The Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong is truly spectacular. But the real adventure here is not the destination, but the journey. The Tian Tan Buddha and Ngong Ping 360 is an experience you do not want to miss!
The Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong is the largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha in the world. He weighs 202 tons and is about as tall as a 10 story building. He is seriously an amazing sight to see, but what makes the experience even more awe-inspiring is the journey to get to him. Ngong Ping 360 is one of the longest and most noteworthy cable car rides in the world. Sailing over the mountains and ocean in a glass bottomed cable car? This is definitely a must-do adventure for your bucket list!
The Tian Tan Buddha sits at the top of Muyu mountain on Lantau Island. To get there, we began our journey in the Tung Chung Town Centre. That is where the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride starts. We jumped on a glass bottomed crystal cable car to take us all the way up to the Tian Tan Buddha. (There is also an option to get a car without a glass bottom for those of you that prefer not to look down 900ft beneath your feet.) Ngong Ping 360 is in the top 5 longest cable car tracks in the world, and one of the most unique as well!
It is important to pick a clear day to take this trip, because the views are some of the most spectacular I have seen in my life and you want to make sure you will be able to see them all clearly!
The beautiful views begin immediately after boarding and continue throughout the entire ride. One of my favorite things about this ride is that there is a wonderful balance of city views and untouched nature.
We crossed the Tung Chung bay first. Which was pretty awesome I must say. I do not believe I have ever been on a cable car or gondola ride that goes directly over water before, so this was a little scary but so amazing! And of course looking down through the glass bottom of the car made the experience even more exciting.
The cable car ride takes you over the bay to the Mountains. We enjoyed spectacular views of the South China Sea, the lush rolling hills of Lantau Country Park, and the city skyline. It was amazing. We were able to just relax and soak in the beautiful views.
There is also an option to hike up the mountain to the Tian Tan Buddha. We saw some maniacs attempting this while we were in our cable car. My suggestion? Don’t punish yourself. Take the beautiful and relaxing Cable car journey instead. Just my opinion.
As we got closer, we could see the Tian Tan Buddha at the top of the mountain. He was even more enormous and majestic than I had imagined! He looked… heavenly? I guess that is the best way to describe it. Very surreal and peaceful sitting up on the top of a lush tree-covered mountain. The trees seemed to encompass him and bring peace. And he is so incredibly large that it is certainly mesmerizing to think of how he came to be. Soon, we could make out more of the Po Lin Monastery and the monuments and little town around Buddha. And of course the closer we got, the more the excitement built.
We ended our cable car journey in the village of Ngong Ping on the top of the mountain. And what a cute little village it is! Very quaint, but teeming with life. The village is very easy to navigate and there are signs pointing to everywhere you want to go. And also Buddha is enormous so just go towards him.
It was amazing to see the different views of the Tian Tan Buddha from every point of our journey starting with our first glimpse from the cable car. It is so incredible to me how HUGE he is! The closer you get, the larger he keeps getting. And at a point you cannot imagine just how enormous he is.
I also appreciated very much that the entire village and area around Buddha is beautiful, scenic, and so well kept. I have been to many monuments (Pisa for example) where the town and area around them are rather disappointing. It truly adds to the experience and the monument itself when the surrounding area is rich in culture and well cared for.
In order to get to the Tian Tan Buddha, you must climb 268 steps. They have to make sure you want it I guess. Not super easy (for me at least) but very rewarding!
And THERE HE IS!! So colossal and magnificent. He towers over all, and emits an aura of serenity and protection. It almost feels as if you are directly under the heavens when you stand under him. It is quite surreal.
The Tian Tan Buddha is honestly stunning. But so very interesting as well. His name is representative of the Temple of Heaven, which seems appropriate! And each and every feature on Buddha is symbolic, and bears religious significance. His right is hand raised and in the Mudra (A symbolic gesture) of Imparting Fearlessness. He is indicating with this compassion to save all living beings from their sufferings. His left hand rests with his palm up on his lap with his fingers pointed slightly downward. This is the Mudra of Fulfilling of Wishes. With this, he is granting blessings and happiness to the world.
These are only two examples of the well thought out and positive nature of the beautfiul Buddhist religion, and their incredible Tian Tan Buddha. Every feature bears significance, down to his eyebrows. And all symbols channel the power of positivity and light that the world has to offer.
Around the base of the Tian Tan Buddha, there are six beautiful Bodhisattvas. The collection of statues is called “The offering of the six Devas”.
These symbolize living beings that have attained enlightenment but refrain from entering Nirvana in order to save others and guide them to enlightenment. The six Bodhisattvas each offer one of the six “perfections” that are necessary for enlightenment. These are: Generosity, Ethical Discipline, Patience, Enthusiastic Perseverance, Concentration, and Wisdom. They are truly as beautiful, intricate, and tranquil as Buddha himself. (But on a much smaller scale.)
Now for a visit to the Po Lin Monastery. The Monastery is a short walk from the Tian Tan Buddha, and is certainly worth the extra little hike. The architecture and ornamentation is extraordinary. And if you’re into incense, this is the place for you.
The Monastery consists of several buildings and courtyards. Every inch of it is meticulously designed and ornately decorated. I didn’t take many pictures inside out of respect, so you will just have to go see for yourself! Believe me, it was incredible. So much gold!! And more Buddhas, different ones large and small. I was fascinated by them!
And there you have it! Yet another incredible experience to for your bucket list. The Tian Tan Buddha, Ngong Ping 360, and the Po Lin Monastery combine to make this experience truly one of a lifetime. I hope you found some enjoyment (and maybe even a little inspiration) from this post, and I would love to hear about any other experiences with the Tian Tan Buddha!