Jenny's Blog

HK: The Big Buddha

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IMG_1004Continuing to restore the memories from unforgettable Hong Kong.

The main thing that makes this place so special and unlike any other is this unique fusion of modern lifestyle and the traditional Chinese culture. The power of the last can be experienced the best in small southern villages as well as in the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.

Tian Tan Buddha is one of the most popular things to see of Hong Kong, so we expected the place to be extremely touristic. Well, yes, more or less it is. But what surprised us is that it still is much more a real spiritual milestone than just a typical sightseeing booklet sight. Attracting pilgrims from all over the world, it remains a religious center and a place of sincere worship and and prayer. Excuse my probable incompetence in the world religions studies; whatever the Buddhist rites are, I am describing what I observed in my own words and feelings.

It is so inspiring to see how people come there to spend their time with what they believe in and they don’t care about tourists; if they want to kneel down in the middle of the crowd of people taking selfies – they do so with no hesitation. And, I mean, remember the pyramids in Cairo, for example. Or all those ancient temples. Used to be spiritual spots as well, didn’t they? But they barely are anything else than just tourists’ sights. No longer they attract anyone as something sacred. Either the religions are dead or the value of the place is lost. Instagram is the religion there now. But not here. Pilgrims mixed with random tourists and even cows make the way to the Big Buddha very exciting.

Po Lin Monastery is very interesting, too. Monks wander around gardens, traditional food is served to anyone, some spirit of appeasement fills one up while taking a walk among traditional Chinese style buildings.

The village nearby is much more touristic. Souvenir shops, American catering and small houses that look like if you were inside some Universal Studios set.

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Getting to the place is quite simple, as any question of transportation in Hong Kong. We took the subway to the Tung Chung station, then there is again a choice between a cable car and a bus. We went there on a public holiday which might be an extreme decision in such crowded city, but all went well and the line lasted just several minutes for us.

Lantau Island is very interesting itself. If you get more time to explore it, definitely visit some of the hidden bays, take a look at one of the longest bridges in the world, check out their huge port and !yay! go th the Disneyland!

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