A Day on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island

We had an excellent guide for our first day in Hong Kong. Our guide Albert shared information with us about sites we passed as well as life in Hong Kong both before and after the turnover by the British to the Chinese that took place in 1997. Most of the younger Hong Kong residents who fled have since returned, as life did not substantially change under the new communist regime. For the main part, the British governmental, educational, and economic institutions were left in place.

The traffic was heavy, but moving better than it had two years previously when we last visited the city. The infrastructure of the country seems greatly improved. We stopped at a viewing platform near the world’s longest road and rail suspension bridge. The smog obscured our view and discouraged our picture taking, but just seeing the size of the huge cables was impressive.

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We then crossed the bridge on our way to Lantau Island – Hong Kong’s largest outlying island. This bridge links the new, huge airport on Lantau Island to the Kowloon Peninsula. We were impressed with the amount of green space that we saw and other conservation practices implemented to reduce erosion and add color to the landscape.

At Tung Chung on Lantau Island, our second stop was the Tai O fishing village. Local fishing boats were anchored in the river, some containing nets. The majority of homes are built on poles in the riverbanks.

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We walked through the large fish market where we saw dried fish, live fish, crabs, and oysters offered for sale as well as other fish and marine products.

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A small Buddhist Temple in the village has played an important role in the lives of the fisherman living there as contracts signed in the temple must be upheld and completed as agreed.

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From our sea level location, we changed buses and began a torturous drive up into the mountains surrounding the harbor. The shorter bus was hardly able to make the turns and make the steep climb upward. We finally reached our destination, the largest seated bronze Buddha statue in the world. We still had to climb steps to reach the base of the statue that sits upon a bronze lotus flower.

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However, the bus was able to park part way up the final hill and thus we did not have to climb the 256 steps from the bottom. I think we had to climb only about 40 steps both going up and down. The female statues at the base of the large Buddha were lovely and easy to photograph.

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The huge Buddha was not easy to get a good picture of from any angle due to the terrain, the sun’s location, and the relatively narrow base around the elevated statue.

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We had a vegetarian Chinese luncheon and it consisted of several courses served traditional Chinese style on a turntable in the middle of the table. We had soup, the main course consisting of several selections, and then dessert with tea.

We then visited the Po Lin Buddhist Monastery and it was lovely and both of us took lots of pictures.

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Our last experience was to take a cable car down to the foot of the mountain and that was an outstanding experience.
Each of the glass sided cars held 6 to 8 people and was completely enclosed once the doors were shut.

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First we climbed even higher and cleared the crest of the mountain and then began our descent in stages going between massive towers that were the major supports for the structure. We were easily over 1,000 feet or more off the ground as we traveled downward. The scenery was lovely and there was a hiking trail below us part of the way upon which fit and experienced hikers can make the rugged climb in seven hours. It took us 25 minutes to reach the base by cable car. We also saw the new airport, built entirely on reclaimed land that now services Hong Kong.

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We crossed the mouth of the river and could see oyster fisherman wading in the waters below us. All of us remarked many times on how thrilling and beautiful this experience was as it progressed. It will be one of our fondest memories as well.

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2 Responses to “A Day on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island”

  1. How wonderful that you could see the city!! At least the haze was light so that you could take pictures. Beautiful sights. Fond memories of Hong Kong. I would go back in a minute.

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