Po Lin (Precious Lotus) Monastery
- The monastery has one of the biggest bronze statues of Buddha in a sitting position in the world.
- There is a footpath called Wisdom Path for those who want to chant the Heart Sutra in Chinese.
- The monastery is a large and active Buddhist monastery.
- The vegetarian meals are delicious.
- If you wish to do some hiking, you can follow the Wisdom Path to the start of a trail that goes up to the top of the 2nd highest mountain in Hong Kong.
The main distinctive features of this Buddhist temple are the Po Lin Monastery itself that is very active and serves delicious vegetarian meals in big portions, the very large Tian Tan Buddha that was constructed of bronze plates with an internal steel supporting framework and sat on a hill, and the Ngong Ping plateau that is about 520 meters（1,706 feet）high from which people can see good views of the island. It is near Lantau Peak and hiking trails if you want to do some hiking, and it is one of Hong Kong's most popular Buddhist temples.
Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha are both on a plateau called Ngong Ping. The Tian Tan Buddha is 34 meters tall (about 37 yards) and sits on a base on a hill. It is one of the biggest sitting bronze Buddhist statues in the world. The statue faces north-east towards Beijing. There is a stairway with about 260 steps up to the top of the hill. To reach the Ngong Ping plateau, you can take a tram. There are three kinds of tram cars to choose from. Tourists generally think that the glass-bottomed one is the best choice for the price since people can bypass long lines of Chinese tourists and the view is better
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Po Lin (Precious Lotus) Monastery was originally built by monks in the early decades of the 20th century. During the 1980s and early 1990s when China's labor costs were much lower, the bronze parts and internal steel framework were manufactured in China, and the Tian Tan statue was set up in 1993. It is called the Tian Tan Buddha because the base looks like the base of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Until about two years ago, it was the biggest sitting Buddha. During the last two decades, enormous bronze statues of Buddha have been erected in several sites in Asia, partly to attract tourists.
- See the Buddha.
- See the scenery.
- Go to the nearby Ngong Ping Village that is a theme park with tea houses, entertainment, shops and Buddhist attractions. It closes at about 6 pm every day.
- Have a meal.
- Walk on the Wisdom Path and see the wooden pillars with Chinese characters that describe the "Heart Sutra" chant. The Wisdom Pat is about a 15 minute walk away from the statue.
- Walk on the trails branching off the plateau. One goes to Lantau Peak.
On Ngong Ping plateau near Tung Chung and Mui Wo on Lantau Island. Lantau Island is a big island west of the main urban area.
How to go there
Most visitors enter Lantau by ferry from Central to Mui Wo or by road or rail to Tung Chung, the new town that developed concurrently with Hong Kong International Airport on the adjoining Chek Lap Kok Island.
Buses: New Lantau Bus Company provides the following buses to Ngong Ping from Mui Wo ferry pier (Bus 2), Tung Chung (Bus 23), and Tai O (Bus 21). New Lantau Bus Company's buses to Ngong Ping and the Buddha from Tung Chung run from the bus station behind the Citygate shopping centre on Tat Tung Road.
The bus station is also next to the escalator leading to a footbridge and the Ngong Ping 360 cable car which is another way of getting to Ngong Ping and is a tourist attraction itself.
- Po Lin (Precious Lotus) Monastery: 9:00-18:00
- Buddha: 10:00-17:30
- Vegetarian cafeteria: 11:30-17:00
- Ngong Ping Village: about 10:00-6:00 every day.
The vegetarian meals are available at the monastery.
Lantau Island is Hong Kong's biggest island. The other main destinations on the island include Hong Kong Disneyland and Tai O. Hong Kong Disneyland is like the other Disneylands in the world, and it is the smallest of the Disneylands. Tai O is a small town on the northwestern shore of Lantau Island. It is about 7 kilometers away from the monastery area along Tai O Road. There are houses on wooden stilts that seem out of place and out of time. In the town is the Taoist Yeung Hau Temple that has a history dating to 1699 and is a "Grade 1" preserved building. There is also "Grade 3" Old Tai O Police Station. A "Grade 1" building is considered among the most important to preserve. There are hiking trails in the area.
Over half of Lantau Island is park and jungle, and you can hike freely on the trails. There are no large animals, but you can find some solitude. It is an ideal place for hikes along the sea, on the beaches, or on the small mountains. You can find campsites, hostels, and uncrowded beaches.
Lantau Peak is close to Po Lin Monastery. Hiking to the peak is one of Hong Kong's most popular hikes. It takes a few hours to climb. The peak is 934 meters (3,064 feet) above sea level. Take water with you and be careful.
How to get there
- Visitors can first take the Tung Chung Underground and get off at Tung Chung Station (it takes about 35 minutes from Hong Kong Station to Tung Chung Station), and then transit to No.23 Bus of New Lantau Bus Company to Ngong Ping (the journey takes about 50 minutes).
- There are new ferries to Mui Wo at No.6 Port of Central around the Star Port and outside the Hong Kong Station of Airport Express Line (it takes 40 minutes by the high-speed ferry but 60 minutes by the common one). Then at Mui Wo, visitor can take No.2 Bus of New Lantau Bus Company to Ngong Ping (the journey takes about 50 minutes).
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I updated this article on March 17, 2013
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