What To See in Hong Kong – Big Buddha in Hong Kong Lantau Island

What To See in Hong Kong – Big Buddha in Hong Kong Lantau Island

If you are wondering What To See In Hong Kong that is a Must, it is the Big Buddha in Hong Kong Lantau Island, also known as Tian Tan Buddha, is an amazing sight to behold! It is so huge that it can be seen from an airplane as it approaches Hong Kong International Airport.

During our last Hong Kong vacation, of course we simply must visit this awesome and magnificent Buddha image! We were really eager and excited about this day trip to the island that also has many attractions such as the Po Lin Monastery, the monastery’s vegetarian restaurant, the Wisdom Path, and more.

At that time, we were staying at Residence G Hong Kong (by Hotel G). It was a very nice Boutique Lifestyle Hotel. We will share about that in another blog post soon. (So do sign up for our newsletter to receive updates)

So, we had to travel from Residence G Hong Kong, which is located in Kowloon, to Big Buddha in Hong Kong Lantau Island.


Getting to Lantau Island

It is very easy and convenient to travel from anywhere in Hong Kong to Lantau Island. One of the most affordable ways is via MTR (Mass Transit Railway).

The MTR has a vast network that can take you to almost anywhere in Hong Kong. Take a look at the map below (click to see a larger version of the map).

What To See In Hong Kong - MTR Map
MTR System Map, source: mtr.com.hk, CLICK to see larger version

The closest MTR station to Residence G Hong Kong, the hotel where we stayed at, is Austin MTR station. After early morning breakfast, we walked along Austin Road to the station.

We took the train on the West Rail Line to Nam Cheong MTR station. Then transit to Tung Chung line towards Tung Chung MTR station. That stop was in Lantau Island itself. You can see the route on the map above.

What To See In Hong Kong - View from MTR train en route to Tung Chung MTR Station that is on Lantau Island
View from MTR train en route to Tung Chung MTR Station, Lantau Island, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

At certain sections of the train route, it went above ground. Nothing spectacular to see, but it was nice to get views of Kowloon as the train sped on to Lantau Island.



Citygate Outlets

At Tung Chung station, there is a mall called Citygate Outlets. Initially, we thought of spending some time there to browse around, and perhaps get some great deals. It is, after all, a factory outlet, supposedly selling stuff at much lower prices.

Tip: Truth about Citygate Outlets – our Hong Kong friend informed us that the product range at this mall is not good. The fashion is not the latest, and the discounts were not really worth it. A taxi driver later confirmed this with us. Apparently the locals know this. Only tourists were in the dark, thinking there are good deals because of the word ‘outlets’, which is supposed to mean stuff at much lower prices. They are not.

After finding out the truth, we decided not to shop there. Still, the mall has a good use though.

The train ride from the hotel was not too long, but long enough. And it may be another half an hour to one hour to Ngong Ping, Lantau Island where Tian Tan Buddha is located. So we took advantage of the nice and clean restrooms there, and had our restroom break.


Ngong Ping Cablecar

What To See In Hong Kong - Ngong Ping Cablecar Station was closed
Ngong Ping Cablecar Station was closed, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

It was supposed to be an entire experience. We had planned and intended to take the Ngong Ping Cablecar to Ngong Ping. That is where Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery and Wisdom Path are located.

Unfortunately, when we reached the cablecar station, we were informed that the entire service was down due to maintenance. We had no choice but to take the bus to Ngong Ping.

We were a little disappointed as we wanted to see how the view as the cable car ‘flies’ over to Ngong Ping. Nevertheless, the main event is the Big Buddha. So disappointment was quickly dissipated by anticipation.


Bus to Tian Tan Buddha

We discovered that the bus to Ngong Ping was bus number 23. But before that, we had to find out how to pay for the bus ticket.

* Tip: Get the Octopus card the moment you start to take the MTR around Hong Kong and Kowloon. It is very useful, convenient and saves a lot of money. When you first get the card, you need to pay HK$50 (refundable deposit) and HK$100 value for use. We were able to use the same card for the bus to Ngong Ping. No hassles.

The queue for bus number 23 was very long. Fortunately, the bus arrives frequently. In less than half an hour, we were aboard the bus, and on our way to Ngong Ping.

The bus ride was not really smooth sailing. Ngong Ping is at the top of a very high hill. The road to there has a lot of sharp turns and many curves that most probably circled the slopes of the hill.

Tip: For those who are prone to air or car sickness, I suggest taking something to prevent that before boarding the bus.


Gateway to Tian Tan Buddha

After some time, we finally arrived! Here is the Gateway to Tian Tan Buddha!

What To See In Hong Kong - Gateway to Tian Tan Buddha
Gateway to Tian Tan Buddha, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

Yesterday, after we arrived, we spent half a day and night at Kowloon. And what a difference Ngong Ping was to Kowloon!

There were vast open spaces with lush greenery that filled the landscape at Ngong Ping. In contrast, there were tall and short buildings that covered every area in Kowloon, thinly separated by narrow roads.

At Ngong Ping, I could actually feel my soul breathe.

Tip: From the Gateway, it is awesome to see the Tian Tan Buddha sitting high on the hill. A sight you will never forget. Take a few moments to soak it all in.

At the Gateway, we could see the monumental Tian Tan Buddha! (top right portion of photo above) Here is another photo of the Big Buddha as seen from the Gateway.

What To See In Hong Kong - Tian Tan Buddha seen from afar, from Gateway
Tian Tan Buddha seen from Gateway, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

The Bodhi Path

Before reaching the actual Big Buddha image, there was a Bodhi Path that led to it. When we were there, and because the weather was also quite warm, the path looked really long. But it actually was not.

Also, it was fun to spend a little time along this path. There were 12 Divine Generals placed along the pathway.

What To See In Hong Kong - Bodhi Path that leads to Tian Tan Buddha
Bodhi Path that leads to Tian Tan Buddha, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

Tip: Did you know that each of the 12 Divine Generals represent an animal in the Chinese Zodiac? Find yours, and take a photo with it!

The one below was the Divine General for those born in the Year of the Rabbit.

What To See In Hong Kong - Divine General for those Born in the Year of the Rabbit
Divine General for those Born in the Year of the Rabbit, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems


The Long Stairway to Tian Tan Buddha

And then … the long and steep flight of steps to Tian Tan Buddha.

268 steps!

What To See In Hong Kong - 268 Steps to Tian Tan Buddha
268 Steps to Tian Tan Buddha, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

Sounds exhausting?

Well, it was the climb we had to take in order to get a closer view of the magnificent statue, and to enjoy the sweeping scene of the mountains and seas.

Let’s go!

Tip: Oh wait! At the bottom of the steps, there is a booth that sells Meal Tickets. These are tickets to dine a set lunch at the nearby renowned Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant. A Deluxe Meal is priced at HK$128 per person (as of March 2014). Choose the Deluxe Set Meal. You won’t regret it. And purchase the tickets here at this booth at the base of the steps. Reason: You get FREE admission to the museum when you reach the Big Buddha. The artifacts, relics and art pieces are worth viewing.

At the bottom of the steps and along the way up, there were many Incense Burners, Lamp Posts and mini Pagodas.

What To See In Hong Kong - Large Incense Burner at Foot of Steps to Tian Tan Buddha
Large Incense Burner at Foot of Steps to Tian Tan Buddha, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

Beautiful, isn’t it? Look at the intricate details. Here’s another one.

What To See In Hong Kong - Large Incense Burner along Steps to Tian Tan Buddha
Large Incense Burner along Steps to Tian Tan Buddha, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems
What To See In Hong Kong - Large Lamp Post along Steps to Tian Tan Buddha
Large Lamp Post along Steps to Tian Tan Buddha, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

Tian Tan Buddha

We finally reached Tian Tan Buddha!

The gigantic Tian Tan Buddha is made of bronze. It took 12 years to build, and was completed in 1993. It is 34 metres tall and faces north. This direction was specially chosen so that the Big Buddha looks over all the Chinese people.

Why was the statue named Tian Tan Buddha?

Its base is a model of the Altar of Heaven. Also, known as Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, which is the Temple of Heaven that is located in Beijing.

We hope everyone receives blessings when they see the images here of Tian Tan Buddha!

What To See In Hong Kong - Big Buddha Blesses Everyone
Tian Tan Buddha Blesses Everyone! © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

The right hand of the statue is raised. This represents the removal of affliction. The other left hand rests on the lap. This is a gesture of generosity.

What To See In Hong Kong - Big Buddha - view from another angle
Another angle of Big Buddha, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

The Museum

Beneath the statue, there is a Museum. It comprises of 3 halls – the Hall of the Universe, the Hall of Benevolent Merit, and the Hall of Remembrance.

There were many floors of ancient relics and Buddhist items on many floors. We even saw an Anita Mui shrine. But more significant was the relic of Gautama Buddha, the alleged cremated remains. That is what this Museum is renowned for, and why most people visit it.

It was really worth a visit. Take note of the tip given earlier to buy the ticket at the ground level so that you get free entrance to this ethereal and blissful experience.

Unfortunately, no photo taking was allowed. So we have no images to share of the Museum.


Around Tian Tan Buddha

At the base of the Big Buddha, there were six statues of Devas positioned all around it. As we took time to observe them, we noticed that each of these Devas has an item in their hands. They were lifted upwards as if offering them as gifts to Tian Tan Buddha.

What To See In Hong Kong - 3 of 6 Devas
3 of 6 Devas, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

These 6 bronze statues are known as The Offering of the 6 Devas. They are offering flowers, incense, lamps, ointments, fruits and music to Tian Tan Buddha. These items symbolize the 6 Perfections, which are zeal, patience, morality, generosity, meditation and wisdom. All necessary for enlightenment.

What To See In Hong Kong - Another 3 of 6 Devas
Another 3 of 6 Devas, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

The base of Tian Tan Buddha is circular with a large walkway for visitors to amble. Every step we took, we were greeted with really beautiful scenery.

Tip: Take some time to slowly enjoy the breathtaking view. It is truly awesome!

What To See In Hong Kong - Awesome View of Mountains
Awesome View of Mountains, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems
What To See In Hong Kong - Serene Mists On Mountains
Serene Mists On Mountains, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems
What To See In Hong Kong - Po Lin Monastery from afar
Po Lin Monastery from afar, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

After this spiritually lifting experience, we proceeded to have lunch at the famous Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant. We had done some research before we traveled to Hong Kong, and many reviews said the lunch is really good.

We will be posting about this soon. So do come back to visit and read about it, or subscribe our newsletter to receive updates.

See ya soon!



If you have ANY questions about Big Buddha in Hong Kong Lantau Island or Hong Kong, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,

Timotheus

24 Replies to “What To See in Hong Kong – Big Buddha in Hong Kong Lantau Island”

  1. So great I stumbled onto your site. I’ve been researching to visit the Big Buddha but wasn’t sure how to get there and what to expect.

    Thanks for laying out so much useful information. Can’t wait to see the view of the mountains.

    1. You’re welcome Vince!
      We’re happy you enjoyed the article, and found it really useful and helpful.
      Look forward to hearing from you when you experience the Big Buddha!

      Please do subscribe to our newsletter to receive update. 🙂

  2. Amazing information. It’s on my bucket list to visit the Hong Kong area. So interesting. I have been to Europe but Asia is next. Thanks for the great tips.

    1. Oh, this is definitely one of the must-visit places in Asia, Bill. The Buddha statue is huge!
      It’s quite an experience to see it.
      Glad you like the post and tips.
      Please do subscribe to our newsletter to get updates.

  3. You really are so lucky to have seen this. I hope to go there soon, it is definitely on my bucket list. You have given me so much detail I feel as though I could plan my whole trip to Hong Kong from your site.
    I wish you had a picture of the General for the Dragon ( my Chinese sign)
    Oh well I will have to see it for myself.
    Karen

    1. Thanks for dropping by Karen! We are so happy you found this article on Tian Tan Buddha (aka lovingly known as Big Buddha) useful. Plus it had helped you plan your future Hong Kong trip. Do update us when you do.

      Yes, we did not feature all the statues intentionally. It was the plan. To entice our readers to visit the place. 🙂

      Please do subscribe to our newsletter to get updates. 🙂

  4. Wow, have you personally travelled to all these places? I have never been to Asia but I know it would be a great experience. I know many Asian people and I hear great stories all the time. I also love spirituality, and I know that is big in all Asian countries. If you were me planning a trip to Asia… where would you recommend I visit first? Im a nature lover, I live in a busy city already so I would like to go somewhere peaceful and spiritual.

    1. Hi Agnes, thanks for dropping by.

      Yes, I have personally traveled to all these places. And more – Ho Chi Minh City, Batam, Manila, Taipei, Beijing, and more. All Best Places to Visit in Asia. I will be adding my photos and experiences of all these cities soon. I did not post many of me in the photos because I am a little shy. Haha.

      Glad you love spirituality and interested to visit Asia. Hmmm … where to visit first that will have nature and peace and spirituality? That is a tough one. Only because all Asian cities have that. You said it correctly that spirituality is big in Asia. And it is evident almost everywhere you go. For example, Bangkok, although very metropolitan, it has temples almost everywhere. And people are friendly and have strong spiritual beliefs.

      But if it is truly nature + spirituality + peacefulness:

      1. I would give Bhutan the number one spot. It is a little expensive. But worth it! Check out my Bhutan posts – https://asiatravelgems.com/bhutan/best-places-to-visit-in-bhutan/
      2. Kyoto in Japan – lots of nature, shrines, etc.
      3. Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai in Thailand. Smaller cities than Bangkok, and more nature and spirituality here. If you prefer beaches, it is Phuket then.
      4. Hong Kong is fascinating. The city itself is very cosmopolitan. But as you can see, the outskirts and islands are really beautiful, nature sites like Big Buddha, Ngong Ping Village, Wisdom Path (https://asiatravelgems.com/hong-kong/what-to-see-in-hong-kong/wisdom-path/), and more.

      Again, there are many more places in Asia that offers nature, peace and spirituality. The above are just some suggestions off the top of my head.

      Do let me know when you intend to visit Asia. I will be most happy to give you a more thorough list of choices. Also, do subscribe to our newsletter for updates. 🙂

  5. This review makes you want to go. All the monuments are extraordinary. your images put you right there. Realistically I know I will never make it there. It looks to be amazing landscape everywhere. And the backdrop is beautiful mountains. When you think about how long China has been around it has to be a respected awesome place. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Maurice. Your words are so kind.
      Yes, it is a truly amazing place to visit. One of the Best Places to Visit In Asia.
      Never say never. Who knows you might visit some day? Meanwhile, we hope our website can bring Asia’s Gems to you.

      Please do subscribe to our Best Places To Visit In Asia newsletter to get updates.

  6. Beautiful post and pictures, some of which I noticed you took. Travel is on my bucket list, and China looks like a wonderful place to visit.

    1. Thanks Tanya! Most of the photos were taken by me. Only city maps, location maps or train maps are by the respective mapping agencies. Glad you like the photos. 🙂

      China is truly amazing. Worth a visit. So are the other cities in Asia. When you decide to visit this part of the world, do check out our website and find out where are the Best Places to Visit in Asia.

      Please do subscribe to our Best Places To Visit In Asia newsletter to get updates.

  7. Thanks for all this great information. You’ve really made this accessible and exciting and glad I found your site. This will definitely be on my list of places to visit.

    1. Hello Gail! Thanks for dropping by. We’re very happy you found our website useful and helpful. And also happy that we achieved making what we shared accessible and exciting! Do let us know when you visit Big Buddha.

      Please do subscribe to our Best Places To Visit In Asia newsletter to get updates.

  8. What an adventure! Reading about the Citygate Outlets was a little disappointed cause I love shopping. Did you find somewhere else to shop afterwards?

    I love the way you tell the story., makes me feel like I was there. It seemed that you were very organized and have everything planned out and knew where to go. From your story I understood that you had contacts there but did you have a guide also that help you?

    1. Hi Dira, thanks for dropping by. Yes, the Citygate Outlets was a disappointment. We did find somewhere else to shop, and it was so much better. We will share that in future postings. Please subscribe to our newsletter to get updates. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind compliments on the way we tell the story. You hit the nail on the head. The concept we have is to write it such that readers can feel as if they are there.

      Yes, we were very organized. Very sharp of you to notice that. We did not have a guide. What we did was months of research on Hong Kong, where to go, what to do, how to get to these places. And we especially look out for places few people know about. This is one of our uniqueness.

      Once again, thanks Dira! 🙂

  9. Thank you for the detailed descriptions! I have been wanting to visit Asia for a while now, however i must admit there are other places in my queue at the moment.
    Also, great pictures you go there! Are you also a professional photographer?

    1. Thanks Omer, for the wonderful compliments!

      Good to know that Asia is in your queue. Do let us know when you are here? Also, when you are ready to visit Asia, please come back to find out more about Best Places to Visit in Asia.

      And thanks for appreciating the pictures. I am not a professional photographer. I just love taking photos, and do my best to take as best as I can good shots. I have been praised by many, like you, for taking great pictures. Maybe I will start to learn photography, and take better pictures? For now, I simply use my smartphone’s camera to take shots. 🙂

  10. Wow! What a beautiful place. I’ve never really thought about visiting Asia. I lived in Europe for a couple of years and love the Mediterranean but now you’ve got me reconsidering! I loved the part where you said your “soul could breathe”. How beautiful! The pictures of the Buddha and the deva’s are great and I love the history you give behind all of them. That must have been a spectacular day for you! I gotta read about this lunch you had! Oh, I love the tips you give too. Great article!

    1. Hi Jennifer! Thanks for dropping by at Best Places to Visit in Asia by Asia Travel Gems!

      Glad you are considering visiting Asia. When you are ready to come to this part of the world, do visit our website to find more great places to visit and where to enjoy good food. Speaking of which, I hope you did read the lunch we had? It was really delicious! – https://asiatravelgems.com/hong-kong/good-food-in-hong-kong/po-lin-monastery-vegetarian-restaurant/

      And thank you for appreciating our writing, the pictures, and the tips. Yes, the latter is one of our uniqueness at this site, too.

      Once again, thank you, Jennifer! 🙂

  11. Finally I have found a website with all the information that I was looking for.

    I was really desperate in finding an article about Big Buddha in Hong Kong Lantau Island.

    I found everything I needed to know about this subject.

    Thanks for your valuable information!

    1. You’re welcome, Emmanuel. We are glad to be of help.
      Do let us know when you visit Big Buddha and Hong Kong.
      Please subscribe to our Best Places To Visit In Asia newsletter to get updates. 🙂

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