Lantau Island is Hong Kong's biggest island and home to the famed Tian Tan Buddha or Giant Buddha.
The island's verdant landscape, with rolling mountains and deep valleys, is a stark contrast to Hong Kong Island's massive skyscrapers. And instead of muscling your way through bustling sidewalks and streets, there's nary a crowd at all, save for the few wandering cattle who dare to cross the road. It's definitely a welcome respite from the city's fast-paced lifestyle, and a must-see for travelers who want to experience a more natural setting, as opposed to the city's manmade structures.
Lantau Island is so named for its "ragged head"—the numerous peaks and valleys that populate the island. About 75% of Lantau is a park, and before the construction of Hong Kong Disneyland (in the northeast corner of the island) and the adjacent Hong Kong International Airport, it was home to sleepy fishing villages.
Today, it is home to some 45,000 residents, a marked difference from Hong Kong Island's 1 million-plus inhabitants.
Ngong Ping is the site of the Giant Buddha. The sculpture is the world's largest, seated outdoor bronze Buddha, at about 85 ft/26 m tall. His right hand is raised to deliver blessings, and his head is bent slightly forward, as though he were looking down to greet the visitors climbing upward to see him.
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