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8 Reasons to visit Tian Tan Buddha

1.  Tian Tan Buddha

The Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery are located on Lantau Island, one of the 260 odd islands making up Hong Kong.  I was in Hong Kong for a couple of weeks on business which overlapped a public holiday so I had a long weekend to myself to explore and headed out of the city.  While Lantau is an island it’s connected to mainland Hong Kong by a bridge so no boat trips are required.

Tian Tan Buddha

The Tian Tan Buddha is a statue of Amoghasiddhi Buddha who represents the wisdom of perfect practice and overcoming the poison of envy.  He is shown with his right hand raised in blessing.

2.  Cardio workout before lunch

There are 268 steps leading up to the Great Buddha from the Poh Lin Monastery below.  There are plenty of wide landings to give you space to stop and look around or pretend to take a photo or admire the view while you actually catch your breath.

Steps to the Great Buddha

Technically you don’t need to walk up, there are plenty of buses going that way but it’s just one of those things you’ll regret if you don’t do it.  It really is quite impressive climbing the stairs as the Buddha gets more and more impressive in front of you.

BTW it’s way steeper than it looks so I felt I earned my lunch!

3.  The Offerings of the Six Devas

Great Buddha Hong Kong

There are 6 smaller bronze statues around the base holding up their offerings.  These are known as ‘the offerings of the 6 Devas’.  The offerings and their symbolism are flowers (charity), incense (morality), lamp (patience), ointments (zeal), fruit (meditation) and music (wisdom), all requirements for entry to nirvana.

4.  Wonderful views from the top

Great Buddha Hong Kong

From the platforms around the Great Buddha, there are excellent views of the monastery and town below.  Unfortunately, photos are often hazy due to the smog levels in Hong Kong.  On the day we went it wasn’t clear but you could see into the hills and for a reasonable distance.

5.  Po Lin Monastery Gate

Gate Po Lin Monastery

The formal gate to Poh Lin Monastery is very impressive.  Normally you are able to enter through the gate to the temple but it was roped off when we arrived.  Once we got inside we realised there was an ordination ceremony taking place that day and possibly that was the reason.

6.  Ordination Ceremony

Po Lin Monastery

A ceremony was taking place at the temple of Po Lin Monastery. We were fortunate in our timing in arriving at the monastery as the novices and monks waited there before entering the temple.  There were clearly some proud family members in the crowd.

7.  The Monastery Temple

With an official ceremony underway, we weren’t able to enter the temple itself.  I joined an organised tour on this day because I was travelling alone and as usual wished I had made my own travel arrangements.  While I enjoyed meeting a few people and exchanging travel stories I would have liked to stay here longer.  In reality, I’m much better to set my own pace and accept that I don’t go as many places in a day but I do get to really experience them.

8.  A top spot for lunch

Restaurant at Po Lin Monastery

The lunch at Po Lin Monastery restaurant was exceptional.  On the tour we had the deluxe lunch included, our group were seated together at large tables but there were options for couples and smaller groups.  The service was efficient and the food absolutely wonderful. I’d definitely recommend planning your day around having a meal there and going with the deluxe menu option which was still extremely good value.

NB:  It’s a monastery so the food is fully vegetarian.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Po Lin and would definitely return to Lantau on a future trip but next time allow myself to explore on my own.  Some of the walking trails over here looked really good too.

Do you enjoy visiting religious sites of other cultures in your travels? 

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Thursday 6th of February 2020

Wonderful post! You remind again my Hong Kong Tour Nobody can't come from Hong Kong without visit Tian tan buddha. Am i right?


Friday 6th of April 2018

Your article brought back many happy memories of my visit to this statue and monastery. I also had a delicious lunch there.?


Friday 9th of January 2015

I've been to the Buddha twice now. I love how photogenic he is and how he looks different depending on the weather. The first time we went it was blue skies and the second time it was very cloudy/foggy. Both made for very different photos. I ate at the monastery restaurant. We ordered lots of faux meat dishes and they were amazing. The roast "duck" we ordered had the texture of duck skin imprinted into the "meat".


Thursday 8th of January 2015

Just thought I'd let you know (if you didn't see already) that we featured this post as a favourite from last month's linkup. The January linkup is now live too. Would love to see you there again if you haven't linked up already. :)


Saturday 13th of December 2014

Wow, this looks awesome!! I definitely want to go there!! I find we do often visit religious sites from religions different to our own when we travel. They are often some of the best preserved places!

Thanks for linking up with #wanderlust! Hope to see you link up again from the next one on Jan 7th. :)

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