Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hong Kong Day 2 – Ngong Ping Cable Cars, Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery & Lantau Bay

Sunday we set out to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha & the Po Lin Monastery.  Arriving at the Ngong Ping Cable cars we were met with hundreds upon hundreds of people all waiting to do the same thing! There was a festival on of some kind. Lily fell asleep in Calle’s arms waiting.  Zane was really well behaved considering the wait.  Almost 2 hours later we got onto the cable cars…
It was an amazing ride! 5.7kms of stunning views – Tung Chung Bay, Hong Kong Airport, Lantau country park and the Tian Tan Buddha.  When you come past the mountains and see the big Buddha it is very impressive.

This is the best pic of us - haha!! Imagine the others!

Imagine walking this!

Breathtaking views

We wandered through Ngong Ping village, with a detour for the kids to play on a jumping castle, up to the foot of the Big Buddha.  There are 268 steps to reach the lotus platform upon which the Buddha sits – it reminded me how low my fitness level is and that I really should remedy that! We all made it up eventually and gazed up in awe at this magnificent statue.

Not sure what is up with Lily, Zane displays the overused peace symbol!

The Tian Tan (Alter of Heaven) Buddha is a 34 metre tall bronze statue, weighing 250 tons, surrounded by 6 smaller bronze statues “the Offering of the 6 Devas”.  It took 12 years to plan and build the bronze Buddha statue, symbolizing the stability of Hong Kong, prosperity of China and peace on earth.

Isn't it just amazing!
The kids took delight in running around the platform and up the stairs. I managed to snap a few photos but they tired of that quickly and it was super windy up there, so after a while we headed back down all those stairs (going down is so much easier!!) and headed over to the Po Lin Monastery.

Temple door and more peace signs!

One of the 6 Deva's - super windy!!

The Po Lin Monastery was first established in 1906 but the Main hall was built in 1970. We are greeted by the strong smell of incense burning and just before we enter the Monastery there is a big cauldron known as the Reunification Cauldron made to commemorate the return of Hong Kong to the Peoples Republic of China.

Reunification Cauldron

We entered the monastery through the main entry, the Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda. This contained the Buddha Maitreya (Buddha of the Future) and the Bodhisattva Skanda, a general that tames all evil & demons. The walls are surrounded by the 4 Heavenly Kings.   I took photos while everyone else hurried through to the main courtyard. Here Zane & Lily were captivated by all the flowers and wanted to stay and rest. 

One of the 4 Heavenly Kings

The court area leads to the Main Shrine Hall of the Buddha.  Stone Lions guarded the entry, and stone carved dragons adorned the supporting columns and bright red lanterns sway in the mild breeze.  Inside the Buddha’s of the Three Worlds are enshrined – Buddha Sakyamuni (of our World) in the middle, Buddha Bhaisajyagura (Master of Healing ) on the left and Buddha Amitagha (Buddha of Unlimited Light and Life Spans ) on the right. The ceiling is adorned in painted frescos.  It is quite stunning, full of vibrants reds and golds. 

The Buddha's of the Three Worlds

Of course none of this was of particular interest to the kids who were starving because we were way past our lunch time so we jumped into a taxi and headed to the beach where we enjoyed a late lunch at The Stoep amidst the pouring rain!! The kids ate their usual – fish and chips for Lily and a burger and chips for Zane, while we enjoyed a variety of meats and fish in African BBQ style.  
We have noticed that rain never lasts long in Hong Kong and it cleared up but was still overcast. The kids really wanted to have a swim, so they stripped off to their knickers and had a great time splashing about till it was time to leave and catch the fast ferry back to Hong Kong Island.
The things you can do when you are under 5

The Beach at Lantau Bay

Facts about the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery from here:

1 comment:

  1. What a stunning place Fiona!!!

    I had to LOL at the kids faces in the photos though. Can't wait to see some of these on some scrapbook pages ;).