The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery – What to see, Transport, & Nearby Attractions

The Big Buddha, or Tian Tan Buddha (CN: 天壇大佛), is a giant bronze statue of Buddha located beside Po Lin Monastery (寶蓮禪寺) on Lantau Island near to Nong Ping 360 and not far from Hong Kong International Airport. It is one of the top ten attractions of Hong Kong offering not only the amazing statue and beautiful temple but also amazing mountain views and scenic nature walks.

Nong Ping Village, Po Lin Monastery and temple, and the Big Buddha are located together on the highlands of western Lantau at Nong Ping. They can be reached by bus or the Nong Ping 360 cable car from Tung Chung (detailed transport guide at the bottom of page).

Once at Nong Ping village, to reach the Big Buddha you climb up the 268 steps and can then wander around the perimeter of Tian Tan (alter of heaven) and the Big Buddha who sits atop, taking in the scale of it all, the views over Lantau Island, and the six smaller bronze statues which surround Tian Tan and the Big Buddha.

Your climb should begin from Di Tan (Altar of Earth), the large circular altar which sits in line with the staircase leading to Tian Tan (Altar of Earth) and the Big Buddha.

At the foot of the steps, there is a ticket booth selling combo meal tickets for the inner halls of Tian Tan and to the Po Lin monastery restaurant. Note, no ticket or fee is required to visit the Big Buddha or monastery. This ticket is for the section inside Tian Tan (the alter the Big Buddha sits on) and the restaurant meal, while I suggest you do both, you can buy the ticket now or later it doesn’t make any difference.

You can pay HK$45 for entry to the inner section plus a snack set, or pay HK$110 for the general meal or HK$150 for the deluxe meal.

While there are 268 steps to reach the Buddha, old and young seem to have not too much trouble. As mentioned once you reach here on a clear day you’ll have some amazing views over Lantau’s lush mountains along with being up close with the giant Buddha.

The six deities statues that surround are making an offering to the Buddha by representing the ‘six excellent practices’ being generosity, self-discipline, patience, effort, meditation, and wisdom. Look in their hands and you will see them offering this in the form of flowers, scents, light, ointment, fruits, and music.

Beneath the actual Big Buddha statue you can go inside the altar to the first inner section freely to view souvenirs and to go into the next inner section you’ll need to show the combo ticket you purchased at the entry booth. If you didn’t buy a ticket at the entry, don’t worry, you can also buy the same combo ticket here.

Inside you will find the Merit Hall and a spiral staircase that leads up to the Hall of Realm of Reality, and then the Memorial Hall. Here you will get to see the five-hundred-year-old wooden carved statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, the giant bell, relics, and some beautiful artworks.

After descending the 268 stairs, you can enter the adjacent Po Lin Monastery which was founded in 1906. On the way, you pass the Mountain Gate, Bahunia Park, and the Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda which contains the Four Heavenly Kings with Buddha Maitreya and Bodhisattva Skanda at the center.

After passing through the Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda you are now looking at the main courtyard and Main Shrine Hall of Buddha.

Here is where you will also find the Vegetarian Kitchen and the cafe (open: 11:30 am to 4:30 pm). Here you can redeem the tickets you purchased earlier of buy snacks as you wish. The smaller cafe is popular for its dim sum, bean curd snack, mango mochi, and the peanut mochi is also nice. There is also a ticket office here for buying meal tickets for the main restaurant if you did not buy it already. Same goes for the cafe, if you didn’t buy a ticket already, don’t worry, just pick out what you like from the deli and pay.

The Po Lin Monastery features 9 halls, a library, a park, a garden, a lotus pond, and pagodas. It also houses a Qianlong Tripitaka which is an official Buddhist canonical publication from the Qing dynasty gifted by the Buddhist Association of China.


After the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery

After, you have many options.

Nong Ping Village

Ngong Ping Village is a themed tourist village featuring shopping, dining and three themed attractions being VR 360, Motion 360 and Walking with Buddha. There is around 12 restaurants and cafes here including local Cantonese fare, Starbucks, Subway, sushi, and Japanese noodles. there are also several souvenir and craft shops.

Note: It is also from here that you take the buses back down the mountain or the cable car.

Wisdom Path

You can go for an easy 15 min walk to Wisdom Path and enjoy nature and the mountain views.

Wisdom Path


Nei Lak Shan/Lantau Trail

After Wisdom Path you can return or continue on from that and take the Nei Lak Shan Trail/Lantau Trail for a mountain view of the Big Buddha, the surrounding mountains, the cable cars, and even the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. There are a lot of well-maintained hiking trails and even campsites in the area. See here for more: and search Lantau Trail.

Here is a 60-90 min trail that takes the paved path up to the Wisdom Path area and then a bush trail after that including some mild upward and downward slope all with steps. It affords the amazing views over Po Lin, the Big Buddha, Nong Ping Village, the mountains, and cable car. You can even walk to a viewpoint of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. Note: there are no lights on this trail, no stores, etc, it is a country park trail.


Hong Kong Big Buddha FAQs

  • Big Buddha was completed in 1993 as an extension to the existing Po Lin Monastery
  • Inspiration for building the statue came from a visit to the Buddha statue of Kamakura (Japan) and the Buddha statue in Zhanghua (Taiwan)
  • The base of the statue is modeled on Tian Tan (Altar of Heaven) in Beijing, thus the naming
  • The statue weighs 250 tonnes and is 34 meters tall
  • The statue is made of bronze pieces mounted to a steel skeleton
  • Buddha’s face was modeled after the Buddha Vairocana of the Longmen Caves in China
  • Buddha’s face was cast in one-piece measuring 4.3 meters by 5.8 meters and is 13mm thick weighing 5 tonnes.
  • The original 1:5 scale plaster model was created by the artist Ms Hou Jinhui
  • Every feature has a symbolic meaning of religious significance
  • It holds claim to being the largest seated Buddha statue in the world

Po Lin Temple main hall

Features of Po Lin Monastery

  1. Di Tan (Altar of Earth) is situated at the foot of Mount Muk Yue. From here you can walk up the steps to Big Buddha
  2. Tian Tan (Altar of Heaven) and Big Buddha Statue
  3. Mountain Gate and the Literary Couplet – a traditional Chinese arch or gate
  4. Bauhinia Park
  5. Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda – the main entrance to the monastery
  6. Scripture Library which houses the Qianlong Tripitaka, consisting of 7,173 volumes, produced in Qing Dynasty during the time 1735 AD to 1738 AD.
  7. Guest hall
  8. Reception Pavilion – resting spot
  9. Main Shrine Hall of Buddha – The hall enshrines Buddhas of Three Worlds, Buddha Sakyamuni of our World in the middle, Buddha Bhaisajyaguru (Master of Healing) on the left, and Buddha Amitabha (Buddha of Unlimited Light and Life Spans) on the right.
  10. Hall of Arhats – which also enshrines Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, Bodhisattva Manjusri, and Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.
  11. Lotus Pond – 6 metre pond containing fish and planted with lotus
  12. Fat Ho Memorial Hall and Vegetarian Kitchen
  13. The Hall of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
  14. Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas
  15. Ch’an Hall (Meditation Hall)
  16. Po Lin Hall – a place for celebrations and functions
  17. Orchid Garden
  18. Pagoda of the Lotus Sutra
  19. Pagoda of the Flower Ornament Sutra
  20. Buddha Square
  21. Cauldron – the Reunification Cauldron was made to commemorate the return of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China


Opening Hours

  • Tian Tan Big Buddha – Monday to Sunday (including public holidays) 10 am to 5:30 pm
  • Po Lin Monastery – Monday to Sunday (including public holidays) 8 am to 6 pm
  • Vegetarian Kitchen and Cafe – Monday to Friday (except public holidays) 11:30 am to 4:30 pm Saturday, Sunday & public holidays 11:30 am to 7:00 pm


Getting to Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery and Ngong Ping Village

All of these options land you at Ngong Ping Village and from there it is an easy walk to Di Tan (Altar of Earth) where you can then climb the stairs to the statue and the monastery.

Option 1

Take Lantau Bus No. 23 at the bus station outside MTR Tung Chung Station to Ngong Ping Bus Terminus. the bus ride takes about 45 minutes and schedules for Tung Chung to Nong Ping/schedules for Nong Ping to Tung Chung. The buses are air-conditioned, modern and smooth with some views along the way. Weekday Fare: HK$17.2  Holiday Fare: HK$27.0

At Tung Chung, the station for bus 23 is located across the road from CityGate, you walk through the bus station under the building then out and straight across the road to a large open bus parking area. If you look left you’ll see the Nong Pong Cable Car building and you should see the sign for the 23 bus straight ahead or to your right. As of Jan 2020, this is a temporary bus stop, it may change again later.

Option 2

Take the Ngong Ping Cable Car ( at the Cable Car Station outside MTR Tung Chung Station. The cable car takes around 25 minutes. Klook has been offering discounted tickets from HK$129

Option 3

Take First Ferry from Central Pier to Mui Wo, and then take Lantau Bus No.2 to Ngong Ping Bus Terminus. Ferry travel time about 50 minutes and bus traveling time about 35 minutes. Ferry schedule here and bus schedule here. Ferry HK$15-38 and bus Weekday Fare: HK$17.2 / Holiday Fare: HK$27.0

Near Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha

At the top, there are several other mostly commercial attractions and shops

  • Walking With Buddha (與佛同行) – a commercial multimedia attraction that follows the life of Buddha (part of Ngong Ping 360)
  • Ngong Ping Village (昂坪市集) – a commercial area featuring Starbucks etc. and many cafe/souvenir shops.
  • Ngong Ping Nature Centre (昂坪自然中心) – exhibition on Lantau Island and its natural features
  • Wisdom Path (心經簡林) – Path lined with 38 wooden monuments inscribed with the Heart Sutra prayer & offering sea views.
  • Ngong Ping Campsite (昂坪營地)
  • Numerous hiking trails and other smaller temples


Near MTR Tung Chung Station


Nearby Hotel Pick

Novotel Citygate Hong Kong – the four-star hotel is minutes walk from MTR Tung Chung and CityGate Outlets offering gym, pool, restaurant, and bar plus an airport shuttle. It is only minutes walk from Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Station and the Lantau Bus 23 stop.


Ngong Ping, Hong Kong


Wikipedia Says

The statue’s base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. One of the five large Buddha statues in China, it is enthroned on a lotus on top of a three-platform altar. Surrounding it are six smaller bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas” that are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These symbolise the Six Perfections of generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment.

The statue is 34 metres (112 ft) tall, weighs over 250 metric tons (280 short tons), and was constructed from 202 bronze pieces. In addition to the exterior components, there is a strong steel framework inside to support the heavy load. Reputedly the figure can be seen across the bay from as far away as Macau on a clear day.

Visitors have to climb 268 steps to reach the Buddha, though the site also features a small winding road for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped. The Buddha’s right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction, while the left rests open on his lap in a gesture of generosity. He faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues, as all others face south.

There are also three floors beneath the statue: the halls of the Universe, of Benevolent Merit and of Remembrance. One of the most renowned features inside is a relic of Gautama Buddha, consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. Only visitors who purchase an offering for the Buddha are allowed to see the relic, entering to leave it there. There is a huge carved bell inscribed with images of Buddhas in the showroom. It was designed to ring every seven minutes, 108 times a day, symbolising the release of 108 kinds of human vexations.


The Big Buddha was constructed beginning in 1990, and was finished on 29 December 1993, which the Chinese reckon as the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment. When the statue was completed, monks from around the world were invited to the opening ceremony. Distinguished visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the United States all took part in the proceedings.

Sources: PLM and Wikipedia

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