Hike to Tian Tan Buddha ("Big Buddha")

Hong Kong Tian Tan Buddha

Added by Michael Gabbert

This escape from the craziness of Hong Kong is an amazing cultural experience. The hiike itself is very rewarding with great views.

Located on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, the Tian Tan Buddha is the central figure of the Po Lin Monastery and the major center of Buddhism in Hong Kong. Despite being a major tour attraction and inherently quite busy, the trek of the ‘Big Buddha’ is one to experience.

The easiest way to get to the right spot is by subway. Take the MRT subway to the Tung Chung stop. At this point you have 3 options:

1) Take the Cable Car. This option is the fastest at about 20-25 minutes (not including the wait time). Cost is $16-20 USD. You have the option for a glass bottom gondola which is more expensive yet not worth the extra cost.
2) Take a Bus. This option takes about 30-40 minutes and costs $2.50 USD.
3) Hike!

The hike takes about 2.5 to 3.5 hrs and is 6 miles long all on a well-maintained trail (note: you can choose the gondola or bus on the way back if desired). To get to the trail can be a tricky endeavor. Once you exit the MRT station @ Tung Chung follow the bike trail signs. Note that this will point you away from the signs pointing others towards the cable car entrance.

Follow the bike trail until you see a tunnel with 2 arrows pointing into it. There are several of these but the correct one is marked with mosaic art on the side. This tunnel will lead you to the main road (Yu Tung Road) where you’ll take a right. You’ll see a cluster of red/blue/purple signs, go right here. At this point you’ll continue to follow the bike path until you see a bridge. Do not go on the bridge but instead take the trail just to the right of the bridge. Follow this path and you’ll take a left into in the first fork in the road (there will be chain link fence in this area) and a right in the second fork you see (continuing along the chain link fence). After a sort walk you’ll encounter a set of 6 signs, 3 pointing right and 3 pointing left. Go right. Continue down this path and you’ll cross over water on a bridge with green railings. At this point you’ll continue down this path until you finally encounter the trailhead! The distance and time to get here is actually quite quick but can be confusing with many wrong turn options.

At many points on this trail, you’ll pass right under the cable cars, but not all of it is directly below. Don’t worry! Even when you depart from the cable car route you are still on the right path. This option might be longer and tougher, but the panoramic views and fantastic hiking make it well worth the effort.

Once at the Big Buddha, be sure to hike up the 250 stairs to the Buddha for great views and great people watching. See how many selfie sticks you can see. Its entertaining. Also, explore the surrounding monastery. It’s a gorgeous area.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Water (if hiking)
  • Hiking Boots
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Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



6 Miles



Family Friendly
Food Nearby

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How to Get There

5 months ago

OK Experience

You won't escape the tourists crowds of Hong Kong, but it is cool to see the Buddha if that's what you're in to. Nothing else like it in the West. If you don't want to hike or pay for the cable car there is an air conditioned bus leaving from the Tung Chung MTR stop as well, No. 23. It takes about 45 minutes but you get to see a lot more of the island. I didn't spend much time at the Big Buddha myself, but I'd recommend pairing it with a hike up Lan Tau Peak (HK's second highest) to make it a worthwhile day! The trail up Lan Tau Peak begins in the same area as the Big Buddha (post forthcoming...)

5 months ago

Added by Michael Gabbert

Minnesotan living in Seattle. Email: mjgabbert@gmail.com

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