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Published: June 11th 2017
Today is our last day in Hong Kong! I can't believe our trip is almost over! We will check out of our hotel tomorrow and leave for the airport about 12:30. We plan on sleeping in a bit, having the hotel buffet breakfast tomorrow, and packing up in the morning. We'll get to the airport the same way we got to the hotel (taxi to the Kowloon airport express station, then train to the airport).
Today was our day tour to Lantau Island. We got picked up at a hotel around the corner about 8:20 this morning, the bus picked up a few more people at different hotels, then we all transferred to a different bus for the drive to Lantau Island. As I mentioned yesterday, Lantau Island is the largest of Hong Kong's outlying islands. It is completely different world from the highrises of Hong Kong and Kowloon. It is much more rural, and a large amount of the island is protected from development. The airport is also located on reclaimed land on the island.
We crossed the Tsing Ma Bridge, the longest road/rail suspension bridge in the world, to get to Lantau. We stopped at a viewing
platform before crossing the bridge. Before this bridge was built the only way to Lantau was a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride, so the island was fairly remote. The road in Lantau is a narrow two lane, windy and twisty road up and down the steep hills of Lantau. This road was built only 4 years ago, I think the guide said, and the old road was so narrow the tour bus would have to pull over to allow oncoming traffic to pass.
Our first stop was Tung Chung beach, a very pretty and almost deserted beach area (also a convenient happy loo stop).
Our next stop on Lantau was the Tai O Village, a small fishing village where we took a short boat ride to see the stilt houses of the village. We also saw the small market where mostly dried fish and seafood items are sold. I doubt the village as it exists now will be able to survive too much longer, as encroaching development and overfishing erodes the villagers' way of life.
After Tai O we drove to the Po Lin Monastery (Lantau has many monasteries as it is a quiet place favoured by
That's the Tsing Ma bridge
That's the Tsing Ma bridge
Buddhist monks and nuns). Next to the monastery is the Tian Tan Buddha, which is the world's largest outdoor bronze Buddha. It sits on top of a hill facing north (the direction of Beijing) instead of the proper direction which is south. The guide said because of this people called it the "political Buddha". But not with anger, because anger is punishing yourself for other's mistakes.
You reach the Buddha by climbing 268 steps, or you can drive up the road behind the Buddha (as we did, and we walked down. I guess the tours drive up in case some people can't walk up).
After touring the museum we walked down the stairs and had a very tasty vegetarian lunch at the Po Lin Monastery. Not as good as the monastery in Vietnam we had lunch at, but considering the numbers of people they have to prepare food for, it was very good. We had a bit of free time after lunch, so we checked out the monastery, and I walked up the 268 stairs to the Buddha. It seemed wrong not to walk up! I walked back down, and Susan and I walked through the Ngong Ping
village (which is not a village at all but simply shops). We heard really nice music coming from one shop so we went in and bought 2 CDs.
We then boarded the Ngong Ping cable car for a 25 minute ride down the mountain. We upgraded to the "crystal cabin" which has a glass floor (mention "upgrade" and Susan is all over it!). It was pretty cool to see the ground far below as we rode.
We were picked up at the bottom by a different bus and drove back to Hong Kong, dropping people off at their hotels as we went. Susan and I were the last and got back about 4:30 or so. As we were walking back up the hill to our hotel, we noticed a kind of alleyway that looked like it had a restaurant patio, so we checked it out. Turns out this "alleyway' is full of nice looking restaurants, so we will choose one of them for dinner tonight.
We have had an amazing, wonderful adventure, and we are also looking forward to being back at home. We can't wait to see the cats! We haven't had to worry about them
at all because our friend Naomi has been cat-sitting and keeping up updated.
Well, that's pretty much it for this blog! I will do a final entry after we get back, with some reflections on the trip overall, after a few days of rest and recovery from jet lag. I hope whoever has been reading this blog has enjoyed it and that it has made it easier for you all to experience "Lori & Susan's Southeast Asia Adventure" with us! Bye for now.
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