The Disney World of Giant Buddhas

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.

7 Responses to “The Disney World of Giant Buddhas”

  1. heather says:

    Ok, so I was subscribed to RSS feeds from your old site, and finally discovered this one again. I adore your photography. You are amazingly talented.

    I still want you to come and visit, my dear cousin!

  2. i love how he’s just sitting out on the top of a mountain, chillin’.

    we saw an awesome giant buddha in southern japan ( but he is stuck inside a huge temple. i thought he must feel cramped!

  3. Lynn says:

    I loved the Big Buddha, but I loved Tai O even more. I have never taken so many pictures in so short a time: lovely.

  4. lucie says:

    So many sites have become Disney Worlds… i think about Halong Bay. This place is a natural cathedral which is so beautiful… and completely destroyed by tourism, unfortunately (noise, waste, crowd…)

  5. Stephanie says:

    Heather, I still want you to come visit. But if you promise yoga and one of your amazing meals, ok. I’m in.

    Hello ladies! Thanks for visiting!

  6. Josh says:

    I actually found this by googling “Buddhist Disney World” fully expecting Tian Tan to come up. When I visited last weekend, I noticed it did seem too touristy and while it couldn’t get much worse was still a sight to behold – especially with that cable car ride!

    Great photos. I had my Nikon D 5000 and a few lenses, so I will be posting more of my own shortly.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks Josh! You’ve got some great photos of the Buddha. It was really something else, tourists and all.

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