Most people who visit Hong Kong don’t get out of the city. There’s lots of great shopping and food in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, after all. But one of the Chinese region’s best attractions is just a short ferry ride away.
Lantau Island is the biggest island in the Hong Kong chain, with large countryside parks, but barely 100,000 people living there. There’s plenty for tourists to do, though.
The biggest draw is definitely the Big Buddha. Take the bus or the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. The cable car is more expensive, but as you approach you’ll be treated to a great view of the Buddha seeming to sit on the tips of the trees.
The Buddha isn’t old; it was completed in 1993. But it’s been welcomed by visitors and pilgrims alike. Climb 268 steps to three levels of smaller statues.
The Buddha is linked to Po Lin Monastery, a major center for Chinese Buddhism. A highlight is its Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, but you might prefer the quiet treasure of the nearby Wisdom Path, a short walk from the monastery. The path is a hiking trail up toward Wisdom Peak. It’s lined by 10-meter-tall wooden columns with the Chinese version of the Heart Sutra written on them.
Take the bus to Tai O, one of the city’s few remaining fishing villages. The waters of Tai O are good for spotting pink dolphins, but one of the best ways to spend your time here is to walk through its streets of stilt houses and let your mind wander. You’ll think you were in an old 1970s kung fu movie.
And finally, yes, there’s a Disneyland here. Say no more. (T)