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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