Saturday, June 18, 2005
10,000 Buddha's Temple and Tap Mun Island
While Troy had to travel again for work, I decided to do more exploring on my own. I had read of a temple in the New Territories called the 10,000 Buddha’s Temple so I went to see if there were actually 10,000 Buddha’s there. (Not that I planned on counting them.)
The first challenge was finding the place. The signage around HK, whether it be for a hiking trail or for the MTR is horrible. After mistakenly walking around an Ancestral Home (graveyard for ashes) thinking I was in the right place, getting lost in a small village neighborhood, I decided to do the smart thing and ask for directions. Turns out the path leading to the temple was right around the corner from where I first started searching.
As I was walking down the path I thought I would end up at the same kind of temple that you see all around Hong Kong. As I turned the corner I immediately knew I was wrong. At the entrance of the temple, before the trek up 400 steps, are over 100 life size gold Buddha’s lining the path to the temple. What was remarkable is they were all different from each other. Different poses, facial expressions, standing, sitting, holding things, etc. I even saw one that reminded me of myself at our going away party!
These Buddha’s lead all the way to the top of the stairs to the main temple. Inside the temple are countless shelves climbing 3 stories holding the 10,000 Buddha’s that are about 6” tall. What is the most interesting fact is that, like their gold buddies outside, they are all different from each other. I also found out that there are actually over 13,000 of these small statues in the temple.
Since I had the rest of the day to kill, I decided to catch a ferry to one of the outlying islands. I thought I had a plan in mind but that was quickly trashed when I found out the island I wanted to go to was a four hour ferry ride. I ended up following an English family to an island called Tap Mun. I was feeling rather adventurous regardless of the fact that I had no idea where I was going and that I was by myself! I've done smarter things (and dumber things!)
Tap Mun is a very small island also known as Grass Island. As I walked to the back side of the island I came across breath taking views of the South China Sea and grass covered cliffs leading to the surf below. Other then the few village owners I saw when I first got off the ferry I only saw 4 other people on back side of the island. That was a little scary knowing there are no other people around, especially as I am being approached by a Chinese man. Oh wait, he’s just a friendly policeman! The path that winds around the island ended up going through a graveyard that overlooked the ocean. In Chinese culture, this is the best place for someone to be buried.
Getting back to the pier, I look at the ferry schedule and realize I have a 3 hour wait ahead of me until the next ferry comes. Long story short, I ended up taking a different ferry back to the mainland then a bus, then another bus then a subway then a bus. And I like not having a car because of why???
I started the day thinking I would be home by 2pm with time to go swimming. No... I got home at 7pm! Long day, but a good day!