We started off today with the aim of climbing up to Tian Tia Buddha or Big Buddha as it’s known to English speakers. Milly had heard from one of her sycamores that it was a decent trek which took around 4 hours – something which appealed to us both. One thing that didn’t appeal to me however was doing it without a map.
We got the MTR from our local stop in Chai Wan to Lantau Island where Mr Buddha can be found then took about 2 hours trying to find where we start the trek from. You can then get a monorail (which took 20 mins) across the island to the village where the Buddha is or you can get the bus to the same village (which took 50 mins). Given as we had our hearts set on walking to the thing. Neither of these were an option…. but, given our inability to find a map or someone who could give us any directions to the start of the walk, we settled on getting the bus.
Mills was desperate to include some form of exercise in our day so she asked every person we came across if the bus took us to the bottom of the climb. Nobody had a clue what she was on about and it was hilarious (for me), when she began to sulk because nobody understood what ‘Big Buddha Bottom’ meant.
Anyways, we got to Ngong Ping which is the village where the Big Buddha is. Not what we expected. It looked liked the entrance Alton Towers. Literally thousands of tourists and the place fully catering for them. We were expecting some remote village where one or two hardy tourists could stand and take pictures of a few monks what we got was souvenir shops, interactive Buddha exhibits, ice cream vendors and even a ‘Ride the Big Buddha’ attraction. (God knows what that was as we gave it a wide-bearth). There is a pic of the village below.
A little outside the village there was a path up to a small praying area (which Milly decided to dance around – I’ll post a link to a video of her dancing soon), which housed the Gardians of the Buddha, (pics of the guys in all the glory can be seen below), a number of placid cows, a monestary and the big man himself.
You climb up a few steps to get to the Buddha himself and the view is amazing (see pics), and He himself is pretty impressive. You can even go underneath him we were told! We expected some dark sacred crypt…. We got a fucking gift shop (see pics). We were not impressed. What we expected to start off as something as a pilgrimage to an amazing buddhist right-of-passage, was infact a way to attract tourism money to a remote part of one of the islands. Suffice to say we bought a fridge magnet and left.
We had a little gander around the monestary, which was beautiful in all honesty and the monks were having a bit of a pray and chant (I’ll post a link to Milly joining in with the chanting) and we decided to grab some food from the veggie cafe nearby.
The cafe was sweet and cheap for Hong Kong standards but it was rank (see pics). Sweet and sour something-or-other and dumpling containing brown shit was on the menu. Imagine my disgust when I tooked into the noodles to find a mushroom or 3. What is good enough for the monks is not good enough for me.
We jumped the monorail back to Tung Chung and the views were beautiful.
That night we went to find these night markets which are rebound for being amazing. We had hoped to eat there but at first we culdn’t find them so ended up eating at some proper old-school chinese place. (Why didn’t we learn from the first night?!). The menu is below. After my expericance earlier with the mushrooms, I decided to play it safe and go with king prawns and rice. It was alright but not as good as a good old Timperley Dynasty.
We found the night markets which were massive and busy, but after you’d walked down one isle, you’d pretty much walked down them all. Same old tat over and over. I sound a bit negative here but we actually really enjoyed the venture.
Until tomorrow folks.
Below is the touristy Ngong Ping
This was the food we got 😦
Milly was disappointed in our jaunt to the Buddha
A clip from the lift we took t’uther day