Lan Tau Island (Big Buddha, Ngong Ping 360, Po Lin Monastery)


Heading out of the city towards the more natural side of Hong Kong, a good recommendation is Lan Tau Island. Hong Kong International Airport is located on this island. But rather than taking the train, bus, or taxi, you can enjoy an astonishing ride on the Ngong Ping 360, a 25-minute ride along a 5.7 km ropeway that will show you a completely different side of Hong Kong. The natural, serene side of Hong Kong is not so well-known to tourists, as the hustle and bustle of the city shadows the habitual side of it. With the choice of a normal cabin, or the crystal cabin - a cabin that is equipped with a transparent glass floor for the brave-hearted - a round-trip ride on the cable car costs 115HKD per person, but there are also many packages you can choose from, as they offer different attractions for different people.

Once you arrive at the Ngong Ping Plateau, you will have to decide on the route that best suits what you would like to accomplish during your short stay here. There are a few big must-see attractions. First is the Po Lin Monastery. Built in the early 1900's and known as "The Sacred Place for the Buddha in the South", this monastery features a Mahavira hall and a Heavenly King hall built over the last century. Before it became a huge tourist attraction, this Monastery was a secluded area where monks and priests were able to live and practice Buddhism. They are currently building a new attraction within the monastery, which will feature 10,000 Buddha statues as well as a Buddhist Scripture Library and a Dharma Hall. Moving onto the South West part, you will find the Big Buddha, with 268 steps that will eventually take you to the world's largest outdoor bronzed statue. The statue is a astonishing 85-foot high and with the Muk Yue Shan that it sits on top of, totals up to 6,547m2 in size. Many people come to the statue not only to check off one of the "must-do" in Hong Kong, but also to enjoy and acquire inner peace with the kind smile of the Buddha, that somehow leaves your heart and mind with a serenity and quietness rarely acquired in the city. Inside the Buddha, there is also a three-story high exhibition that features a few Buddhist items.

In between the Po Lin monastery and the Big Buddha is the Wisdom Path, where 38 giant wooden columns that are 8-10 meters long, all arranged in a ∞ symbol, which represents boundless splendor and infinity. The words on the wooden columns are of the Heart Sutra, which are centuries-old prayers practiced by Confucians, Taoists and Buddhists. This is also another recommended place if you would like to find peace and serenity during your trip in Hong Kong: Wong Tai Sin Temple (Kau Cim, one of the most famous temples in Hong Kong).

Chinese New Years (Red pockets, family gatherings)

Chung King Mansion (cheap accommodation, ethnic minorities such as South Asians, Middle Eastern, Nigerian, ethnic cuisines, foreign exchange)

Temple Street- fortune tellers, antiques


Distinct facts/ culture of HK:

1. Star Ferry - has been serving Hong Kong for a long time; it used to be one of the major public transports between Kowloon side and Island side, but due to the efficiency of the MTR (Hong Kong Subway), the Star Ferry has slowly started to fade out, and no longer serves the same purpose. Yet, it still remains to have its own position in Hong Kong, as it demonstrates the great history of the city. Moreover, at night, the Star Ferry becomes the most romantic place for couples to go to at a very low price, whose passengers will be surrounded by stunning lights and all of the tall buildings, as they relax and enjoy Hong Kong. 

2. Rugby seven - HK is well known for its financial importance in the world. Its athletic side has always been overlooked. Yet, there is one sports event every year that receives world attention: HK Rugby Seven. Sevens is one of the most followed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific. Each year, different teams in the world will come all the way to Hong Kong to show off their skills in the Hong Kong stadium. Thousands of people, all coming from different places in the world, supporting different teams, cheering, drinking and partying hard. By the end of the day, everyone has a beautiful smile on their face, and this is the true International Day of Hong Kong.

3. Lan Kwai Fong (LKF)