After landing in Hong Kong, I go straight from the airport to see the Tian Tan Buddha, aka The Big Buddha. Getting to the Big Buddha only requires a ten-minute ride from the airport, followed by a twenty-five minute cable car ride.
During the cable car ride, I am surprised to see a lot of empty, green land. I had imagined Hong Kong to be an urban jungle.
I learn that this is a new monument – gifted from China to Hong Kong in 1997, as a symbol that Buddhism would be accepted as Hong Kong was returned to China from the British.
I sit beneath the grand 112-foot statue to meditate, but it proves difficult. Ironically, at the top where the enlightened one sits, people are relentlessly taking photos with selfie sticks, disrupting the tranquil energy.
So I sit with my eyes open, admiring the large statue while listening to Baraka in the background on my headphones. Listening to Baraka inspires me to make a short hyper lapse.
Later I walk down the steps to Po Lin Monastery, built in 1906. I didn’t take any photos inside, but there is a lot of gold, and ornate carvings in the wall and ceilings.
After spending 2-3 hours admiring the area, I’m excited to find a vegetarian restaurant by the monastery. Perhaps too excited, as I bought more food than I could eat.
And with that, my first milestone of this trip is complete. The next milestone requires going to Thailand, to fulfill a desire I’ve been holding for about two years.