Hong Kong – Lantau Island

I’m feeling totally spoiled.  These are my Hong Kong digs:

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My cozy cave below deck; I’ve been sleeping like a rock

Hong Kong is made up of a number of islands, and I’m staying with my cousin Jack on his boat in Discovery Bay on Lantau Island.  I was expecting Hong Kong to be a crazy and crowded city, but I’ve been surprised by how calm and rural feeling it is on Lantau.

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The places where there are apartments are really densely packed though.  If you look closely you can see that each of these are windows.  The sheer mass is kind of overwhelming.

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My first day I decided to check out Tian Tan aka the Big Buddha, which is on Lantau.  There are no privately owned cars on Lantau, or even private taxis!  So I took the bus to another bus to the MTR station to catch a cable car.  At the MTR station they had a take out sushi stand where you could make up your own box of individually wrapped pieces.

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Of course I had to try some, so made up a little box of the oddest ones I could find.

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My sushi selection, 3HKD each, for a grand total of $2.70 US

There are two ways to get to the buddha, gondola or bus.  I was torn because the bus was much cheaper but decided to spring for the gondola.  I’m so glad I did.  The views were totally breathtaking.

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First view of the Big Buddha

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View from Ngong Ping

The gondola brought me to Ngong Ping, a little town next to the Po Lin Monastery and the buddha.  There were 268 steps leading up to the Buddha, and once you climbed them, bronze statues surrounding his base each representing one of the six perfections required to achieve enlightenment.

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One of the Six Perfections

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Big Buddha

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It was hard to get a decent picture of the Buddha, and even harder to get a good Big Buddha selfie, so just imagine my grinning face way too close to you with Buddha in the background.  The view from the raised platform was really pretty though, and you could look down on the monastery.  After the buddha I decided to explore the area a bit, and headed towards the Wisdom Path.  I figured I can use all the wisdom I can get.

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Wisdom Path

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Po Lin Monastery

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Po Lin Monastery had a building called the Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas.  Photography was not allowed in the hall, but it was really stunning.  Glowing with lots of gold, but yet somehow so peaceful too.  You can google it for some images, or I like this one here: 10,000 Buddhas.  I spent a long time there, just taking it all in before heading back to the gondola.

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Afterward, I took the MTR and met Jack on Hong Kong island for a drink.  To get to the bar we had to walk through a mall.  Apparently Hong Kong’s mall scene is just as ridiculous as Singapore’s, but this was our view once we got there.

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Victoria Harbour as seen from IFC Tower

 

I found a yoga studio on Lantau and took a hot class the next morning.  Then I spent $20 on liquids at the nearby supermarket .  Pro tip: you shouldn’t shop thirsty in a place where you haven’t mastered the exchange rate yet.

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View while rehydrating

Jack and I took a ferry to Mui Wo, another town on Lantau.img_2279

I was surprised by the lack of bicycles in Singapore, but apparently they’re rather popular in Mui Wo.  Not only did we find this bike parking lot, but four bike shops and a bike repair stall.

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Jack managed to catch me falling off a rock

 

There wasn’t a whole lot to see or do in Mui Wo so we headed back to the marina to have  a drink while we waited for the ferry.

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Jack and cider

Sunday we took a bus to the Stanley market which is on the southern part of Hong Kong Island.  Again I was surprised by how everything is so pretty and green.

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Repulse Bay (what a strange name for such a pretty place…)

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We had a nice, long, late lunch at a restaurant on the Stanley Promenade.  We took a leisurely wander through the market and plaza and I picked up a couple little souvenirs.  After this relaxing weekend of wining, dining and wandering I’m well rested and ready tackle the craziness of downtown Hong Kong tomorrow.

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