By Lisa Schwark with help from Stephanie

The second day we were in Hong Kong, we decided to go see the Giant Buddha on Lantau Island. Stephanie, being very interested in Buddhas and Buddhism, was really looking forward to this trip. She has collected several Buddha statues in the past few years, so seeing this giant Buddha statue was going to be something. It was cool that the Buddha trip happened to be on her birthday! Of course, everyone else was eager to see it too. We all read about it before we got to Hong Kong.
Before heading out on our adventure, we met up with a couple of our new friends from the USA fan club: Judy, Jewel, Jeanne and Fiona. Our next step was to make sure everyone had a bottle of water with them. It was very hot and humid in Hong Kong and we knew we would be doing a lot of walking. Once everyone had their water, we were ready to go. We had two ferries and a bus to take before we would get to where the Buddha sat on Lantau Island.
The first ferry took us from Kowloon, where our hotels were, to Hong Kong Island. This is a very short ferry trip, but a beautiful trip that we were lucky enough to take almost every day we were in Hong Kong. The skyline was simply amazing to look at as you cross the harbor. The ferry usually wasn't too crowded, so we could always sit on the top level in the front of the boat. We always were able to sit next to the windows, so we always had a beautiful view.
The second ferry took us from Hong Kong Island to Lantau Island. This was a longer ferry ride. We passed many small islands on our way to the bigger Lantau Island. We saw many other boats. Some were real small boats and some were huge freight boats.


Lantau Island from the ferry.

As we looked at the scenery and passing boats, we chatted with each other trying to get to know each other. We all talked about where we were from and how we got interested in Jackie. All too quickly, the ride was over and we were at Lantau. Unfortunately, Kath had a meeting at the JC Office, so she had to get back on the ferry to go back to the hotel. But the rest of us continued on our journey.
From the Lantau ferry we took a bus to the Buddha. What a crazy ride that was! Nic and Stephanie loved it saying it was better than any roller coaster they had ever been on. The roads were very twisty and it felt like the driver was going pretty fast sometimes. I think the skinny road and the twisty turns made it feel like we were going faster than what we really were. We were still able to see more beautiful scenery out the bus window, though. There were some trees and flowers that looked similar to what we have in the USA, but many were very different.

You can see the road winding through the center of the picture.

Finally, we saw the Giant Buddha in the distance. As we got closer and closer, it got bigger and bigger. When we got out of the bus we couldn't believe how big it was:

Where we were dropped off by the bus, we couldn't see the stairs that led up to the Buddha. We walked past a couple of vendor stands and made our way to the stairs. There they were. All 260 of them! Wow! And those stairs only took you to the base of the Buddha. The Buddha itself is over 100 feet tall.

The stairs to the Buddha - all 260 of them!

Stephanie, Nic and Mark went up all the stairs without hardly stopping. They even ran up some of them. I walked up with one of the women who had some difficulty climbing stairs, so we went much slower. The other people in our group went up a little ahead, taking pictures as they went along. But we all made it to the top!
At the top! We were so high. Stephanie couldn't believe how close to the clouds we were. Looking off into the distance from one side, all you could see was green. Hardly a building in sight. On the other side was the Po Lin Monastery's beautiful, colorful buildings. No matter what side you looked out from, it almost took your breath away. We had a hard time pulling ourselves away and going inside the Buddha

The first thing we saw as we entered the Buddha was a gift cart. There were many people by it and we wanted to look around, so we passed by it. There were many beautiful prints and scrolls and pieces of art inside. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of anything inside. As we walked around in a circle looking at all the Chinese calligraphy and art, we came across another gift cart. This time we stopped and bought a few things. The woman at the stand was very friendly and smiling the whole time. She showed us so many nice things it was hard to pick. Stephanie finally decided on a small replica of the Giant Buddha to add to her collection, a pretty Buddha necklace, and a fan.
After we left the gift cart, we finished going around the circle looking at the art. Then we came to a spiral staircase. We walked up the stairs where there were even more beautiful pieces of art hanging everywhere. At the top of the stairs was a doorway that led outside where we had another great view of the Po Lin Monastery:

View of Po Lin Monastery from Buddha.

Po Lin Monastery up close.

The people down there at the bottom looked so small. It was still hard to believe we were up so high.
Of course, going back down the 260 stairs was much easier and quicker than going up:

The stairs down.

Some of us in the group took our time going down and soaked in more of the view and looked more closely at the trees and plants that grew next to the staircase:

Some others just about flew down the stairs seeing how fast they could go. When we were all back down to the bottom of the stairs, we got a little something to eat then got in line to catch the bus back to the ferry. As we waited for the bus, we looked up at the Giant Buddha. When we had gone up the stairs, the sky was clear and we could see very far in the distance. But now clouds were coming in and covering up the Buddha. It looked like someone was blowing smoke across the Buddha. Sometimes you could see part of it, then it was all covered up with clouds, then the clouds would go by and we could see it again. I got kind of a magical feeling as I watched the clouds fly by.

Mist-shrouded mountain on Lantau Island

The bus came and we hopped on, ready for another roller coaster ride. As we watched the Giant Buddha disappear, we thought - Wow! That was really cool!

Here are some more photos:

Jeanne and Fiona shopping.


Don't know....didn't read the plaque!

Structure at base of Buddha.

Offering gifts to Buddha.

Offering gifts to Buddha.


©2003 Katharine Schroeder/The Jackie Chan Fan Club for Kids

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