More often than not, the journey is more enjoyable then the final destination. Undoubtedly you set out on a journey in search of thrills and on reaching the end you are enchanted; but the fun you have had on your way can not be explained in words. This is what explains our 6th day in HONG KONG. We had fun at ‘The Peak’ and ‘Big Budha’ on ‘Lantau Island’ what we really enjoyed was the journey to reach the two places.
The first destination was the Big Budha, as the best time for going at the peak is evening just before dark. The peak offers a good view of the complete city; so just before dark you can have the view in the natural light first and then with the entire city lighten up.
For reaching Lantau Island we took a cable car. Unlike India it is not a small cable car ride, which finishes before it begins. It was a long journey of almost 35-40 minutes; going above mountains, looking at different islands, sea, airport etc from above was spectacular. Then at that height fast blowing wind was moving the cable car like a swing; a big box we were sitting in, which was moving like pendulum at huge height, at some point we actually felt that it will fall. It was both thrilling and fun; not to mention scary too. I don’t know after getting down from the cable car we were more excited because of reaching there or because of the big swing ride we just had.
The picturesque mountainous Lantau Island has the biggest bronze statue of Budha, 34 meters tall. Once at the top after climbing huge number of stairs and running out of air, you actually feel juices were worth the squeeze. The panoramic view which we saw there was unbeatable. With cool breeze blowing, we felt relaxed and rejuvenated on seeing the greenery around; as I say near to nature.
Along with the statue there is Po Lin Monastery on the island. Both the Budha and the Monastery are nice place to visit. There is a meal coupon available for the monastery café; the same meal coupon is also the ticket to go up on the big Budha. The authentic Chinese meal at the monastery is a must, and we could only dare to try it because the monastery is pure vegetarian [my younger brother and cousin are pure vegetarian but am omnivores. Before going to HONG KONG I used to claim I can eat anything; but now I can eat anything except Chinese non-veg food].
Although meant for one, we three together were not able to finish one meal [the Chinese food in HONG KONG is completely different from what we have here. Here we have Indianised version with all the spices in it; but original Chinese food is totally bland. Just plain boiled vegetables with a hint of salt or some sugar or some soup; the idea is to preserve the original taste of the food item by not doing a lot to it. On the contrary in India what we have is taste of spices. You put paneer in the curry we have ‘Shahi Paneer’; if you put chicken in the same curry, we have ‘Butter Chicken’]. So the meal at the monastery was great fun, trying our luck with the chop sticks and knowing what actual Chinese food is about.
After Big Budha our next stop was the Peak. As the name suggests it is hill top and there is Madame Tussaud wax museum and mall. The rooftop of the mall is the peak. From there the entire HONG KONG is visible and it makes for another splendid view of the entire city. After sunset when the light is getting dimmer every moment the entire city starts lighting up in different colours; tall buildings glowing one adjacent to other, one behind the other is a must watch. But as I said in the beginning the journey to the peak is equally fun.
There is a 120 years old tram which takes us to the hill top. This is no ordinary circling toy train journey in the mountains. The tram track is straight and inclined, almost at an angle of 30 degrees if not more. While sitting in the tram and going at this angle all the skyscrapers appeared to be tilted, which actually caught us by surprise not just while going up, but while coming down as well.
P.S. both these places require a clear day to visit. We waited for Thursday as the weather prediction was of a clear sky; but to our dismay [and God knows whose delight] there was a little cloud cover especially after dark; still the day was complete fun.
Next day was earlier planned for a Macau visit; but as lazy we are! We were not ready by 12 noon so instead decided to try our hand at ice skating. After initial few falls [thank God we did not had any injured knees or elbows] we did pretty well, and I don’t think I need to mention it was great fun too. Tomorrow we will be heading to Macau as our final destination before leaving HONG KONG and I was very excited about world’s highest bungee jumping spot of height 233 meters at Macau tower.