By Nisha Kutty:
On my trip to Hong Kong, the number of places put down on the “must-visit” list were limited to the innumerable shopping places, the breathtakingly beautiful beaches and of course, the road side restaurants which lure you with their luscious aroma. Beyond the aqua blue waters of the South China Sea, Hong Kong is home to a small but beautiful island named Lantau. Lantau Island is connected to the mainland of Kowloon peninsula and can be reached via bus routes, the ferry and also, the MTR (Underground Metro Services in Hong Kong).
How To Reach Lantau Island?
– By Bus: There are innumerable buses to Lantau Island but they are fewer in number than the ferry rides and MTR trains that comply on that route. There are several buses from Hong Kong Airport to Lantau Island – which is only 5 to 6 kilometres away from the Airport.
– By Ferry: The easiest way of getting to Lantau Island is to take a ferry from the Outlying Islands pier in Central, which lies to the west of the Star Ferry terminal. There are frequent ferries that would take you to Lantau Island – the ferries depart every 20 to 30 minutes to Discovery Bay and every 40 minutes to Mui Wo, which are two of the stops on the Island.
– By MTR services: Metro Rail service is the fastest way to get to Lantau Island. Tung Chung is the closest station to Lantau and special rail services at Sunny Bay are available to take visitors to Disneyland, in the Lantau Island. Tung Chung station is about 25 minutes away from the Hong Kong station and it would cost a person about $18-20.50 (Hong Kong Dollars) per ticket.
The road leading to Lantau Island is studded with opportunities to wrap yourself in the blanket of sheer magical beauty that would surround you. Especially, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride over the mountainous terrain and the wide blue South China Sea. The cable ride allows you to reach the statue of the Tian Tan Buddha, which is the largest, seated, outdoor bronze statue of the Buddha in the world.
The innumerable steps that lead to the statue may seem tiresome to climb but the sanctity of the place would without a doubt coax you to undertake the arduous journey up to the Tian Tan statue – a religious site for hundreds of Buddhists across the world, it also houses a monastery which was founded in the year 1906 by three monks from the Jiangsu province of China. In the main temple building, one can see the three bronze statues representing the Buddha of the past, present and future..
A trip to Lantau remains incomplete without the visit to the Discovery Bay, Tai O fishing village and also, Hong Kong Disneyland. My first reaction at seeing the Discovery Bay is remembering all the Hollywood movies where two lovers find each other in the orb of the clear blue sea and the white sand which encircles them. Lantau Island is inconsequential in size and has only its surreal natural beauty to offer, unlike the other innumerable tourist spots in Hong Kong..
Beyond the deep blue sea, Lantau’s mountains paint a surreal image on your mind – one that leaves a mark for the rest of the days to come. Lantau is a land far away from the hustle bustle of the mechanical island of Hong Kong. Tucked away on the bright shores of Hong Kong, Lantau offers its visitors a box full of memories to take back with them – making it one of the most memorable places you are ever likely to visit in your life.