Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hong Kong: New and old

Most of us think of Hong Kong as a city of skyscrapers, and if you're staying on the Kowloon side of the city, that's mostly what you'll see. But stay on the Hong Kong side, and you'll be surrounded by patches of garden.

Better yet, head to Lantau.

Hong Kong actually is made up of more than 200 islands. Lantau is the biggest, at about 250,000 square kilometers.

The new airport, opened a decade ago, is here, and so is Disneyland. But much of the island is still protected -- the only private cars allowed are those owned by Lantau residents -- and coming here is like plunging into a forest.

Lantau is also home to the world's largest outdoor bronze sitting Buddha statue, which measures in at more than 250,000 tons and 100 feet high, and even in today's pouring rain is something to see. The vegetarian restaurant nearby is run by the Lin Po monastery monks, who once lived in seclusion but now see that tourism can be a lucrative thing.

Tai-O is a fishing village that retains much of its local culture -- mostly in the form of dried fish, dried seahorses, dried starfish, dried mussels ... just about any and everything that comes from the local sea that can be dried. Like so many traditional places, the village is shrinking; the local seas are getting fished out, and young people want a more contemporary life. And who can blame them? Still, you hate to see the old ways die.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jane,

I'd recommend these videos for Hong Kong's highlights

http://www.geobeats.com/videoclips/alldestinations/china/hong-kong