My first off-the-island adventure was to Lantau Island (the largest island in Hong Kong!). This island is immediately to the west of HK and we took a ferry to get there and the MTR to get home. The airport and Disneyland are actually located on this island. The island is not heavily populated and mostly caters to tourists.
The Big Buddha is a huge pull for people to travel to the island and there are many trails for the adventurous hikers who are looking for a new challenge. Once up there, there are many sights to see – temples, incense burning areas, beautiful architecture, statues of warriors, and the Buddha of course.
If you’re catching the ferry, head to Central Ferry Pier to Pier 6 (Mui Wo). The view during the ferry ride was beautiful – you were able to see cityscape on both the Kowloon side as well as the island. When you are in the city, you don’t really realize how big it is. Hopefully you can try to go on a day when it’s not as smoggy. Quite the rarity in Hong Kong, but not only will that make your ferry ride much more scenic, it will also make the Buddha visible (kind of why you want to come here in the first place..).
As a warning, there are two different ferries with two different prices. The fast ferry takes around 30-40 minutes and is $28.40 Monday-Saturday and $40.80 on Sundays and public holidays. The ordinary ferry takes around 45-60 minutes and is $14.50 Monday-Saturday and $21.40 on Sundays and public holidays. I’ve taken the ordinary ferry a few times and it can be absolutely painful. If you can avoid taking it, I highly suggest you do so.
When we finally arrived on the island, McDonalds was awaiting for us, as it is everywhere you go. McDonalds felt very out of place – surrounded by cute little homes and shops. Apparently you just can’t escape it here. We hopped on a bus (the terminal is right out front – you want to get on Bus No. 2) headed for the Big Buddha.
Get ready for a quick history lesson: The Big Buddha (officially called the Tian Tan Buddha) was built in 1993. “It is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. The Buddha statue sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. It is surrounded by six smaller bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas” and are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These offerings symbolize charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana.” – You can thank Wikipedia for that one.
Enough with my ramblings.