Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, and Wisdom Path

This week we’re continuing our quest to get on top of all the trips I’ve done but not written up yet by jumping back to October when I hiked up to the Big Buddha with another friend of mine, we’ll meet her again in Shenzhen whenever I get round to writing that up.

Now you may ask why Hike when theres a Cable Car up to the top, and besides my being poor and not wanting to spend money on that kind of tourist trap I am not exactly a fan of heights. This may seem odd considering I live in the city with the most skyscrapers but I made the decision to come here before realising what exactly i’d actually done, also hiking meant more and better pictures which is always a bonus for this photography blog.

The start of the trail up to the Buddha

Once we had met up at the nearest MTR station (Tung Chung) we walked to the start of the hike, here, in this lovely, quite, remote village. At this point we started the ascent passing by some very nice monastries on the way as well as the view over Hong Kong, or what you can see of it through the fog and clouds. I have to say that the concrete structures, with their pale pastelle colours and off-white, poking through the greens and blues of the jungle, juxtapose so well and create the unique atmosphere of Hong Kong

A view of Hong Kong highrises

The temples along the way are amazing, such unique buildings, in the middle of nowhere on the side of a hill, with a low murmur from the monks inside, just standing there and enjoying the calm for a few minutes

Buddhist Temple on the way to the Tian Tan Buddha

After a few minutes of sitting around and enjoying the atmosphere we continued walking, heading further upwards towards the Wisdom Path. The Wisdom Path is a series of 38 upright pieces of wood in an infinity symbol with the Heart Sutra carved into them. The wisdom path is surrounded by mountains and the jungle we’ve just hiked through with a view over the ocean

Wisdom Path Carvings in front of a foggy mountain

After this we finally walked the last 10 minutes to the Buddha, passing through an abandoned tea plantation which lies just before the Tian Tan Buddha. This trip was not particularly long after Typhoon Manghkut, so we had the added benefit of that desctruction to add to the eerie feeling of the long abandoned cafe’s, youth hostels and whatever else has been left to crumble with the passage of time

Overgrown and left abandoned, nature has taken over whatever once stood here

At that point we were basically by the Buddha, walking along the road from the abandoned village and turning a corner you are immediately greeted to the sight of a big bronze statue peeking out over the trees. Although it is rather impressive in size it was not the highlight of this particular trip.

The highlight was the adjacent Monastery, equal in grandeur to the Buddha, but much less touristy and significantly more pretty as well. The picture at the top of the page is from the Monastery as is the one below. Situated directly next to the Buddha it’s amazingly colourful and oddly serene considering how much of a tourist trap the area is

Once we had seen everything and the light was fading we found the bus back down to the MTR station, taking us down the winding countryside roads back home into Hong Kong

– nikmaxott

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