I’m going to be very honest when I say I’m not a big fan of cities. I don’t like crowds and abhor traffic. I don’t enjoy shopping or the nightlife as much as most people.

So when Sole Sister Stephanie and I traveled to Hong Kong earlier this year, I had some hesitations. In my mind, Hong Kong was just another big city to avoid. I can imagine busy people hurrying to the next destination. This journey might feel impersonal, alienating even.

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But one place we visited made me change my mind.

On our last day in Hong Kong, we decided to venture out on our own to see the Big Buddha statue in Po Lin Monastery. We packed our bags and luggage, took a train from Disneyland then a bus to the base of the mountain.

Steph was not a big city girl either. We both have to admit that discovering the beauty of nature in Hong Kong was a grand experience. Our bus took us to the beautifully tranquil mountains and the coast. Then we finally arrived at the base of the monastery.
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There it was from the distance, the Big Buddha. It was surrounded by this lush greenery and the fading daylight made this scene almost surreal. We felt a sense of peace- like a homecoming upon seeing this sight.

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Another beautifully familiar face that greeted us at the base of the mountain was Michelle’s. She is my former colleague back when I was working in New York days- over 4 years ago. And she just so happened to be in Hong Kong right that moment. After a few missed moments and hasty facebook coordination, we finally meet again in this most serene place.

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All three of us took a deep breath then walked up the 300 steps to the Big Buddha. Being the tourists that we were, we totally forgot to keep our stuff in a locker somewhere in the city. So I ended up carrying my luggage and Steph, her backpack up those steps too! We huffed and puffed our way to the top and were not prepared to be completely awestruck.

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You have to understand that Hong Kong weather is mostly gray and cloudy. So it was a gift that we were there on a magnificently clear day. For the first time in the 4 days we had spent there, we could see the sky! We were bathed in golden light as we stood before one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. And behind it, all we saw were lush green misty mountains.


We soaked the view in, walked around the monastery and just breathed the cool air. Stephanie and I couldn’t stop taking photos.This place just turned everything, including ourselves, into gold!
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There was no doubt in our mind that the few hours we spent at the Big Buddha was one of the highlights of our Hong Kong trip. We didn’t feel rushed or frantic. We were away from the needless concerns of city life. We were truly there- truly in the moment.

And that, is always the goal.

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Have you found serenity in some surprising places? Share your experience by commenting below!

How to Make This Trip Happen*:

- Emirates offers flights to Hong Kong via Dubai, taking you to one of Asia’s key business hubs.

- The Big Buddha is in Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Outlying Islands

- Getting There: MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take Ngong Ping Cable Car, which takes around 25 minutes. Then walk for around 10 minutes to the Monastery.

- MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take New Lantao Bus 23 from Tung Chung Town Centre, which takes around 45 minutes. Then walk for eight minutes.

- Catch ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then take New Lantao Bus 2 to Ngong Ping Village, which takes around 40 minutes.

Source: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/highlight-attractions/top-10/the-big-buddha-po-lin-monastery.jsp#ixzz2bAP8T7LR

- Alternately, you can take the cable car to the Big Buddha. Unfortunately, it was down for maintenance during that time.

- Make sure you keep your luggage at a hotel or airport locker so you don’t have to carry it around like we did.

- Filipinos do not need to secure a visa for stays of up to 14 days.

*Information is updated as of Aug 12, 2013

Some text and all photos credited to Stephanie Dandan of Satori

Feeling serene,
Sole Sister Lois

Lois has traveled extensively and has called the USA, Germany, Switzerland and the Philippines home in various stages of her life. When she's not having adventures around the globe, she can be found surfing, surfing someone's couch or giving talks, workshops and retreats. She is a certified Passion Test facilitator who believes that people can find what they love and make a living from their passions. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of wearesolesisters.com.

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One Response so far.

  1. I was there a few weeks ago and was amazed how beautiful the view is (minus the dreadful cable car ride) though i didnt get any wonderful photos like yours! Keep em comin'. :)

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