Just west of Hong Kong and Kowloon is Lantau Island, where you will find Hong Kong International Airport and a big, giant Buddha on top of a mountain. For $99 HK (that’s about $12.75 US), you can take a thirty minute cable car ride over turquoise waters and pristine rolling hills, through the delicate lace of fog to…SMILE!…buy a photo of yourself and several strangers in a cable car!
As far as Disney Worlds of Things That Shouldn’t Be go, this one is actually rather pleasant and tasteful. Yes, you can buy the usual gamut of Giant Buddha tchatckes and stick your head in a hole so that it appears on the body of a Buddhist monk for the amusement of your travel companions. Yes, you can choose from a wide variety of cafés and restaurants suitable to any palette and yes, there is a Starbucks. But this is, after all, the site of a monastery, and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter a Whack-a-Monk or drink beer from a Buddha koozie.
You will, however, climb a lot of steps to a giant Buddha where, if you’re lucky (I was) it is relatively quiet and if you’re still lucky (I was not) the skies will clear and you will have excellent photo opportunities and beautiful views of the ocean.
Last week my friend KyuHee went to Hong Kong, and I asked if she was going to see the Giant Buddha. After a quizzical look, there was a moment of recognition, followed by another quizzical look and and affirmative, “Oh no, I am not gonna go there.” Pause. “I am Korean. I can see Buddha everywhere in Korea!” Point taken. I guess a Giant Buddha is Asia’s giant cathedral. Borrrr-ing.