It was 463 stairs to the top of the Duomo in Florence, 129 steps to the peak of the St. Simons Lighthouse in Georgia and now there are 268 stairs to reach Hong Kong’s Tian Tan, the Big Buddha. Isn’t Hong Kong known for the longest outdoor escalator in the World? Couldn’t they figure this one out?

Fine. I’ll agree to another upward adventure, but only because a missed opportunity makes me ache inside. Even one that may require an inhaler.

At 34 metres (112 Ft) feet tall, Tian Tan is one of the largest sitting Buddha’s in the world. Maybe not quite the biggest, but certainly breathtaking.
Big Buddhe from Afar

Before actually climbing the stairs to Big Buddha you have to get its location on Lantau Island and there weren’t many options. You can take a bus, make a strenuous hike uphill or ride the 3.5 mile Npong Ping Cable Car that suspends you high above the ground. Not like the cable cars in San Francisco. At all.

It definitely ain’t for the acrophobic, but buses make Peter motion sick and if I am complaining about the impending stairs, hiking just isn’t gonna happen. Option 3 please.
Ngong Ping Hong Kong Cable Car

This was one ride that could have been 20 mph faster. Water to the left, water to the right, water to the…okay I get it we are suspended above a lot of freakin’ water. On more than one occasion, during the 25 minute ride, the thought of plummeting to my death did occur. But, the cable car dropped us off right at Npong Village, unscathed.

You could see Buddha lurking from afar, but that wasn’t close enough for me.
Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong

We hydrated at the local Starbucks (yep, it is just that touristy) prior to the uphill journey commencement. An iced vanilla latte has to help with stamina.

My climb game plan was simple; slow, steady and one step at a time, while Peter thought it would be smarter to “rip it off like a Band-Aid”, taking two stairs at a once. Wait for me at the top.

Turns out that one step at a time wasn’t quite slow enough, so every set of fourteen stairs there was also a convenient “photo break”. Sometimes the lens cap wasn’t even removed.
Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong

Annette White at Tian Tan BuddhaThe Stairs to Big Buddha

As always, the lung gasping and jittery legs were worth the spectacular view. It is difficult to grasp the immense size of all 250 metric tons of the Tian Tan Buddha unless you are up close and personal.
Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong

Tian Tan Big BuddhaStatues at Big Buddha

Now, excuse me, but there is a cable car ride back down to contend with…

Would you have taken the cable car or the bus to Big Buddha? Is seeing Tian Tan on your bucket list?

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