Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tian Tan Buddha 天壇大佛

Po Lin Monastery 大屿山宝莲禅寺 is one of the largest monasteries in Hong Kong, housing the world' s tallest outdoor seated Bronze Buddha statue ( Tian Tan Buddha). Basically there are 3 methods getting here.

1.) Take MTR (Tung Chung Line) to Tung Chung Station, follow Exit B and take bus No 23 from Tung Chung Town Centre.

2.) Go to Central,walk along Man Yiu Street to Outlying Islands Ferry Pier 6, take the Mui Wo Ferry to Lantau Island then get on bus No 2.

3.) Take MTR (Tung Chung Line) to Tung Chung Station and take a ride of Ngong Ping 360 cable car. We took MTR to Tung Chung Station and bought a round-trip cable car ticket (HKD96) as we regarded this was the less troublesome way at the same time gave us an opportunity to appreciate the scenic vista of Lantau Island from high above.
The skyrail travelled across Tung Chung Bay, Lantau North Country Park & Ngong Ping Plateau. The whole journey took approx 25 mins. From Ngong Ping Terminal, we had to walk for another 15 min, passing by Ngong Ping Village before arriving the entrance for Tian Tan Buddha (Giant Buddha). There was a counter selling coupon for vegetarian lunch near the entrance. Visitors may choose from either deluxe or standard. We opted for standard package and paid HKD60 per head count. Ahead of us, there are 268 steps of staircase leading to the Lotus platform of the Tian Tan Buddha. We took a deep breath and started to move on. Closer to the statue, the feelings of tranquility had increased ever more. The Giant Buddha sits on a lotus throne surrounded by eight smaller bronze statues. He raises his right hand and his left hand is resting on his lap. The coupon for vegetarian lunch we bought at the entrance entitled us a free admission to the three halls beneath the Buddha statue namely The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit, and The Hall of Remembrance. Coming down from the Lotus Platform, it's already lunch time. the vegetarian restaurant was packed with diners. For the past few days in Hong Kong, we had been pigging out like carnivore, it's time for an intenssive detox course.... Stewed mushroom, spring roll, vivid color of sautéed veggie, Ma Po Tofu and etc, this vegetarian lunch was unthinkably scrumptious. I always had a perception that vegetarian food was flavourless with limited seasoning, culinary art of this lunch did change me !

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