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[文化博览] 【整理】2009-11-30 Smart Travels 香港篇—8

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To see Lantau’s most famous site, you’ll have to either hop a local bus, or if you want more flexibility, hire a taxi. No outside cars are allowed on the island, and even residents are restricted from driving during certain hours.

The island’s steep, interior hills hold one of Hong Kong’s premier attractions -- the Giant Buddha. Unveiled in 1993, it’s said to be the largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha in the world, and towers 112 feet high. Few statues have such a powerful impact as this enormous Buddha with its serene eyes and raised hand, ready to deliver a blessing. You have to climb some 260 steps to reach the statue, but it’s worth it.

The Buddha was built on the side of the Po Lin monastery, home to a devout community of Buddhist monks. Buddhism was introduced into China almost 2,000 years ago from India. The Chinese mingled traditional beliefs, such as Confucianism and Taoism with Buddhist principles of peace and acceptance. Buddhists seek enlightenment in order to move beyond life’s suffering, and the monks here live quiet lives of meditation.

After climbing all those steps, we are in need of a lunch break. The monastery’s only restaurant is inexpensive and strictly vegetarian. Here you’ll eat as the monks do, with tea, spring rolls, and tasty all-vegetarian dishes.

On the western side of Lantau Island, we discovered the picturesque town of Tai O. Some refer to it as “Hong Kong’s Venice” because the town features many crisscrossing waterways, and the only real transportation is by boat.
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