Among all the
outlying islands, the greatest in size and possibly in atmosphere
is Lantau. With a land mass twice that of Hong Kong Island, Lantau
is still rather traditional, keeping with its rural village lifestyles.
The place is tranquil and its serenity has attracted many beleaguered
urban dwellers. Lantau is also suitable for the building of many
Christian and Buddhist monasteries.
island is larger than Hong Kong Island, its population is only about
25,000 people, thus space and peace is guaranteed. The island's
calm atmosphere is only disrupted on weekends or public holidays
by visitors seeking relief from their hectic schedules.
Lantau means 'broken head', perhaps because of its rugged dignity
that is dominated by Lantau Peak, which rises 933 meters (3,086
ft) above sea level. Lantau is now very much heard of due to the
opening of the new international airport in 1998. Chek Lap Kok international
airport is on a tiny islet called Chek Lap Kok. Also, new housing
blocks have been built in northern Lantau to house the innumerable
airport staff and airline employees. Bridges have also been linked
to the airport from Kowloon and Hong Kong. Nevertheless, even with
the rapid development on Lantau, the island continues to remain
side of Lantau features this old fortress near a bay that once curved
around the pointed southern tip of tiny Chek Lap Kok. Atop a hill
overlooking this little harbor is an old fort built in 1871. The
fort was once a barrier that protected this town and bay from smugglers,
pirates, and scoundrels. To this day, the fort still stands strong
with its six old cannons that were the bulwark of the fort.
Po Lin Monastery, located above Lantau's central mountain range,
is the region's best known attraction. The world's largest outdoor
bronze statue of a seated Buddha (24 meters (79 ft) high) was built
in this monastery. The brightly painted red-orange and gold structure
was completed in 1990. Visitors to this temple are welcomed to browse
the temple grounds and those famished can treat themselves to a
hearty vegetarian meal served by resident monks in a huge dining
Not far from
the Po Lin Monastery is a tea plantation and teahouse serving a
local-style high tea known as the Lantau Tea Garden. The teahouse
has rooms for rent, barbecue facilities, and a free camping area.
from Po Lin is a superb walking path that crosses mountain ridges,
small canyons, and rushing streams en route to Lantau's Yin Hing
Monastery. The monastery is a haven opulent with traditional Buddhist
paintings and statues. Surrounding the monastery are mountains,
farmland, and the deep blue South China Sea.
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