Lantau Island offers a serene getaway from the sheer hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. It’s incredibly easy to access via express ferry and once there pristine beaches, sleepy fishing villages and lush scenery await. Lantau is Hong Kong’s largest island and offers entertainment for all tastes; from spiritual sites to the Disneyland themepark!
Po Lin Monastery and the Giant Buddha
Sitting proudly atop the Ngong Ping Plateau is the colourful Po Lin Monastery and the largest seated Buddha statue in the world; Tian Tan Buddha. Visitors can hike the footpath around the statue called the Wisdom Path and dine with the monks in the Precious Lotus Monastery, enjoying locally prepared vegetarian dishes and taking a guided tour of the Exhibition Hall. The Giant Buddha statue rises to 111 feet (34 meters) and is a sight to behold on a clear day. This statue was finished in 1993 after 12 years of building and there are 260 steps to reach the foundation platform. The Giant Buddha is officially the biggest, seated, outdoor bronze Buddha in the world and is constructed from 202 separate bronze segments.
Tip – climb the 240 steps right up to the Buddha to get a closer look both at the status and the 3 floors that sit beneath the status; The Hall of Benevolent Merit, The Hall of Universe, and The Hall of Remembrance.
Ride the cable car between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping to get a good look at the statue from the air.
The cable car journey is 5.7 km in total and is a serene way observe the world below and beyond to the South China Sea on a clear day. Travellers can either take the cable car up to the Giant Buddha or travel by coach (I know which I prefer!)
Tai O Village
The Hong Kong ferry will drop you at Cheung Sha Beach which is a short hop to the traditional fishing village of Tai O. The old village is built like Venice, on tall stilts, and the fisherman’s homes are painted a patchwork of colours. Go out for a short ride on a junk up the watery streets of the village or out to see the white dolphins.
Lantau Island Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland is a must, especially if you’re travelling with children or you’ll never hear the end of it. Built on reclaimed land at Penny’s Bay on Lantau Island the resort is built in Chinese style adhering to the feng shui principles. Opened in September 2005 there are 6 themed areas today with all the usual Disney characters and entertainment you’d expect. With an ambitious growth programme in place there will be more events and rides coming soon.
Ride a Junk
A junk is a traditional Chinese wing-like sail boats made of wood that is commonly seen sailing up rivers and streams. Several companies offer rides on a junk that takes visitors on a trip to see the sites from the water. Many of these boats provide food and drink during the voyage and it’s a great way to take in the landscape in a serene way.
Try the local cuisine
Noodles are common and are either put in soup or filled with pork and shrimp and sold by street vendors across Hong Kong. Seafood is really popular on Lantau and is readily available at the restaurants – sidestep the western cuisine and you’ll be in heaven. Da Bau is Hong Kong’s version of fast food consisting of noodles sandwiches and Western food. Dim Sum restaurants serve small dishes or snacks that make up a meal. Order pot-stickers, dumplings, steamed buns, spare ribs and share with the family.