One of Hong Kong’s top sites, the Tian Tan Buddha is a must-see attraction. Visitors will find it on Ngong Ping, Lantau Island where its construction was completed in 1993.
This giant, bronze statue is an epicenter of Buddhism in Hong Kong and symbolizes the relationship between faith and people, man and nature.
It can be reached by climbing a series of stairs. But, the best photos are taken from below. If you’re visiting Hong Kong and want to see the Tian Tan Buddha, here’s what you need to know.
Interesting Facts About Tian Tan Giant Buddha
-The base of the statue is a model of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing (Early Mount of Tian Tan, where it gets its name.)
-It is one of China’s five large Buddha statues.
-The altar it sits on is made of three platforms and resembles a lotus.
-The Giant Buddha is surrounded by six statues which are called, “The Offering of The Six Devas.”
-The Six Devas represent meditation, wisdom, generosity, zeal, patience, and morality.
-It weighs more than 250 metric tons.
-The statue is 34 meters high.
-It was made out of 202 bronze pieces.
-Inside the Buddha is a steel framework that helps support it.
-The statue can be seen from as far away as Macau which is across the bay.
-There are 268 steps leading up to the Buddha.
-Out of China’s great Buddha statues, this is the only one that faces north.
-There are three floors under the Buddha statue.
-There is a relic inside one of these floors that is said to hold cremated remains from Gautama Buddha.
-There is a show room featuring a carved bell with images of Buddha on it. It was made to ring 108 times every day in seven minute intervals.
History Of Tian Tan Buddha
The construction of the Tian Tan Buddha began in 1990 and finished just three years later.
It was strategically finished on December 29th, which according to the Chinese, is the day of Buddha’s enlightenment.
Monks from all around the globe came to visit this statue for its opening ceremony. Some of the most distinct Buddhists came from India, Korea, Japan, mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.
In 1999 the Buddha was featured on the Hong Kong stamp. Over the years, its photo continued to be placed on various forms of currency.
Culture Of Tian Tan Buddha
While the culture deeply revolves around Buddhism, there is plenty to experience for non-Buddhist visitors.
If you happen to be in Hong Kong and want to experience the Giant Buddha, here’s what you can do while visiting:
-Take The 360 Cable Car: This cable car ride is a great introduction to both the Buddha and the island. They have glass bottoms and offer stunning views of the nearby mountains and greenery. You’ll pass over areas of the South China sea which adds to the beauty.
-Visit Ngong Ping Village: This is a great place to get a view of the Buddha from a distance. Plus, it’s a welcomed break from the cable car ride. You can take a few photos, grab a bite to eat, or purchase some souvenirs. There’s also a show here, Walking With Buddha, that will give you a nice history lesson before seeing it for yourself. This is also a great spot to try out a Chinese tea ceremony or have some Dim Sum.
-Eat a Vegetarian Lunch at Po Lin Monastery: Buddhists tend to be vegetarian which makes this lunch spot a great way to experience the culture. The ticket booth to enter the lunch is near the base of the Giant Buddha but prior reservations are recommended. There are plenty of tofu and vegetable dishes as well as a seemingly endless supply of Jasmine tea.
-Po Lin Monastery: Aside from the lunch, make sure to visit the monastery. The architecture and relics are beautiful. Guests can light incense and candles to partake in the traditions.
-Roam The Wisdom Path: It isn’t much of a walk but it’s a great way to stretch the legs and enjoy the scenery. It’s shaded by a canopy of trees and offers views of the Hong Kong skyline.
-Hiking Around Lantau Island: If you have the time, exploring the hiking trails around the island is a great idea. The Lantau Trail will take you all around the island and isn’t overly challenging. It’s quite big so most people hike it in sections.
-Tai O Fishing Village: This historic fishing villages offers a glimpse of what Hong Kong was like before it was colonized. Hop on a boat tour and you’ll be able to see the stilt houses along with the scenic waterway itself.
-Hong Kong Disneyland: Once you finish with the history and culture of Lantau Island, take a day to check out Disneyland. Like every Disneyland around the world, this one doesn’t disappoint. There’s a daily parade and nightly fireworks that you can watch over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Top attractions to visit here include Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point.
-Hong Kong Dolphin Watch: Take a dolphin watching tour to get a glimpse of the Chinese white dolphin. It’s an endangered species, unique to the area and adorable to watch.
Tips For Visiting The Giant Buddha in Hong Kong
-There’s more to do on Lantau Island than you may expect. Give yourself plenty of time or multiple days to see everything.
-Bring a shawl or something to cover your shoulders so that you remain respectful inside the monastery.
-Ask your hotel to make reservations for lunch at the vegetarian buffet. You may be able to get access to the VIP seating area.
-Wear sturdy shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of climbing.
-If visiting with young children, be prepared to carry them if they can’t make it up the 200+ steps.
-Consider taking the cable cars if you want the best views.