Lantanu or Tai Hai Shan is Hong Kong’s largest far-flung island, located at the mouth of the River Pearl and western side of Hong Kong. It is often called as “The Mother of Hong Kong” or “The Lungs of Hong Kong”. Lantanu island is picturesque because of its natural freshwater reservoirs, vivid ocean views, pristine beaches, plethora of greenery, splendid hiking trails, and scenic villages.
Top Attractions in Lantanu Island – Hong Kong
There are various attractions to see in Lantanu island and I have listed down the same –
1. Ngong Ping Village
Ngong Ping plateau features the traditional Chinese architecture, vegetarian restaurants, tea-houses and shops. It’s a perfect place to pop in for some light bite of dim sum before heading to the nearby places like Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping Piazza, and Wisdom path.
You can reach Ngong Ping village by bus or cable car; 25 mins ride on a Ngong Ping 360 from Tung Chung. You can buy the 360-Air-Land-Sea Day Pass for a convenient transportation and explore Lantanu’s aerial, water, and land scenic beauty. MTR Corporation provides you the two types Ngong Ping 360 cable car rides; one is standard cable car ride and the other is crystal glass cable car ride which costs slightly high. Cable car ride is one of the best option to adventure Lantanu Island.
The gondola ride is very impressive to be sure, especially the crystal floor cable car ride is just breath taking and you will be completely blow out. You can opt one-way ride through cable car and the other way by bus to explore more of gorgeous Lantanu’s Picturesque which is truly serene and full of excitement.
2. The Big Buddha or Tian Tan Buddha
Tian Tan Buddha is acclaimed as the second largest outdoor seated Bronze Buddha in the World. It is the one of the five largest Buddha statues of China and the most popular attraction of Hong Kong.
The Giant Buddha was constructed using 202 bronze pieces; weighs 250 metric ton and is 34-meter bronze statue erected in 1993 on Lantanu island which is surrounded by Po Lin Monastery and signifies the amicable relationship between the man and nature, people and faith. It is Hong Kong’s major center for Buddhism.
Majestic Big Buddha is exalted on lotus on the three-platform altar, facing North to overlook the Chinese people. The facial features and characteristics of the shrine holds a serene beauty and gives you very soothing feel, peaceful and humble which depicts ultimate tranquility.
Climb the 268 steps to reach the top of the remarkable statue, and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of sweeping mountains, greenery and sea views over Lantau Island.
3. Po Lin Monastery
Located right across the Tian Tan Buddha, the Po Lin Monastery is the century old monastery complex founded in 1906 by three monks. It was initially known as “The Big Hut” or “Tai Mao Pung”. The main temple has three bronze statues of Buddha which represents the Past, Present and Future. This tranquil monastery is Hong Kong’s incredibly important Buddhist and has been dubbed “the Buddhist world in the South”.
The rich monastery houses a number of devout monks and is composed of magnificent prayer halls, courtyards, colorful gardens, appealing manifestations of Buddhist iconography, and etc. Just wander through the gardens and halls to admire this amicable place and get chilled.
4. Ngong Ping Piazza
Ngong Ping Piazza covers an area of 1.5 hectares; and is a starting point to the visitors to explore the nature of Lantanu island and links all the spiritual and scenic attractions of Lantanu. The Piazza is fiercely Buddhist and connects with all the five important icons of Lantanu island – Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping 360 Cable car, Ngong Ping Village and Wisdom Path.
This Piazza has four main components namely – New Pai Lau, Bodhi Path, Di Tan, and a Chinese landscaped Garden.
- New Pai Lau – reflects the Qing dynasty’s architectural style and is the starting archway.
- Bodhi Path – is the central pathway which is lined by Twelve Divine Generals and 40 lotus shaped lanterns on both the sides. The Twelve Divine Generals statues are deemed as protectors in Buddhism, they also represent the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.
- Di Tan – Altar of Earth; It is also known as Earth temple which is the open space facing the big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, where religious ceremonies are periodically held.
- Chinese landscaped Garden – fabricated to echo with the design of Po Lin Monastery and is the serene garden gives you a perfect complement for the majestic Big Buddha.
5. The Wisdom Path
The Wisdom Path is situated at the foot of the Lantanu Peak and the entrance is notable by a phoenix sculpture. It is a landscaped installation of 38 wooden steles or upright monuments traced in series. Wooden steles are engraved with the calligraphy of complete verses of the old Heart Sutra from the centuries – where one of the world’s well-known prayers revered by Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians alike.
These 38 giant wooden columns are around 8 to 10 meters tall and 1 meter wide; arranged in “infinity symbol” pattern following the natural terrain of the site to manifest infinity. According to the contemporary professor Jao, the tallest column marked No. 23 is deliberately left blank to convey the “emptiness” concept or to have no hindrance in one’s mind is a crux of the verses – and is highlighted in the Heart Sutra.
Lantanu peak can be seen from the Wisdom path and it also offers a soothing eyeful of the South China Sea. Just a short walk from the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery to reach the Wisdom Path.
6. Lantanu Trail
If you are a hiking lover and nature enthusiast then Lantanu trail is a must try – which gives you a lot of fun and enjoyment. Lantanu trail is a well-routed 70 KM long-distance footpath loops Lantanu island begins at the Mui Wo.
The Lantanu South country park has many routes to explore and the trail is further divided into 12 sections; passing via beautiful villages, waterfalls, and beaches along the way. It includes Sunset Peak, which is well-known for its breath-taking spectacle sight view of rolling hills moderately shrouded in fog.
7. Chinese Pink Dolphins
The Chinese white dolphins are also locally called as Pink dolphins due to its appealing, mottled pink hue. The adorable pink dolphins are famous for its unique color and friendliness and spotted all year around the west of Hong Kong or in north and southeast of Lantanu island.
Take a distinctive boat excursion ride from Tai O – oldest fishing village of Hong Kong, to track Chinese Pink dolphins and explore iconic stilt house at the same time. These amazing sea creatures are endangered species and decreasing in their number day by day due to the harshest conditions and increase in pollution of Pearl River Delta.
8. Tai O Fishing Village
Tai O village is the oldest fishing port and home to Tanka people located on the western side of Lantanu island. It offers a unique and authentic glimpses of stilt houses above the tidal flats. These astonishing structures are interconnected and forms a tight knit community that literally lives on the water.
Enjoy a boat excursion to explore the enchanting wooden stilt houses of Tai O which is truly an ethereal sight and picturesque paradise, one not to miss.
If Hong Kong is in your travelling list then Lantanu island is must to explore. Plan a day trip to gorgeous Lantanu island to escape from hustling and bustling city life. Are you are self-sabotaging? – Looking for good relief and find some eternal peace, then mark a day to recline and rejuvenate yourself. It’s truly worth visiting Hong Kong along the way you can also plan for Macau – vicinity to Hong Kong.