In Hong Kong, there are a lot of different place to visit to escape the busy Hong Kong life, while still in Hong Kong. Just a few steps or MTR stops away, you can find very quiet tranquil places that tourists go to to experience religious culture and serenity. I always wanted to visit a peaceful place, where I could escape from UST and to see more of Hong Kong at the same time. Hong Kong has many places where you can go to find peace and quiet, such as the beaches during the day near UST or the garden parks that are scattered around the city. It’s not hard to find them and when you do it is a great experience.
Before I came here, I was told I had to visit the Big Buddha because it is a must when visiting. My friends and I planned to go to the Buddha to visit and make a whole day out of it. We had to get up bright and early to go to the Big Buddha because it is all the way on the other side of Hong Kong, so taking the MTR would take a while. When we got to the last stop on the MTR, we took a long bus ride up to Ngong Ping, where the Buddha is on Lantau Island. Once we got off of the bus, you could see the Buddha at the top of the mountain, but we didn’t want to start off right away. We walked around to see what was around and to find some breakfast. Once we were finally up for the walk up to the Buddha, we headed that way. Since we got there super early, there weren’t a lot of people, so we were able to get nice pictures. At the bottom of the Buddha, you can look up the steps to see the front and prepare for the steep walk up the steps.
At the Buddha, there are 268 steps that we had to climb to get to the top and boy was it a workout. Seeing all of the elderly people walking up the steps perfectly fine showed us that we have no excuse to walk up the steps. Going up was a bit of a challenge, but we made it. Back home in Philly, I hear people complain about the Rocky Steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All I could think about was if I could do this I could definitely do the Rocky Steps. At the top, the view was beautiful and the atmosphere was peaceful. I really enjoyed seeing people pray to the Buddha once they reached the top because it made the experience a hundred times better. We walked around for a while and took pictures, then made our way back down (which was easier!). After the Buddha we went over to the Po Lin Monastery to see the temples. There were also a lot of people praying there too and lighting incense, which made me feel very calm and relaxed.
After the Buddha, we took a bus to Tai O Fishing Village to see what a traditional Hong Kong fishing village looks like. When we got there, there were a lot of people walking around and shopping. Once you get off the bus, you can smell the water and the fish that is being dried or cooked. Since it has a very strong fish smell, it is not a place for people who can’t take strong smells (i.e. my sister). We walking around and went to different fish shops to see what they were selling and bought souvenirs. Afterwards we ate at a local restaurant and the food was delicious, especially since we didn’t eat for a very long time. Before we left, we took a boat ride to see Tai O from the water and to view the dolphins in the area. I think that since it was getting colder, there were no dolphins swimming around, but it was nice to take the boat ride.
It was a very productive day and we got to see a lot of Lantau Island at the same time. The best part about that day was being able to see the Big Buddha because it is a staple of Hong Kong. I learned a lot more about the Buddhist religion by going to the monastery and seeing the museum inside of the Buddha. Going to the Buddha was an amazing experience and I knew that I had to visit another monastery to experience the tranquility again.