Flyover – The World’s Tallest Bronze Goddess of Mercy (Tsz Shan Monastery, Hong Kong)

Newly opened 5 days ago on 15th April 2015, this is the world’s tallest bronze Goddess of Mercy (觀音). Located at Tsz Shan Monastery (慈山寺) at Universal Gate Road (普門路), Tai Po District, Hong Kong, this is a mega-project funded by Hong Kong’s very own tycoon, Li Ka-Shing.

Standing at 76m, the statue stands on a lush tranquil hillside at the foot of 純陽峰, overlooking Plover Cove Reservoir (船灣). The $193 million monastery took 5 years to complete. To maintain the peacefulness and tranquility of the attraction, daily visitorship is kept at 400. Admission is free but visitors must make reservation online (http://booking.tszshan.org/) one week to a month in advance to visit this monastery. Visitors must also be 18 and above and they are not allowed to bring joss sticks, meat and alcohol into the compound.

As we didn’t know that we have to make reservation beforehand, my dad, Uncle Bok and I travelled a long way to Tai Po this evening. Fortunately, I had my DJI Inspire 1 drone with me and we managed to take a quick 5-minute overhead cruise 100m around the attraction. Despite the low lighting condition (as the sun was setting), I managed to capture a beautiful aerial footage of the monastery and the reservoir. Thanks to the possibility of the drone, I was able to capture the view where the Goddess of Mercy was facing. It was simply mesmerising. Enjoy the video.

You can’t imagine this is Hong Kong (A Supernova Volcano 140 million years ago)

This morning, Tracy and I took a special boat trip (Geopark Tour) back in time to the early Cretaceous Period (about 140 million years ago) where Sai Kung volcanic rock regions were formed. Identified only in early 2010, Hong Kong was once part of a supernova volcano which had broken apart into multiple rocky islands over 140 million years. These beautiful islands were neglected for ages and it was only in 2009 when Hong Kong officially formalised the listing of the Geopark regions for on-going conservation, education and sustained development.

We boarded the vessel at Sai Kung Pier and traveled 15km out in the foggy sea where mysterious gigantic rock columns and sea caves greeted us. Terrain unlike any other, High Island Geopark’s spectacular hexagonal rocks bears a striking resemblance to those alienated worlds in the sci-fi movies.  The entire tour took around 5 hours, over 30km on boat and 3km on foot. Due to popular demand and the recent wet weathers, we waited about 4 months for this tour (we booked our tickets back in December 2013!). The tour leader gave us a rich lesson on geography and history. We were shown different types of rock formations and fault lines. We also visited 2 different villages at Yim Tin Tsai island (鹽田仔) and Pak Lap Wan (白臘灣) where we saw one of the most beautiful beaches with the clearest water in Hong Kong.

It is amazing to see such an extraordinary world so close to metropolitan Hong Kong. For HKD300/pax (with lunch included), I say this is a great natural education treat for everyone! This should be part of every tourist’s itinerary to Hong Kong.

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