25 minutes). Or,
- MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take New Lantao Bus 23 from Tung Chung Town Centre (around 45 minutes). Or,
- Catch a ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then take New Lantao Bus 2 to Ngong Ping Village (around 40 minutes).
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
Even though there are various ways to get to Lantau Island, I would strongly recommend getting there by the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. With spectacular views over Lantau Island, the airport, the seascape and Ngong Ping Village, the cable car ride takes around 25 minutes. Even though we did arrive early, the ticketing queues were long and crowded. However, you are able to take the special queue with advance purchase tickets to exchange vouchers for wrist bands to ride the cable car. So, you have to make sure you buy your tickets in advance.
Any nature / Buddhism travellers will find this trip a great way to get closer to the Buddhist culture. Secondly, this is a trip highly recommended for nature, landscape and drone photographers and videographers too. The amazing views from the top are worth all the camera gear you brought. In addition, the Po Lin Monastery, the slightly-touristy Ngong Ping Village, and the Wisdom Path are somewhat nearby. This is like an “all-in-one” package!
List of camera lenses, bodies and equipment we brought along for this trip:
- Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera Body
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens
- Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
- Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body
- Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
Check out the other post – Tai O fishing village, the hidden gem in Hong Kong
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The travel blog of the Little Girl features tips and advice on how you can travel smarter, cheaper, and better time spent so you can explore the world on a budget. We caught the travel bugs as we began traveling together on a budget to nearby islands. Join and follow us on our Social Media as we travel to more beautiful destinations.