Po Lin Monastery

On this trip, I read somewhere that about 80% of Hong Kong is undeveloped. You’d never know it if you spent time in the traditional tourist areas on the Island or Kowloon, both of which are uniformly tall. when I first visited Hong Kong in the early 1990s, Mong Kok was the most densely populated area in the world, with a density equivalent to shoving New York City into Central Park.

The Po Lin Monastery is in a remote area of Lantau island. The MTR stops well short of the monastery. Many guides will tell you that you need to ride a bus from Tung Chung station, but there’s a new cable car that goes almost straight there over the mountains and takes about a third of the time (though it costs five times as much).

The most famous attraction is the gigantonormous Tian Tan Buddha, shown here with humans to make its immense scale obvious:

Tian Tan Buddha

More in the Po Lin gallery. There’s more to the monastery than the Buddha. A short walk over a paved trail will bring you to the Wisdom Path, a poem carved into tree trunks arranged in a figure-8 loop.

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