A summary of a great weekend – Lantau Island and Sai Wan

by mirunaandra

After having had a mix of trying to be productive and going out last week, the weekend was a total blast. First off, we came to the realization that our jetlag is only getting worse now. In the first days here we were going quite a lot out so we never actually got the time to get used to the time-zone here, but this weekend we figured out that we keep getting hungry at European hours and can’t fall asleep at night because it’s too early in Europe. Then, we just feel tired the whole day – and morning are the worse. And i’ve always loved morning, but here I so wish we could skip them.

So our weekend started off with catching up on sleep on Friday, which didn’t go as planned anyway, due to the above reason. But on Saturday we went on this kind of school trip organized by our University to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha. This is the largest outdoor Buddha in the world, and I mast say it is quite impressive. The Buddha is overlooking from a peak and there are more than 200 stairs to walk to go up – luckily, the bus took us right to the top, so we only had to walk down the stairs. The building in itself is massive, and overwhelming, but somehow I expected the interior to be more spiritual. However, it wasn’t what I expected – I had in mind a temple, but the three floors only had some art works and Buddha’s relict – a rice-sized relic though. But the legend says that if you see it, than you can see the Buddha.

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The right hand means ‘not to fear’, while the left hand means ‘share the happiness’.

After a vegetarian traditional lunch (which was not so bad afterall) we walked around for a bit in market-village and I managed to get some super nice chopsticks from a stored filled with only..chopsticks. But some models and patterns was just pure art!

The second part of the trip was to Tai O Village, which is a fishermen village. What impressed me most about this place was that it looked so different – the floating houses, the fish smell that you could feel everywhere, very simple people. The stands in the markets where filled with different kinds of dry fish (and some random cats sitting next to them) and people could also try out some traditional sweets. Disregarding the huge amount of calories, I tried out some donuts – very sweet, but quite good actually. However, they texture was different from the Romanian ‘gogoasa infuriata’, the American donuts or the Dutch oliebollen. But it was worth a try. IMG_7437 IMG_7458 IMG_7459

However, the crown jewel of the weekend was hiking and cliff diving on Sunday. We had to wake up quite early to meet the others at the MTR station in Central (so we had to catch a bus from our place to get there). And what started off with 5 people, turned out into a group of more than 20 people! We had to take a change to MTR lines, take a minibus to Sai Kung and then a taxi to this place called Sai Wan Pavilion. What I’ve learnt today about taxi drivers: never tell them before getting in the car where you want to go, they will most probably say no instantly and drive away. Thank you, sir!

Our hike started from Sai Wan Pavilion and it was quite a walk through the sun in order to get to the waterfall. The walk was quite straightforward, even though in the beginning I was afraid we will take the long trail. The hardcore part started when we actually had to climb on some rocks to get to the waterfall. The rocks were quite slippery, but I was wearing proper shoes so it was not that bad in the end. The place was full of people taking dives into the water from 8m height. I think I didn’t know what 8m looked like until I actually got up to jump off myself. Oh well, I freaked out initially. I am never an extreme sports person and I prefer to live on the safe-side of life. So, anything that seems dangerous or out of my comfort zone will scare the shit out of me. It took me a while to convince myself that I will be alive tomorrow – and my lovely friends came up to tell me that nothing can happen. And it happened – I actually jumped off a cliff! The craziest thing I did in my life and I will never regret it – i would have regretted  not doing it actually. The fall was not that bad, but the adrenaline rush was huge. But I can cross this off my bucket list now, haha! And it’s going to be a nice story to tell to my grandchildren!

After that, we walked further away to a remote, white-sand, crystal clear water beach that was literally in the middle of nowhere. So far, this has been the most amazing beach I’ve seen in my life and the water was perfect. As the hike back to where  we came from was quite long and it was getting late, we had to take a boat back to Sai Kung. The problem was that all boats were booked and we could only get on a  boat at 7.15pm, so we spent around 3 hours on the beach, but time flew quite fast. We got to see the sun setting behind the mountains – yes, you’ve read it well: mountains and beaches all in the same place. It was already really dark when we got on the boat and I felt a bit dizzy and sea-sick in the beginning, especially due to tiredness. But when we got back to the sure, we all agreed that it was definitely worth it. One thing I particularly liked is that we could see the stars up in the sky – thing which does not happen that often anyway, so it looked quite spectacular I’d say.

I am now wondering from where I am getting the energy to write this peace. It’s been a long weekend, but definitely a great one! I love it here, and the people are so much fun. But now, it’s time to turn off my laptop and take a good sleep.