The Big Buddha by Elliot Santiago

It started out as a beautiful day with the sun shining bright into our dorm rooms at HK Polytechnic University. We woke up to grab an amazing breakfast buffet at the TST Sheraton hotel, gifted to us by our lovely Professor Karen Harvey. Following our breakfast, our class decided to take the opportunity to visit the Tian Tan Buddha Monument on Lantau Island.

Things were looking bright as we departed on our way to the Tung Chung. However as we were slowly arriving to the station, in true typhoon season fashion, it started to storm outside. Several of us looked at each other and questioned whether or not we should still make our way to the Buddha taking into account whether or not it would still be visible with all of the fog and rain. However, we finally summoned up the “Life’s-too-short-to-say-no” type of courage and continued on with our trek. We made our way to the cable car line and waited approximately 45 minutes to hop aboard our car. The ride ended up being a little shaky as the rain constantly knocked against our car windows as we steadily made our way up the mountain. However, although there were several occasions in which we had to hold tight for our lives, the view was breathtaking and well worth it. We slowly grazed over the island and enjoyed the views of island nature, buildings, and ocean. The ride took about 30 minutes to reach the end and we headed towards the statue. Five minutes walking in, we realize the Buddha had blessed us. The rain stopped! The clouds started to slowly wither away as we got closer to the steps and things were only looking up from here. We conquered all 268 steps to the top, and enjoyed the statue and all its beauty.

Following the statue, we briefly took the time to visit the temples at the bottom of the steps. We even got the chance to purchase incense to offer it to the temple.
We then we stopped over for some delicious dessert drinks and snacks before heading back to the cable cars to head back home.
By the end of our day, we were all exhausted. It is clear that all the early mornings, long walks, and humidity are starting to take a toll on us. Our group separated for dinner and called it a night after that.

All in all, we had an amazing adventure with great views, and even better company. Our time in Hong Kong is nearing its end, but we are going to make the best out of these last days together!

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