Over the past couple years, giant Buddha statues have become a must-see in our travels. The Great Buddha of Kamakura, the massive Reclining Buddha in Bangkok, and now the Tian Tan Buddha of Lantau Island.
I have to admit, I felt a little cheated when I learned that it was built in the 1990s, but the impressive size made up for it. At 112 feet tall, it can be seen from Macau on the Chinese mainland, about 25 miles away.
Within a minute of stepping off the bus in Ngong Ping Village, a group of fellow tourists stopped to take a picture of what appeared to be some average looking trees. We wondered aloudーas we often doー”what is that a picture of?” We took a couple more steps and saw what the fuss was all about.
Near the entrance to the village, this lone cow rested in the grass, then took a leisurely stroll down the path for some lunch, seemingly undisturbed by the visitors. Lantau Island has several feral cattle and buffalo who appear to be embroiled in a turf war with residential developers.
There are 268 steps leading to the base of the statue, where a museum allegedly houses some of the remains of Buddha himself, Siddhārtha Gautama.
Six bronze statues called The Offering of the Six Devas surround the Buddha, symbolizing the Six Perfections required for enlightenment.
At first, the Tian Tan Buddha didn’t seem any bigger than the Great Buddha of Kamakura, but apparently it’s three times taller. And, it’s about 20 times taller than Viktoria.
We bought some postcards at one of the shops in the village. the shopkeeper was wearing this Columbia t-shirt that read “Oregon Rules.” We explained that we were from Oregon and he got a little sheepish, admitting he’d never visited and just thought the shirt looked cool. He was right!
More Photo of the Day posts from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Vietnam