Not an auspicious beginning. It is raining this morning, our "free" day in Hong Kong. Thankfully we completed six of the eight must-sees on our list yesterday! Our plan is to visit the Po Lin Monastery, on Lantau Island, to see the largest seated Bronze Buddha in the world. After that, our plan is to shop, shop, shop.
We used many forms of transportation on our way to see the Buddha. We took the free shuttle bus from the hotel to Kowloon Station where we hopped onto the subway (MTR) to Tung Chung, the last stop on the Tung Chung Line. Then we took an unbelievably long cable car ride (25 minutes) to Ngong Ping village (on Lantau Island) where the Buddha sits.
The little village is adorable with many shops and snack/eating establishments. We walked to the base of the stairs and climbed th 268 steps to the Buddha. He is positively huge, 34 meters (over 100 feet) tall, and sits dramatically on the top of a hill on the island. We were very impressed with the climb and with the Buddha.
Returning to Tung Chung involved a lengthy bus ride up and down the hills and valleys of the island, with many hairpin turns. The weather, although ugly looking when we left and along the cable car ride, turned out to be okay once we reached the Buddha. There was some mist and a few light showers, but we were very lucky as it turned out since it seemed to get worse later when we were leaving. The entire trip took us about 5 hours, but we were not rushing and stopped often to shop or just to talk. We also spent some of the time waiting for transportation.
Concerning food, I must chronicle that for the majority of the trip, until now, most of our meals were included. And, even though they were wonderful, they were all traditional Chinese meals. Quite frankly, we were tired of Dim Sum, Sweet-and-Sour Pork, Noodles, and Tea, and we were yearning for some American food. So, on our first night in Hong Kong we went to TGI Fridays for hamburgers, on the second night, we had ribs at the Outback, and tonight, we went to a lovely Spanish restaurant, the Tapas Bar (inside the Shangri-La Hotel) and had appetizers.
In Bangkok, we are also on our own, but I hope, there, we will sample some traditional Thai cuisine.