My first day!

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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At the cable car.

I’ve finally arrived!  Ian met me at the airport and together we got my money exchanged.  I’m so grateful to Ian and his wife, Seoung Hee, for letting me stay with them.  And I really appreciate that Ian came to the airport to get me!  It great when someone greets you at the airport, it always makes you feel welcome and at home. 

Ian and Seoung Hee have a beautiful home.  It’s a home both in design and in feel.  They have created a caring and warm environment that I have been lucky to share in.  I feel spoiled rotten, they take such good care of me!  They've given me excellent advice on Hong Kong too and I plan to put all of their tips to good use!

My first day, I went to the Big Budda.

Cable car ride.
  I got there by taking a bus to Tung Chung, then the famous cable car up through the hills and to the Budda.  The cable car ride is gorgeous.  Gives you a birds eye view of Tung Chung, the airport and the surrounding communities and green space.  Once you arrive at the Budda there is a small touristy village that you walk through.  I avoided the shops, seemed too manufactured for me.  The Budda is stunning.  I enjoyed walking the stairs to see him.  I sat for a long time on a bench in front of the Budda.  Letting peace wash over me and allowing myself to fully grasp where I was and the journey I’m on.  This was the perfect place to start my trip.   I had time to absorb how far I’d just travelled and then put my mind fully in the present.
The Big Budda!
  I was in Hong Kong.  Holy crap!

O.k. the 101 on the Big Budda: In 1974 the Po Lin Monastery was granted the land on Muk Yu Hill by the government to construct the Budda.  Construction was completed in 1989.  The Budda, which is made of bronze, is modeled after the Budda Vairocana and Sakyamuni of the Longman and Dunhuang Caves in China.   Statues of Budda were introduced in the 1st Century AD as a way for the faithful to pay homage to Budda, and pursue enlightenment. 

After visiting the Budda I went to the Po Lin Monestary, wandered the grounds, watched people burn the incense sticks and say silent prayers.  Smoke from the incense weighed heavy in the air.  It was both intoxicating and suffocating! 

Next I went off to “the Peak” but before I got there, I took the bus, rather than the cable car, back to Tung Chung.

St. John's Cathedral
  It was a hair pin turn, winding road with gorgeous views!   I met a girl named Silvia on the ride down, she is from Germany.  Together we navigated the bus and trains and found our way to downtown on Hong Kong Island.  We visited the St. John’s Cathedral (built in 1849) and then we went our separate ways, Silvia to her hostel, and I to the Peak.  I love how easily you can meet people while travelling, how open and friendly travelers are and how willing they are to help each other.  Silvia and I will never see each other again, but for a few hours we helped each other figure out the city, kept each other company and shared a new site.  I love travelers!

O.k. so off to the Peak.  You start by taking the Peak Tram.  It’s a funicular tram that climbs to the top of the Peak, which is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island.

View from the Peak
  The tram originally opened in 1888 but obviously has gone through many upgrades since then!  It is a STEEP climb up the mountain.  At the top you finally get to see the famous image of Hong Kong’s skyline.  I stayed at the Peak for hours.  Viewing the skyline both in the daytime and then after dark.  I took a walk around the Peak on the Peak Circle Walk.  Its not something I saw very many tourists on which was interesting, as the walk gives you fantastic views of the skyline, and the hills surrounding the city.  I met a local named Winnie, who as it turns out, went to Western for her undergrad, but returned to Hong Kong because she didn’t like the snow.  I hear that!  Winnie and I walked most of the trail together.  What a nice surprise!

The Peak is one of my favourite views of all time.

What a view!
  I love coastal cities at night, all the twinkling lights and the reflections off the water.  I could have stayed at the Peak all night.  Too bad it was extremely windy, so eventually I had to go.  Took the ferry and bus to get back to Ian's.  I LOVE the ferry!  So fast and gives you a new view of the city.  Until tomorrow…    

ejames01 says:
WOW!! Looks like so much fun!! Great pics!!
Posted on: Nov 24, 2009
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At the cable car.
At the cable car.
Cable car ride.
Cable car ride.
The Big Budda!
The Big Budda!
St. Johns Cathedral
St. John's Cathedral
View from the Peak
View from the Peak
What a view!
What a view!