TOWARDS the end of 2015, i was craving for some adventure, travel and a whole lot of photography. I was 19 years old then and had always dreamed of travelling on my own term; own schedule, own destination and of course, with my own savings.

I roped in a friend and within a month, we got our air tickets, AIRBNB accommodation and itinerary all booked and planned. OFF WE WENT!

Tai-O Fishing Village was our first destination. Tai O is home to the Tanka people, a community of fisher folk who’ve built their houses on stilts above the tidal flats of Lantau Island for generations. These unusual structures are interconnected, forming a tightly knit community that literally lives on the water. (HongKongTourismBoard)

The weather was great that day with beautiful blue sky. Nothing beats starting a trip with a great first day! Stilt houses along the river. We casually wandered into areas without plans or whatsoever. Our instinct took over. Whatever attracted us, our legs wandered in response and our mind took in everything…slowly.

The calm and quiet morning made our stroll a meditative one. The soft and gentle morning rays were warming up the chilly hills to the best of their ability as the drifting clouds playfully absorbed the rays for themselves, evaporating into nothingness.

We cut through multiple alleyways to explore the residential areas, the ‘real’ Tai-O.

We stumbled upon this quiet residential area and inactivity seems to be the norm. Stray dogs roamed and there were some occasional trolley action. Nobody seemed to mind our intrusion into their peaceful village life.

Getting lost in the residential areas, not a single tourist to be found. In between these buildings, time flowed a little differently…

The people here move a little differently too!

Always with a smile!

We strayed into a private residential area by accident and my friend got severely barked at by a domestic dog. The owner didn’t even turn to look back, just weaving his ropes like it was the most natural thing to do. We managed to get out of the sticky situation by slowly backing away, maintaining eye contact with the dog, careful not to agitate it with sudden/spastic movements.

As time drifted with the clouds, we weren’t even sure if we were in Hong Kong. Neon signboards jutting out of cramped, compact buildings with trams running parallel in the middle of narrow roads, the scenes we saw in movies were nowhere to be found.

As noon approaches, we made our way to Ngong Ping Village, the place where the Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha) resides. The statue is sited near Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith. Sign reads 南天佛国 (right to left) which means ‘The Buddhist World in the South’. The Tian Tan Buddha at the top right corner.

Visitors have to brave the 268 steps stair to get a closer view of the Bronze Buddha, that is the only way up! Well, as they say, there is no shortcut in cultivation.

This bronze statue is huge! The perspective you get when you’re right under its nose with your neck cranked upwards is humbling. You might even lose your balance and fall backwards!

Monk praying to the Bronze Statue.

A Nun was also spotted.

Framed up shot of a temple.

It was a pleasant day out here amidst the lush greeneries. The temperature was comfortably cool for a nice stroll and the wind here was (much to my liking) rather strong. We took the cable car back to the MTR station and the ride was crazy! The whole cabin would shake time to time due to the strong winds!

We opted for the crystal cabin (with see through platform). It costed more but was worth every penny.

Hiking trail for the courageous!

I have never thought much about cable car rides and wasn’t particularly excited to get on one but this one was amazing. There were ventilation slits on the cabin for air flow and you can experience how strong the winds are just inches outside the metal cabin. The whole cable car ride lasted for about 25 minutes and was longer than expected. It was a scenic ride and i throughly enjoyed the experience.