This time we traveled to India by Cathy Pacific airlines. While coming back we decided to take a quick trip to Hong Kong to utilize the 16 hour long stop-over. Before we started our journey from India, my husband and I searched for any guided tour in Hong Kong. We had not much time in our had to explore the country by our own. Moreover, we didn’t want to travel a lot, just wanted to have glimpse of a place new to us.There were several of them, and we chose the one with less time, because, specially I didn’t want to take much strain. So, we decided to take the Lantau tour. Lantau tour was only 5 hours long, so we could have plenty of time to have rest at the airport. Basically, Lantau was the island where the Hong Kong airport was situated. When I saw the pictures of the island on Internet, I really fell in love with the island. As it was guided to tour, we didn’t have much to think about it or plan it. The tour-bus picked us from Regal Hotel adjacent to Hong Kong airport at 10:00 in the morning, local time. Here, I must mention that , getting visitor’s visa was extremely easy. The immigration area, was in fact totally empty when we went there, we just gave our passport and got 15 days visa instantly.
We waited at the Regal Hotel lounge for few minutes to board the Splendid Tour Bus. The area near the airport was little bit congested. The tour guide told that, the tall buildings near the airport we could see was the only part of Lantau Island’s residential and commercial area. Only five percent of the land was used for housings and businesses, and rest of island was green and didn’t invaded by humans. The commutation was easy as the part was connected with the mainland with railway and ferry. And the railway was just five minutes from the residential area. People there had to pay for the convenience they were using. A 900 square feet apartment cost one million US dollar!!
|The million dollar homes|
Soon we passed the big tall buildings, and our bus hit the road amid dense forest. It was Saturday, so the roads were almost empty. However, on weekdays, the scene were totally different. Traffic jam was a big problem in this small island. Anyway, our first stop was Upper Cheung Sha Beach.
|Upper Cheung Sha beach|
When we reached there, the beach was almost empty. It was little cloudy and it was a very quiet morning with pleasant breeze. We have very less time in our hand, and we also not ready with our beach equipments. Though my son wanted to run on the damp sand , I resisted him to do so. We didn’t have slippers with us, and I didn’t want to make our feet as well as the shoes dirty. We had another 15 hours journey ahead, and it was next to impossible to stay with dirty feet for almost a day. So, instead of taking a beach walk, we
walk along the sidewalk to see the beautiful green landscape, with narrow yet clean hilly roads.
Our next stop was HongKong fishing village. It was an awesome experience. Our tour guide, guided through the narrow by-lanes of Hong Kong’s large dry fish market to the fishing village. Surprisingly I didn’t get any smell in the fish market. I myself can’t tolerate the smell of dry fish. The boat ride was awesome. That was not any luxury boat. That was a small speedboat, where you can only sit on some humble seats, you might get drenched with the big splash of water hit the boat when it tried to maneuver. The main attention of the fishing village was Tai O stilt houses.
Those were the homes of Tanka community people who built their houses on the tidal flat, and they were living there for ages. The small stilt houses were interconnected. The stilts were made of a special kind of wood, where no barnacles could grow, and the woods didn’t damage in water.
The small houses showed how much humble the villagers were.They seemed very happy in their little cozy homes. Some of the houses were nicely decorated with potted plants. After the short tour on water, our tour guide took to 600 years old temple,called Hau Wong temple. Legend said that, it was constructed to commemorate the Hau Wong Yeaung Leung-jit, a Chinese general who helped the king to escape from the hands of invaders by refuging in Kawloon. It was a small temple. The temple started of very small, gradually the area was increased.
|Hau Wong temple|
The name of the people were inscribed on the walls of the temple, who helped to build it. We were told that we could light the incense to wish. We did that. From there we started our journey again towards Giant Buddha. The scenic journey on the bus took us up a meandering mountain road to Ngong Ping Plateau, where the majestic Tian Tan Buddha , popularly known as Giant or Big Buddha sat near the Po Lin Monastery. The statue was more than 111 feet high, making it the world's largest seated, outdoor bronze Buddha. Two kilogram of gold was plated on the two cheeks of Buddha. I heard that in the beginning, everyone laughed, because 2 kilo of gold is nothing to the comparison of the size of Buddha. However, our guide told that, when the statue was illuminated at night, the gold plating on the cheeks gave an eternal beauty to the statue. While we were traveling on the narrow mountain road towards the statue, we could see it from distant looking through the woods. As we gradually approached to the monastery, we could see the giant statue. It was so big, that we faced difficulty to see the entire statue , when we stood at the foot of the statue. Then we went inside Po Lin monastery .Our tour guide told us about the monastery, the monastery was relatively new. There were three life sized pictures depicting from birth of prince Siddhatha to the birth of Gautama Buddha. Those pictures were painted by a monk from Sri Lanka, and he gifted them to Po Lin Monastery. The guide told us many facts about the monastery and Buddhism, but unfortunately I couldn’t remember them. One thing I came to know from him that, laughing Buddha, is actually not original Buddha, he was one of the disciple of Lord Buddha. We had a delicious vegetarian meal inside the monastery.
Then we went to take the cable car tour to return to the airport. The joinery was over the scenic, unperturbed mountain of the Lantau Island. By sitting on the cable car we could see the vast greenery of Lantau Island. Amid the forest, somewhere there were trails, and people were hiking through the forest. When the cable car was moving upward it was fine. However, I was scared when it was about go downwards. I closed my eyes in horror. But, no, the car moved in same pace, didn’t move like the roller-coaster. It was long ride over the scenic mountain. Lastly it crossed the ocean, to land near the airport. The scene was just beyond my words to describe, when I the forest meeting the sea.
|Cable car tour|
Anyway, that was the endif our tour, but I would remember it forever. I got immense pleasure in that 5 short hours.