You might think Lantau Island doesn’t have anything new to offer, but Young Post junior reporters Anushka Purohit, Sebastian Wong and Yam Wai-shan learned old stuff can be just as exciting. They went to Ngong Ping and Tai O to explore the heritage and traditions and try the local food. They found there is much more to be discovered than meets the eye.
A bird’s eye view of Hong Kong
The sight of cable cars rising into the clouds is awesome. The view from those cars is even better. And sitting in one that has a glass bottom is one of Hong Kong’s best experiences.
After a relaxing 30-minute ride, we walked through Ngong Ping village, and slowly, the faint shadow of the Buddha emerged from behind the trees.
Looking at the steps, we were confident in our athletic ability and climbed up all 262 of them, treating ourselves to an ice cream at the top.
On the way back down, we were welcomed by three cows, four dogs and 12 stone statues. Each statue signified one of the 12 animals of the zodiac, and on each was written the “good time of the day” for that sign. Being a dragon, my “good time of the day” is 7am-8am, which seems pretty accurate as I spend most of this time in bed.
We then continued to Tai O village to learn more – and eat more!
East meets west
Visiting the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery was certainly a very fascinating experience. With the professional knowledge of the tour guide, I learned a lot of intriguing facts about the famous attractions. For example, unlike many other Buddha statues around the world, the Big Buddha faces north instead of south. Many believe this is because the central government donated the money to build the Buddha, which is why it became a north-facing statue.
As well as learning new things, the tour gave me a better idea of Hong Kong’s traditions. If the cultural satisfaction of being surrounded by numerous statues of Chinese gods at the Po Lin Monastery isn’t enough, the stunning panoramic view from the top of the Big Buddha are reason enough to make the trek.
As well as the traditional attractions, you can enjoy all sorts of dining, shopping and even entertainment facilities in Ngong Ping village. it’s a perfect blend of tradition and convenience.
Life in a stilt house
Sometimes referred to as the “Venice of Hong Kong”, Tai O remains a unique, tight-knit community of stilt houses, which stand along the waterfront in the estuary. Even though I have been to Tai O several times, the Fishing Village Insight Tour offered me an in-depth understanding of the culture and heritage of Tai O.
The most intriguing part of the tour was visiting a stilt house.
The house has two entrances, one of which overlooks the water.
There are just a few steps down to the wobbly wooden bridge, which enables the fisherman who lives there to hop on his boat and go fishing more conveniently.
We also learned that the type of wood used to build the stilt houses is not local. Borneo ironwood, which is imported from Malaysia, is heavy enough not to float, and gets harder with time, allowing it to survive the unrelenting weather for several decades.
Tai O has so much more to offer than it seems at first glance.