Hong Kong, China – November 1999


Po Lin Monastery
Po Lin Monastery is a Buddhist retreat in western Lantau Island.
Built in 1921, it still functions as a place where Buddhist faithful abandon our “corrupted” world and seek enlightenment through mediations.

But on weekends, it is hard to imagine that anyone can find peace and harmony within the complex. The place is jammed with all kinds of
tourists. However, Buddhist faithful and monks still manage to live in
a secluded world, despite the chaos caused by the tourists. It is common for ordinary people to stay at the retreat for a week of mediations. But keep in mind, the monastery is a retreat, not a hotel.
So, do not come here because the youth hostel is full.

Meditating Buddha

The main building at the monastery is the temple. The decorations, however, are very simple. It does not mean to overwhelm visitors with the glamour of Buddhism. It does not even have the traditional atmosphere as founded in Man Mo Temple on the Hong Kong Island. So why do I recommend you to come here? Well, right next to the monastery is the largest outdoor Buddha statue in the world.

The statue along with its adjoining pedestal is about 34 meters tall. It is almost three times the size of the Great
Buddha statue in
Kamakura, Japan. The design is that of a sitting Buddha in a mediating position. The statue was completed in 1993 and the construction took ten years. You can walk up the 268 steps to the platform. There is a tiny museum where you can see all kinds of elegant
relics that you cannot find in the main temple.

Buddha statue
When you walked down from the platform, you will be treated with a nice cold beer and a plate of Peking duck at the bottom….NOT. The monastery prohibited alcohol or meat within the complex. However, you can try some of the delicious, Chinese vegetarian dishes offered at the temple.

November Calendar
If you like “Kung Fu” movies, this month is a good time for you to see
real “Kung Fu” in action. The 5th World Wushu Championships will be held from November 3rd to 7th.

There will be over 200 competitors from 70 countries. The tournament is
not a fighting competition. Instead, the performance will be judged by a panel of experts as if it is a gymnastic or a diving event. Please call tel: 2504 8226 for more information.

Facts on me
I maintain a homepage on travel photos I’ve taken from around the world.

Quirky facts
When Great Britain took over Hong Kong in 1841, Lord Palmerston, the British foreign secretary called it: “A barren island with hardly a house upon it.”

Geography

1070 sq km, divided into Kowloon peninsula, HK Island, the New Territories and the 234 outlying islands.

Accommodation
Salisbury YMCA(a 4-star hotel) offers dorm beds for about HK$200 per night(tel 2369-2211).
Chungking Mansions
SCMP Hotel Guide

Transport
From the airport:
Hong Kong Int’l Airport
HKG Gateway

Within HK:

HK Public Transportation
MTR(subway)

Money
US$ 1 = HK$ 7.60.
The best moneychangers are located in Chungking Mansions.

Links

HK Tourist Association

What’s happening in town?(link to BC Magazine)

Sightseeing

Hong Kong from A-Z

South China Morning Post

Traveler Article


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