Lantau Island, Hong Kong’s largest fabled isle, has many hiking trails for one to explore and conquer – from moderate to strenuous trails that will take about 3-4 hours to make it to the top.
It’s been all work and no play the whole of this week but today’s absolutely splendid; with only a few hours to spare, I took the ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo and made my way to Ngong Ping by bus to visit Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, Wisdom Path, hiked the picturesque Lantau trail and hang with Mark, Kenny, Johnny “Fingers”, Malkey and the gang at “The Wall” by the waters before I almost missed the ferry back to Kowloon. All for good times!
It was a chilly afternoon and I’d worn a sleeveless dress with my Chuck Taylors, but I had a good walk through the spiritual Ngong Ping piazza to warm me up and the 268 steps I had to climb to see the majestic 34 metres high big Buddha was so worth it… set against mountainous terrain and sea views, the Big Buddha seemed so alive! His life-long journey seeking enlightenment is archived in the temple, which really give a humbling depth of character and virtue to the otherwise lifeless bronze sculpture.
Then I hiked up to the Wisdom Path, a series of 38 steles carved with verses from centuries old Heart Sutra; one of the world’s best-known prayers revered by Buddhists, Confucians and Taoists, arranged in a ∞ symbol, to represent fluidity and infinity. The air was bone chilling but the sky was serene, but the verses didn’t make sense to me… if only I could read Chinese!
The sun was ready to set when I started my hike up to Lantau Peak and I didn’t get to finish the trail, but the lush valley was one of breathtaking beauty! I really wished I had an extra day so I could camp out with the other explorers and trade stories and travel trinkets but alas… if you’re in Hong Kong and itching for a hike, be sure to plan your trip to Lantau Peak as early as 4 a.m. for the best sunrise view!