Surrounding Big Buddha.

IIn a failed attempt to locate and access the trail to Sunset Peak, we discovered something beautiful in visiting the Big Buddha and the surrounding area on Lantau Island. Most locals refer to Big Buddha as Tian Tan.

Cows Hang Out On Lantau Island.

On the day that we chose to do this, a protest was announced near the Hong Kong airport, which is also located on Lantau island. Because of this, we decided to take a taxi for transportation to the Big Buddha. On the way, our taxi driver informed us that we would need to take cable cars the rest of the way up the mountain. Unbeknownst to us, these cable cars are rated as one of “the world’s top 10 cable car experiences”. There are 2 choices of cable cars, regular or crystal, crystal seemed to have a glass floor allowing for true 360 degree views. We chose the regular cable car in an effort to not make ourselves sick on the way across the bay and up a mountain. The ride itself lasted between 30 minutes and offered nice views of the area below.

Cable Car to Big Buddha? Hey, Why Not?!

Great Way to Check on Protest Check Points.

Heading Up in Our Cable Car.

It really is a nice ride up the mountain and fun to wave to the people in cable cars going the opposite way and see the people who were hiking on the trails below.

Up, Up, and Away!

Wonderful View From Up Here!

Upon exiting the cable cars at the top of the mountain, we were surprised to see what felt like a small town area. There were restaurants, shops, and even a Subway sandwich shop! We chose to grab subs for lunch in hopes of finding a nice spot along the wisdom trail to enjoy our lunch.

10 Best Cable Cars!!

Love this Sculpture Right Off the Cable Cars

Literally a Ghost Town During Protests.

Heading Towards Buddha.

At this point we heard some of the  park employees informing the Subway employees that they recommend coming down the mountain early as protests may cause delays if they waited to long. After hearing this we decided to abandon all hope for the sunset peak and just enjoy the sites of the area including Big Buddha and the Wisdom Trail.

Had the Whole Place to Ourselves!

Hi Cow Friend!

We walked passed all the shops and museums, theaters etc and chose to head up to Big Buddha first. Apparently there is an option to eat food in the base of the Big Buddha as they offered us tickets but we declined. From this point to the Buddha there are 268 stairs. Not going to lie, we definitely stopped for a few “picture breaks” on the way up.

268 Steps! Count Em!

At the top Big Buddha is most certainly BIG. You can walk the entire way around and enjoy the views of both Buddha and the surrounding scenery. There are restrooms at the stop for a quick pit stop and entry points that take you to what we believed to be where the food was served.

One Of the Biggest Buddhas We’ve Ever Seen.

Jess for Scale.

We spent time walking around and taking in the views and then decided to head back down. Going down 268 stairs is way easier than going up! Of course at the bottom there’s a small gift shop.

Side Buddha.

Other Side Buddha.

Back Buddha.

View From Buddha.

Other View From Buddha.

Heading Down from Buddha.

After Big Buddha we decided to follow the signs and venture to the Wisdom Trail. You can read about that here.

Wisdom Trail.

We gave ourselves a time limit to spend at the top of Lantau Island before we wanted to turn around and make our way back down. We knew we wanted to head down while it was still light out incase we had any issues with the protests. We had also only bought one way cable car tickets since we thought we were hiking to a different point so we needed to allow time to work this out.

Lots to Explore Up Here.

Walking back through the small town, it seemed like there were even fewer people than before which seems not possible. We stopped in one very cute gift shop and by the time we came out it seemed as though we were the only ones left at all. We heard an announcement about the last cable cars leaving so we headed to the ticket booth as quickly as we could. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t allow us to buy another ticket back down as they were worried about protestors in the train stations at the bottom.

Like a Ghost Town.

Luckily, we found one single taxi that was driving around the parking lot, our saving grace! He drove us down that mountain as if we were in The Fast and The Furious and we laughed the whole way as our little sweaty butts slid across that leather seat. We didn’t have enough Hong Kong money left so the driver was kind enough to walk Jess into a hospital, find and ATM and help her use it. Successful trip to visit Tian Tan, indeed.

Bye Buddha.

Moral of the story, your plan for the day might not always work out but there’s always another adventure to be found!

Key details: 
  • Cable Car to Top is $160 HKD for One Way Ticket
  • Plenty of Restaurant Choices at the Base of Big Buddha
  • Plan Extra time for museums, films and shops below Big Buddha
  • Watch out for wild cows

More Hong Kong Fun Below:

Hiking Hong Kong – Dragon’s Back Trail

Shopping at the Jade Market

Laser Light Show

Wisdom Trail


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