Day 3 – Buses… Other bleedin’ buses… and Buddah

Today, following the SD card revelation yesterday, I’ve tried to be a bit more portable with my photos (aka taken some on my phone)… so here’s hoping they came out.

We started the day with some coffee and a cake from a well known Tax avoiding coffee shop whom happen to have a branch in the shopping centre just down stairs. Strangely though, as no one pays tax in Hong Kong, they are perfectly legit here. We then made our way to the station to get the train to Tung Chung.

The train journey was rather uneventful and we arrived with ease. We were warned that the cable car was sadly closed for cable replacement so we’d have to get the bus to the Lin Po Monastery. When we got out of Tung Chung station, we found what we thought was the rather quiet bus station. This however was not the bus station we needed… so we followed the signs around the corner….

Upon turning said corner, we found that half of Mainland China and their dog’s had turned up on bank holiday (Today still!) to go and visit the Giant Buddha at Lin Po.

Not even half the queue!
Not even half the queue!

Undettered by the crowds we joined the queue and were eventually thrust on a bus up and over the mountains to Ngong Ping village. Ngong ping village is a fake village created in “Traditional style” but clearly is just fake fake fake. It feels a bit like Shrek 2. Having had a wander though we decided it was time to go and visit the Tian Tan Buddha.

We followed the general direction of the people, but still couldn’t see the Buddha. I thought it was HUGE so couldn’t work out why we couldn’t see it. We did however come across some rather free range cows.

Cows Love selfies!
Cows Love selfies!

Eventually we found the foot of the steps to the Buddha, bought a ticket for lunch in the monastery, and started to ascend the steps to the Buddha which was shrouded in cloud / Fog. As we climbed the 268 steps to reach the Big Buddha, he slowly became clearer!

Cheeky beggar was copying me!
Cheeky beggar was copying me!

When we reached the top, the fog was still quite thick, so we used our dinner voucher to visit the exhibition inside his plinth. (Free with your dinner voucher), and we explored a number of Buddhist artifacts including one the very few relics supposed to contain some of Buddha himself’s ashes!

Once we were done exploring in there, we realised the fog had lifted a little so managed to get some better photos, before descending the steps to the monastery.

Less foggy Buddha!
Less foggy Buddha!

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Back down at ground level, we walked into the monastery where we found lots of people lighting GIANT incense and praying to Buddha. It was very interesting to watch the rituals and rules involved in these prayers.

Incense and prayers...
Incense and prayers…

Having walked round and looked at the Monastery, we decided it was time for lunch. Every vegetarian place we’ve eaten in so far has seemed to have a loving for this mysterious gloop. The monastery was no different…. Lunch was not great… in fact, I’m still not sure what it was! (But the plain rice was nice!)

The very ornate Monestary
The very ornate Monestary

From the Monastery, we got the bus to the tiny fishing village of Tao O. This was supposed to be the “Venice of Hong Kong”. I wouldn’t go that far… I mean, I’ve never been to Venice but this was not like the photos.

This was enlightening as it was a real glimpse into the lives of some real Hong Kongers, but it was also every sceneted nightmare you could ever have. I can’t even describe the smell of some of the things you could buy on the main street.

At Tao O, we queued again to return with half of mainland China on a direct bus back to Tsung Tung. WHAT A JOURNEY. Somehow I managed to get some sleep, but this as more a thrill ride than a bus ride! The driver saw no danger, even at one point slamming the brakes on last minute to avoid a HUGE cow!

We made it back to the apartment for a quick rest before heading out, meeting Hilz and Jonathan and heading up Victoria Peak for dinner. The views were amazing and you could see them from the Restaurant window.

The amazing View!
The amazing View!
Us obscuring said view!
Us obscuring said view!

Getting home was fun – More huge bus station queues. In a toss up between a taxi queue and a Small bus queue it was about equally pegging so we jumped on the small bus. (Think Turkish dolomus).

This driver made the earlier one look like a granny had been driving. He tailgated a mini all the way down the hill, tackling hairpin bends at 30KMPH as if we were filming an episode of Top Gear!

Added to this, there are no stops, per say – you ask to be dropped off…Hilo had a slight moment of confusion with the driver involving much angry shouting in Cantonese and then Hilz agreeing before leaping off the bus!

I’m absolutely shattered again so am heading to bed before another big day tomorrow – Trams in the morning an then I’m taking things on, on my own in the afternoon! AAAH! Night/Afternoon y’all! 🙂

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