going UP

At the top of Lantau Peak
View from the cable car

The world disappeared below. It was covered by a magical mist that separated from everything. There was only me, the wind, and God. 

I visited the Tian Tan Buddha today. It ended up being a glorious journey that kept going in one direction: up. Alas, my pilgrimage took me higher than the gigantic statue that sits watch over the people of China; I trekked above it to Lantau Peak, the highest point on Lantau Island and the second highest peak in all of Hong Kong. 

The Tian Tan Buddha of Hong Kong

The hike itself ended up being an unexpected adventure. I had already been thinking about hiking up to the Buddha, since I had heard that was a possibility, but I went ahead and did the cable car, which was QUITE the cable car ride. (I totally recommend it if you’re ever in Hong Kong and you like high places.) But I knew wanted to get some kind of hike in while I was in Hong Kong, as the place itself is an archipelago of 260 islands accented with coastlines and peaks. And that’s exactly what I did, finding myself on the second highest peak of the city. 

One of the tourist attractions on Lantau is the Wisdom Path. I don’t know too many details about it, only that is a prayer tribute of some kind. As a tourist, I dutifully followed the signs to the wisdom path, took pictures, then found myself looking up at my next destination. 

Pak Kung Au is a place on the other side of the mountain

There was very little water left in my camelbak when I saw the trail, but I couldn’t resist. So I went for it, hoping to take no more than 2 hours to get to the top and back again, since it was already 3:11 and the last cable car left at 6:30. I stuck a piece of gum in my mouth to curb my urge to drink my last drops of water and went up. 

The hike itself was rather steep, and soon Buddha looked like a dot on the landscape of the island. I could still hear the gongs and singing from the temple below, and the stone steps beneath my feet were relentless. But they needed to be, because they were leading me to God. 

The Wisdom Path

From the top of Lantau Peak

At the top, it was just me in the wind and an ocean of clouds. I drank the rest of my water. I sat down and sang a song and let go of everything. Being that high up is the only way to completely clear my mind sometimes. 

The descent was magical. I was exhausted by the time I got back into the village and so hungry. I had a bowl of the local “Mountain Water Bean Curd” (山水豆腐), which tasted AWESOME, but the Zen Noodle cafe I wanted to eat at was closed. So I was starving by the time I reached by next destination…The Peak. 

The Peak Tram loading zone

The Peak is a viewing terrace that has been built up on a hill. You need to take a tram up to it, and on the ride up the buildings around you will go diagonal. It’s set right above Hong Kong so that you can see EVERYTHING, and at night, you get a spectacular view of the skyline of Asia’s World City. 

This is how I ended my day, up high above Hong Kong, now taking in a different kind of view. I was not alone this time. There were a TON of other people waiting in line to ride the tram, and I definitely felt invaded and violated more than once. But things cleared up at the top, and I, along with so many other people from so many parts of the world, took in the night view of Hong Kong City. 

And now I’m back on the 13th floor of the Chungking Mansion, in my bed, in a room full of strangers, and it’s time to sleep. Tomorrow is my last day in Hong Kong, and I have a BIG list of things I want to see. 

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