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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Outlying Ngong Ping, Lantau, Hong Kong, Wednesday, 15 September 2010 3:58am

Today I hopped a ferry to, Lantau, the largest of Hong Kong's outlying islands (Hong Kong consists of more than 200 islands, plus a peninsula from the mainland). Lantau is the other Hong Kong island that I've already been to, since the airport is on it. I could have taken the train back the way I came, but I wanted to get out on the water during the daytime. It was a nice boat ride, but the overcast weather meant that it wasn't spectacular.

In addition to the airport, Lantau hosts the world's largest seated outdoor metal Buddha statue. Or something like that. The list of adjectives is suspiciously long, like they'd named it the largest Buddha statue, but then found one larger made of stone or something, so they renamed it the largest metal Buddha statue, but then found one larger but indoors, and so on. I took a bus up a mountain to see it. It is indeed a large seated outdoor metal Buddha statue. Much serener than the giant statue of Chinggis Khaan on a horse or the giant statues of women with swords in Kiev and Volgograd.

There was some really interesting art in the museum under the statue, including some brush paintings done in realistic styles. Many brush paintings are three-dimensional in a figurative way, with layers receding into the distance, but with individual elements depicted as basically flat within their layer. These had fully-modeled figures.

Oddly, to get into the museum, you had to buy lunch at the Po Lin Monastery and Restaurant. It turned out to be a tasty multi-course vegetarian meal, with lots of mushrooms, vegetables, and textured vegetable protein. In addition to lunch, the monastery had some dragon carvings with lots of character.

After a late lunch, I walked up the Wisdom Trail. And after finding wisdom, I took an aerial tramway back down to the rail station to get back to Kowloon.

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