Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Sun July 31 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | July 31, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Lantau Island: Hong Kong’s Enchanting Escape

    Lantau Island: Hong Kong’s Enchanting Escape

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    Hong Kong is certainly more well-known for its skyscrapers, busy concrete streets and sizzling street food stalls than its collection of islands.

    Remarkably, though, the territory turns out to be home to over 200 of them.

    I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

    The largest of these isles is Lantau Island, and if you are looking for a change of pace from the hustle-and-bustle-centric sections of Hong Kong (I’m looking at you Hong Kong Island and Kowloon) while you’re there next, Lantau is definitely the place to go.

    READ MORE: 6 Things To Do On A Quick Trip To Hong Kong

    Lantau Island is awash in lush mountains, golden beaches, and plenty of intriguing cultural and leisure pursuits to impress every type of traveler, and here are a few of the finest.

    The Hong Kong High Line

    While there are multiple ways to arrive on Lantau Island, there’s only one real direction to go once you get there, and that’s up. The Ngong Ping 360 is a spectacular cable-car ride that sets off from Tung Chung, a sleepy village turned Lantau residential hotspot, providing breathtaking views of the island’s coast and its misty mountainous spine. At the terminus of your journey, you are only a few steps from the Tian Tan statue, or as everyone else calls it…

    The Big Man Up Some Stairs

    This statue has only been around since the ‘90s, but it has already become iconic on the Hong Kong tourist circuit. Tipping the scales at over 250 tons and standing well over 100 feet high, the “Big Buddha” on Lantau Island is, by all accounts, the largest outdoor bronze “sitting Buddha” in the world. As these things tend to go, I’d be willing to bet there’s someone out there planning a bigger one as we speak, so the time to get there is now.

    The detail on Buddha and a set of surrounding smaller statues is downright entrancing, and its coastal backdrop makes it unforgettable. You can admire it from afar, or scale the 200-plus steps to see it up close. If you do, you will have worked up an appetite, but luckily there’s some friendly monks serving up some tantalizing food right next door.

    The Po Lin Monastery

    PHOTO: The Po Lin Monastery

    A place of pilgrimage for the devout and those who simply enjoy marvelous meat-free meals, the Po Lin Monastery sits adjacent to the Big Buddha, and has become nearly as acclaimed.

    Once upon a time, the monastery was only visited by the intrepid traveler set, but when our big friend “BB” arrived, it didn’t take long at all for the word to spread like wildfire about the tranquil grounds and delicious vegetarian dishes. Crowds can be big, but I promise it’s worth wading through them, as your taste buds won’t believe what these monks are doing with tofu and eggplant.

    READ MORE: The 4 Best Hong Kong Bars With a View

    Traditional Tai O

    A fishing village famous for being “built on stilts,” a trip to Tai O will take you back in time. Stilted houses used to be commonplace all over Hong Kong, but Tai O is the last remaining enclave and it’s populated by a once-nomadic people who still make their living as fishermen. Seafood is certainly king here — they are especially famous for their aromatic shrimp paste — and no trip to the village is complete without a pungent purchase. 

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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