Lantau Island, the largest island in Hong Kong, is a relatively undeveloped area but what developments exist on it are new, modern and almost comically exaggerated. Located next to the reclaimed island where Hong Kong airport sits, Lantau is home to Hong Kong Disneyland, Inspiration Lake (the largest artificial lake in the city), and leisure resort development Discovery Bay.
Appropriately, the island is also home to the popular Tian Tan Buddha, a giant statue of the Buddha Amoghasiddhi and a replica of Altar of Heaven of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. As culturally significant as that sounds, the statue is a product of modern times; it was built in the 1980s, opening up to the public in 1993. A cable ride called the Ngong Ping 360, which opened in 2005, connects to the statue from the Tung Chung MTR station, offering great mountainside views along the way.
Touristy as the Buddha is, the nearby Po Lin Monastery, established in the early 1900s, serves an excellent prix-fixe vegetarian meal for about $60HKD. Fill yourself up for the long climb up the stairs to the Buddha statue; the meal ticket is also a pass into the museum at the base of the statue (which by itself is free of charge).
Thousands of people visit daily, but Tian Tan Buddha is a place great to explore by yourself. Though there’s not too many places to hide, the mountaintop views and little snatches of solitude amidst throngs of visitors are a rare gem in the otherwise crowded Hong Kong.
Tian Tan Buddha (map)