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Wisdom With Sea Views


Arrive at Tung Chung on Lantau Island by MTR or Direct Bus and begin your education in all things Buddha by boarding the Ngong Ping Cable Car for a ride of a lifetime - a 25-minute, 5.7-kilometer (3.5 mi) sightseeing journey by bi-cable ropeway across Tung Chung Bay with a 60-degree turn at Airport Station to North Lantau. You'll have a fantastic aerial view of the Tian Tan Buddha, but more about that later. Be sure to check ahead to make sure the cable car isn't closed for maintenance.


Disembark at Ngong Ping 360, a themed-village built adjacent to the cable car station and the Tian Tan Buddha. One attraction is "Walking With Buddha," a sort of total-immersion multi-media introduction to the life of Buddha. There's also a tea house, a Bodhi Tree Wishing Shrine and food options like a Starbucks, Subway, sushi bar and pizzeria.


Bypass the theme village if you wish and continue uphill to the 34-meter (112 ft) Tian Tan Buddha, the 242.5 bronze statue that is the world's largest outdoor seated Buddha. Completed in 1993, it draws pilgrims from all over the world.


Nearby is the Po Lin Monastery, established in 1906 but until the construction of the cable car largely accessible only to the most devout or curious. The complex has many orchid-filled gardens and a vegetarian restaurant worth noting.


Just to the left of the Buddha, climb the Path of Wisdom, pausing at each of the 38 halved tree trunks on the gentle slope to contemplate even if you can't read the Chinese Heart Sutra (Buddhist prayer). They are arranged in an infinity pattern and offer views of the South China Sea that will aid your meditation.


If time allows, you may want to hike on up Lantau Peak, about a two-hour climb, but there's a hostel in Ngong Ping if you want to stay over for sunrise or consider a longer hike over the Lantau Trail. Otherwise, return to Tung Chung is by cable car. There is also a bus, which takes about 50 minutes.