Travel Pics Theme: U for Undulations. Losing breath on Lantau Island

Hiking trail to Big Buddha

Hiking trail to Big Buddha

This week’s theme is U – for Undulations.

And today, it’s a hiking trail and steps below the Ngong Ping peak, on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island.

Lantau is Hong Kong’s largest island – but until the 1990s it was largely undeveloped – home to fishing villages and not much else.

In fact, film buffs may recognise be amused to note that Lantau – which is now the home of the Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong Disneyland – was used to film ‘quiet undeveloped villages’ in films such as Lord Jim, and the 1978 Aussie sexploitation film Felicity.

Ahem, Yes. Back to the subject.

Also on Lantau Island, there are a number of significant monasteries, representing a number of religions.

One is a Trappist monastery, which has been on the island for around 60 years – and another is the major Buddhist monastery the Po Lin – and next door, the Giant Buddha of Tian Tan.

This 35-metre-high, 250 tonne bronze statue dominates the area, and comes atop 270-odd steps on a mountain-top plateau.

But below that plateau are even more steps – thousands and thousands of them.

To access the Buddha, you can either go by bus, or by taxi – or by the Ngong Ping 360 Cable-car Gondola, a 25 minute ride high above Tung Chung, beside the Hong Kong International Airport, and then over Nei Lak Shan, one of Hong Kong’s highest hills.

For a few dollars more, you can get a cable car gondola with a glass floor – allowing you to also see the hikers who trek up to the monastery and statue – a hike of up to 5km, and climbing nearly 700m.

That’s the view in today’s #Travelpic .. and you can see that there’s still a fair amount of greenery on the island (leading to its nickname as ‘the lungs of Hong Kong’.

But there are questions how long that will continue .. just over a year ago, plans were quietly announced for the redevelopment of Lantau – with a million people set to be settled there in the next three decades.

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