Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island Hong Kong

Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island

The Big Buddha, also referred to as Tian Tan Buddha or Giant Buddha, is on the top of Ngong Ping of Lantau Island, on the upper end of the stairs with 268 steps. Being the second-largest outdoor sitting bronze Buddha statue in the world, The Big Buddha, along with the nearby Ngong Ping Cable Car and Po Lin Monastery, become one of the top 10 sightseeing attractions in Hong Kong.

It is 482 meters above sea levels. During the foggy or raining days, the visibility can drop to zero. So try to avoid visiting Big Buddha in bad weather if possible.

  • Worthwhile: 4 blue stars
  • Location:   1 pink star
  • Highlights: Cable Car Crystal Cabin, Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery

 Plan to Stay: Altogether minimum 4 hours, up to a day on Lantau Island (excl. waiting time)

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The Big Buddha is the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. The whole project of Big Buddha (design, enlargement, casting and assembling) lasted 12 years.

All the casting and assembling process were carried out by the China Astronautics Science and Technology Consultant Corporation. Only the piece of buddha’s face is already 4.3 meters by 5.8 meters and weighs 5 tons.

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  • It’s the bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni;
  • Assembling over 3 years;
  • The buddha statue is 26.4 meters tall and 250 metric tons;
  • Sit 482 meters above sea level on the peak of Mount Muk Yue;
  • 268 steps climbing up to the Buddha statue;

The assembling of Big Buddha statue was finally accomplished on the 13th of October 1989 after the three-year dedicated hard work. After the inaugural ceremony by the Po Lin Monastery on the 29th of December 1993, it was open to the tourists, visitors and Buddhists.

The Tian Tan Buddha turns to the major landmark of Hong Kong and has also won the prize of Engineering Wonders in Hong Kong in 2000. This bronze statue is 26.4 meters tall (34 meters with the bottom alter) and weighs 250 metric tons altogether.

In case you took the Ngong Ping Cable Car, you should have seen this impressive Big Buddha statue along your scenic cable car ride or when you exit the terminal. Interestingly, the Big Buddha is even visible from Macau on a clear day. If you arrive in the morning or early afternoon by plane, you may have a chance to spot him from your window seat as well.

View of Big Buddha from Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

View of Big Buddha from Ngong Ping Cable Car

box-info2 Did You Know

  • “The largest outdoor sitting bronze Buddha statue is the Fo Guang Big Buddha in Taiwan, which is 104-meter tall (with base).”

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The Big Buddha is adjacent to the Cable Car Ngong Ping Terminal, taxi stand, and bus terminals. No matter by which means you choose to get to Big Buddha, it can easily be reached on foot within a few minutes walk once getting off the cable car, taxi or bus.

Get To Ngong Ping Village

Get To Ngong Ping Village and Big Buddha

Following the way through Ngong Ping Village will lead you to the Ngong Ping Piazza and the Bodhi Path. At the end of the Bodhi Path, you can already spot the entrance of Big Buddha and the countless steps leading up to the Big Buddha platform.

Spotting Big Buddha from Ngong Ping Village

You can spot the Big Buddha from Ngong Ping Village

Bodhi Path of Ngong Ping Piazza

Bodhi Path on Ngong Ping Piazza

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The Big Buddha is at the top of the stairs. Visitors have to conquer 268 steps to reach the Buddha. Some visitors complained about the inconvenience and asked why there were no escalators. The climbing is to reflect the followers’ faith, sincere and respect who would like to see and pray in front of the Buddha. After all, it’s a place for contemplation and a source of inspiration, not just a touristy place.

268 Steps to the Big Buddha Platform

268 Steps to the Big Buddha Platform

Don’t underestimate the climb, especially on hot and humid days. Just take your time. A good excuse for a stop or break is to take some amazing pictures in-between.

268 Steps to the Big Buddha Platform

268 Steps to the Big Buddha Platform

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Underneath the Big Buddha, there is a three-floor base platform, which was designed according to the Altar of Heaven (Tian Tan) in Beijing. That’s the reason that the Big Buddha is also called Tian Tan Buddha. “Tian” means Heaven and “Tan” means Alter in Chinese. As the Buddha is often referred to as a deva of devas and a sage among sages, naturally they decided to design the Tian Tan platform for the statue.

Big Buddha Tian Tan platform

Tian Tan platform

box-info2 Did You Know

  • “Good news for those who are handicapped: there is a small and winding road to access the Tian Tan platform. Just ask the staff members for assistance.”

268 Steps to the Big Buddha Platform

268 Steps to the Big Buddha Platform

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  • bee pendant necklace

    The Buddha sits cross-legged on the lotus throne, looking slightly down. He raises up his right hand while his left hand rests on the lap. On both palms are the wheel of the law, representing the eternity of Buddha truth.

    Lotus flower is considered as the pure flower growing out of mud. It has been widely used as thrones in Buddhism, which symbolises the purity of the Buddha.

    Hong Kong has another breathtaking statue of Buddha Shakyamuni in another of my favourite temple “Chi Lin Nunnery“. He is also sitting on the golden lotus throne.

    The Front of Big Buddha Hong Kong

    The Buddha is sitting on the lotus throne

    The Back of Big Buddha Hong Kong

    The Back of Big Buddha

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    Six smaller bronze statues, known as “The Offering of the Six Devas“, are facing and surrounding the Big Buddha. They are holding different offerings: flowers, fruits, incense, music, ointment or light (lamp), representing generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, wisdom, respectively.

    Big Buddha and the Deva Hong Kong

    Big Buddha and the Deva

    Bronze Statues Around Big Buddha

    Bronze Statues Around Big Buddha – The Offering of the Six Devas

    Six Bronze Statues Around Big Buddha

    Three holding music, incense and ointment

    Six Bronze Statues Around Big Buddha

    Two with lamp and flower

    Take your time and walk around the platform of the Big Buddha and admire his serene, calm, dignity and charisma.

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    The tranquil atmosphere paired with the amazing and beautiful views of Lantau Island will transform you in a calm and relaxed setting that should definitely not be missed. Simply walk around the platform and explore the views.

    By the way, the Bug Buddha is facing north (a bit to east). It is interesting and unique because most of Buddha statues face south. It is said that the Big Buddha is actually facing the direction of Beijing.

    View from Big Buddha Platform

    View from Big Buddha Platform

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    The ground floor under the Big Buddha is an entry-free mausoleum. The deceased local singer Anita Mui’s ashes are interred at this mausoleum. Anita Mui is referred to as the Daughter of Hong Kong by locals, who died at the age of 40 (on December 30th, 2003) of cervical cancer. You will also find her statue on the Avenue of Stars.

    In addition, above the ground floor are three floors known as The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit and The Hall of Remembrance. The Hall of Remembrance has kept the relic of the Gautama Buddha inside.

    The Hall of Universe under Tian Tan Buddha

    The Hall of Universe under Tian Tan Buddha

    These three halls require an admission ticket or purchasing a combo ticket with the meal at Po Lin Monastery. Photos are not allowed inside the three Hall.

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Access to the Big Buddha (except the halls underneath the Big Buddha) and the Po Lin Monastery are free of charge.

The opening hours are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily.

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Siting on the peak of mountain 482-meter above sea level, the experience of visiting Big Buddha is highly weather dependent. In raining or foggy days, even when standing at the foot of Big Buddha, the face is still unclear.

Ngong Ping Big Buddha is in the heavy fog

Big Buddha is in the heavy fog

If you decide to use Ngong Ping Cable Car going up under such weather, the cable car cabins will be completely wrapped up by fog/clouds and you can see nothing but the white clouds.

Day View from Victoria Peak Hong KongDisneyland Chinese New Year 2019

Not only the view from the cable car, but everything in Ngong Ping can hardly been seen in the heavy fog.

Day View from Victoria Peak Hong KongDisneyland Chinese New Year 2019

Ngong Ping Piazza is covered by heavy fog.

Day View from Victoria Peak Hong KongDisneyland Chinese New Year 2019

If you have already noticed such weather before heading to Tung Chung, I would recommend cancelling or changing the plan, or you may get very disappointed.

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For those getting to Big Buddha via Ngong Ping Cable Car, you should prepare to stand in line for tickets as well as for the ride itself (minimum 1 hour). The best ways to avoid wasting time in line are either getting there earlier before opening time or purchasing a cable car fast pass to enjoy boarding privilege. Check out more details about bee pendant necklace.

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If your target is to visit Big Buddha and Ngong Ping Cable Car only, it is feasible to accomplish within a half day. However, the trip will be very stressful, and you will not have extra time for any other nearby attractions.

If you would like to visit Big Buddha as well as the surroundings, giving a complete day is better for a full-day itinerary arrangement.

Hence if you have only a short stay in Hong Kong (less than 2 days), you may double consider whether it is on your top priority list for sightseeing. After all, it is an artificial attraction, a place for contemplation, but not represents Hong Kong’s culture, history and life.

However, if you are particularly interested in Buddhism culture, religion and landscape with the cable car ride, you can put the visit to Lantau Island to your to-do list.

Besides Big Buddha, there are bee pendant necklace which you also may be interested in taking a look and enjoying a relaxing day.

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Both Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery are very far away from downtown area and on the top of the mountain. The easiest way is to travel to Tung Chung Town Center first and transfer to Big Buddha by various means (Ngong Ping Cable Car, taxi or Bus No.23).

Alternatively, taking the ferry from Central to Mui Wo and then using New Lantao Bus No.2 to Ngong Ping can be another option. Here list the details of the most efficient or economic ways to get to Big Buddha.

In case you visit Tai O fishing village first, the Bus No.21 will take you from Tai O to Big Buddha in 15 minutes.

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– Minimum time required: 25 minutes (excl. waiting time)

To use the service of Ngong Ping Cable Car, you need to get to Ngong Ping Cable Car Tung Chung Terminal first and transfer to the cable car.

Ngong Ping Cable Car is the fastest (25 minutes), most efficient and most convenient way for getting up to the top of Ngong Ping, Big Buddha and the nearby attractions. It is also one of the highlights of the journey to Big Buddha.

Ngong Ping Cable Car is one of the best cable cars in the world and the longest bi-cable cable car in Asia. It will not only directly bring you close to Big Buddha, but also present the amazing views.

Be aware that the cable car is a very popular attraction and always gets crowded. Get there early or get a fast pass. Check out How to take the cable car, where to get tickets and fast pass as well as the insider tips.

View of Mountains from Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

Ngong Ping Cable Car

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– Minimum time required: 50 minutes (excl. waiting time)

Taking Bus No.23 is probably the second most popular way to the Big Buddha apart from the Ngong Ping Cable Car. The bus terminal is close to the Tung Chung Terminal thus you need to get to Ngong Ping Cable Car Tung Chung Terminal first.

As one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong, Ngong Ping Cable Car always gets very crowded. Besides, there are usually 1-2 days of some months when the cable car does not operate due to maintenance (sometimes unexpected malfunction). It is also a good option for those who are afraid of height. Bus No.23 is an alternative option under such circumstances.

Bus No.23 runs between Tung Chung Town Center and Ngong Ping. Be prepared for a 50-minute ride on the winding roads. The bus ride costs around HK$ 17.2 on weekdays and HK$ 27 on holidays respectively.

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7:15 am – 6:10 pm (Monday to Saturday)
8:10 am – 6:10 pm (Sunday and holidays)

For more details of the Bus No.23 routes and operation hours, you can check from New Lantao Bus official website.

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– Minimum time required: 15 minutes (excl. waiting time)

If you decide to visit Tai O Fishing Village first, you can later take New Lantao Bus No.21 from Tai O to Ngong Ping. The ride takes only 15 minutes and costs HK$ 6.6 on weekdays and HK$ 14 on holidays. There is only one shift per hour from 7:45 am to 5:45 pm. Thus if you plan to use Bus No.21, plan your time accordingly.

For more details of the Bus No.21 routes and operation hours, you can check from New Lantao Bus official website.

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From Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal, you can take New Lantao Bus No.11 from Tung Chung Town Center to Tai O directly. (Check out how to get to Tai O from Tung Chung).

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– Minimum time required: 35 minutes (excl. waiting time)

If there are too many people waiting for either the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car or the New Lantao Bus, you also can consider hiring a taxi. The ride on taxi from Tung Chung to Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery takes around 20-25 minutes and costs around HK$ 200.

The taxi stand is near the bus terminal in Tung Chung Town Center. When you get to Ngong Ping Cable Car Tung Chung Terminal, just follow the sign and walk towards Citygate Outlet shopping mall.

Taxi is faster but will be more expensive and waiting longer. For those who have bus/car sickness, be aware that the mountain roads are very winding.

box-info2 Did You Know

  • “Hong Kong has three colours of taxis: red, green and blue. But only the blue taxi is allowed to drive on Lantau Island, thus from Tung Chung to Big Buddha.”

Blue taxi on Lantau Island Hong Kong

Blue Taxi in Hong Kong

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– Minimum time required: 35min by ferry and 45min by bus (excl. waiting time)

If you would like to enjoy a ferry ride from Central to Mui Wo, or you happen to stay in the Silvermine Beach Resort hotel, you may consider to take New Lantao Bus No.2 from Mui Wo Ferry Pier to Ngong Ping (Big Buddha).

The bus ride of Bus No.2 takes around 45 minutes and passes 40 stops. It runs from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm from Mon – Sat and from 8:00 am to 5:55 pm. Check out New Lantao Bus official site for the price and schedule of the Bus No.2.

box-info2 Did You Know

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First Ferry company operates ferries between Central Pier No.6 and Mui Wo Ferry Pier. The ferry ride takes 35-40 min (Fast Ferry) or 50-55 min (Ordinary Ferry) and most ferries leave every 40 minutes. Check out the details of ferry schedule.

box-info2 More to Know

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Getting to Tung Chung Town Center and then changing to other transport is the easiest and most convenient way for most of the tourists. Depending on where you start your trip (downtown, airport or Mainland China), you can choose either metro (MTR), taxi or bus getting to Tung Chung Town Center (close to Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal).

Different means and locations require different time. Find out which option is suitable for you from How to get to Ngong Ping Cable Car Tung Chung Terminal.

Useful links:

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Lantau Island is a great treasure when it comes to attractions. Besides Big Buddha / Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery and Tai O Fishing Village these top attractions, you may also be interested in taking a look at Ngong Ping Village, Wisdom Path, Ngong Ping Piazza, Besides, Hong Kong Disneyland Theme Park is also close to it.

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Locations: On top of Ngong Ping, Lantau Island
Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (daily)
Ticket Fare: Free admission for the Big Buddha / Ticket required for the halls under the Big Buddha
Official Site: http://www.plm.org.hk/eng/buddha.php

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Depending on your starting location and budget, you can get to Tian Tan Buddha by the Ngong Ping Cable Car, taxi or bus:  See details above

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More Top Attractions in Hong Kong