Buddah's in the mist

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of China  ,
Friday, September 3, 2010

Wow, today has been a really long day!!! We got up early as we had tickets booked on the Ngong Ping 360 (which is a huge cable car that takes you across the Island of Lantau and a village called Ngong Ping). We were running slightly late but we managed to get there in time for our trip at 10:15. As soon as we arrived it started to drizzle with rain. 'Not a problem' we thought and out came the pak-a-mac and umbrella. We got into our cable car and off we went (with a very nice chinese business-man sharing our cabin). The ride over to the village was pretty incredible. It takes about 20-25 mins and the cable car goes so high you think you might get a nose bleed. The ride takes you from the base of Lantau island up through the mountains, over waterfalls and through the trees to get to Ngong Ping village. The village has been built by the people who own the cable car system, however next door is the famous Po Lin Monestry and Big Buddha, Asia's biggest outdoor seated bronze statue of Buddha. But, by the time we arrived at the  village the rain was coming down endlessly and we could only see about 15 feet in front of us because of the mist. We were both slightly disappointed with the Ngong Ping Village. It felt very plastic, with chinese music beig played out of speakers hidden everywhere and rows of shops selling sourvenirs, there was even a Starbucks and Subway sandwich shop! It reminded us both of DisneyLand. We got through the village quite quickly and headed out to the monestry and Buddha, but by now the visabiliy was even worse and we could hardly see anything. We went to the monestry first and headed through the huge stone archway into the grounds. It was absolutly incredible. Neither of us has ever expreienced anything like it. There is incense burning everywhere in huge drums as you walk up to the building, with people leaving offerings of fruit at the different Buddhist statues. As we went up the steps to the Monestry there were people taking their shoes off and going in to pray. When we got to the entrance everything inside was gold and red with huge coils of incense hanging from the ceiling. Tom stayed outside and took photos while I took my shoes off and went inside. The smell was overwhelming and huge chunks of ash fall from the ceiling as the incense coils burn. After we had finished inside we went for a walk around the grounds and found an old monk stood inside a pagoda meditating and chanting. We stood and watched him for a while, it was so incredible! Then he started banging a huge bell and praying to signal the clock turning noon. It was a shame that the weather was so rainy, but with the mist and the vines hanging down from the trees it made that moment seem so magical. We felt so lucky to have been there. Next we moved on to the Big Buddha. We climbed the 268 to get up to the huge platform (we were very out of breath, hot and soaking wet!) but unfortunatly we couldn't see a thing. We circled the statue a few times trying to make it out but it was too misty and we couldnt see anything!
Later that day went over to Hong Kong Island on the Star Ferry to get our bearings. We stayed in Hong Kong Island for most of the night just wandering around and looking at the shops, there are some incredible Herbal Medicine shops selling all types of dried ingredients. We took a ride on the worlds longest esculator (it was as exciting as it sounds!). Then we headed back over to Kowloon to get some tea. It had been raining all day by now and we were sopping wet, so we decided to try the dim sum restaurant that Tom had wanted to go to but when we got there we were confronted with a queue of about 40 people! So, wet and tired, we went to a restaurant around the corner and Tom had dumplings and noodles and I had egg veggie fried rice. Feeling very full we headed back to the hotel and, absoluetly exhausted, fell into a coma-like sleep until the next morning.          
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Niels on

I remember that escalator... thrilling wasn't it? :)
That giant Budda sounds brill, we missed that. I don't think the cable cars existed when we were there.

lisa xxx on

dont fancy the cable cars - mind u im a bit of a wuss with heights - ur both very brave !!
love u loads xxx

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