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Around some of the world in 180 days

Hong Kong Part 2

HONG KONG | Monday, 13 February 2012 | Views [1286]

It's the start of week 2. The first item is a little excursion out to Lantau Island where there the Po Lin Buddist Monastery, the Big Buddha and the Po Lin Village.

Big Buddha

Lantau Island can be reached from Tung Chung MTR station, which is about as far as it's possible to get from where I'm staying in Tai Po. Once there, most tourists would probably take the 30 minute ride on the Ngong Ping cable car to get to the island. This option is no doubt effortless and with spectacular views of both Hong Kong and Lantau Islands. Unfortunately, the cable is down for 2 months of repairs till April. Guess I should have checked before setting off.

The alternative is a 45 minute journey on a bus. Not wanting to have come out all this way for nothing, I decided to brave the bus. The route is winding and undulating. If you suffer from kinetosis, this is hell. So I just closed my eyes and hope for the best. The views from the bus and it winds it's way up the moutains are absolutately spectacular. Ideal for someone with time to hike or a bike ride. The various signs indicating a gradient "1:8 for 4KM" will no doubt be a deterant to some.

At the bottom of the climb to Big Buddha, you can see why it's so named. It's huge. Something that's obvious even from the bottom of a very steep set of steps to the top. There's an option to pay $25 to get into an exhibition near the top and to get higher up, closer to see the statue. Quite frankly, don't waste your money. Up close, it's difficult to take pictures because the angle is so steep. The exhibition was a waste of time because 1) I can't read Chinese and 2) I can't read Chinese.

This is actually the view from the top of the climb to the Big Buddha. As you can see it was a cool and misty day.

The Peak

The Victoria Peak is one of the highest points in Hong Kong and gives a birds eye view of Victoria Harbour. There's a tram that can take passengers up and down the mountain, a funicular railway with stops along the way. Not sure if the stops were intentional, but it certaining provided photo opportunities. That is assumming you sat on the correct side of the tram, which I was not!

The tram ride is actually optional or even just one way. People were actually walking up, others got a one way ticket up and then walked down.

There's actually an observer deck at the top of the peak. It costs something like $65HK extra and I was too cheap to pay that. Views were still great though:


And people actually live atop the peak.

Also at the top are shops, same as you'd get anywhere else in the world. There's even a Burger King, which was pretty busy and yes, not one customer was Asian. (I was there for the free WIFI)

Ocean Park

Ocean Park is probably the best known theme park in Hong Kong. The whole time I've been in Hong Kong, my aunt had been sorting out food for me. She mentioned she'd never been before. So to thank her for looking after me, I took her to the park and she thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the dolphin and sea lion show.

The park actully has two Panda Bears. At the time, their huge enclose was being upgraded and so they were instead being house in a smaller outdoor enclosure. As you can see below, they were too busy for any good photo shoots:

The park is also split into two parts, the upper part containing most of the rides etc. To reach the upper part, you can either take the train or cable car. I managed to persuade my Aunt to take the latter to give her the experience. I've never seen anyone so frightened by a cable car ride, especially when there was a mechanical faualt halfway across and all the cable cars stopped moving for about 5 minutes. Only a 50 metre drop.

Once you get to the upper part, there's plenty of rides, some of which were down for repairs. Even so, there were still plenty of rides available. The strange thing is,  I do remember really enjoying this sort of thing as a child. It all seems very different now. I guess it was really nostalgia thinking it was going to be really fun again.


Overall, I think I picked the worng month to be doing these things.

Tags: hong kong, lantau island

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