Travel Shots: Tian Tan Buddha, Lantau

After recovering from Friday’s birthday celebrations, Courtney, Allie and I turned to Lantau Island‘s Big Buddha and the nearby Wisdom Paths for a lively — and damp — Saturday afternoon.

This is what he’s supposed to look like:

This is what we saw:

Oh hi Buddha, is that you?
Oh hi Buddha, is that you?

It’s as if we were walking through a cloud the entire afternoon. Though we couldn’t make out his face, it was still a great experience to walk up that long flight of 260-some steps and feel on top of the world. Completed in 1993, the 112-foot tall Tian Tan Buddha is based on the Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and symbolizes the harmonious relationship between people, nature and religion.

Encircling the buddha are bronze statues called the “Six Devas.”  They are offering him flowers and incense, fruit and music — necessary to enter into nirvana.

One of the six devas surrounding the Big Biddha
One of the six devas surrounding the Big Biddha

Oddly enough, the weather actually lent itself to the Wisdom Paths, casting an eerie glow onto the outdoor replica of old Heart Sutra (prayers revered by Confucians, buddhists and Taoists).

Obviously, we couldn’t read any of the scripture written on the wooden pillars set in a figure 8 to symbolize infinity, but did appreciate the spooky setting.

Spooky walk through the Wisdom Paths
Spooky walk through the Wisdom Paths

Following our trek through the mountainside, we headed to the best dinner I’ve had as long as I can remember. At Chilli Fagara, they serve beer in bowls and spicy is the key ingredient. The incredible Sichuan-style Chinese food burned our mouths and made our noses run, but from the soft shell crab to chili dumplings, we all agreed the mouth-numbing flavors were a unique experience.

Mmm Sichuan dinner
Mmm Sichuan dinner

We then went back to our apartment for champagne and cake, followed by drinks with friends in Lan Kwai Fong (the equivalent of an adult college campus).  Overall, great birthday weekend in Hong Kong!

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Published by

Kate Springer

Freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong. Contributor at CNN, Forbes Travel Guide, BBC Travel, Fodor's Travel Guide, superfuture, Tatler, and more.

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