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You can ride a cable car and take 268 steps to Tian Tang. Big Buddha.

There were 463 steps to reach the Duomo in Florence and 129 to reach the St. Simons Lighthouse in Georgia. Now there are 268 stairs that lead to Hong Kong’s Tian Tan. Hong Kong is known for having the longest outdoor escalator anywhere in the World. They couldn’t have figured this one out.

Fine. Yes, I will agree to another uphill adventure. But only because it makes me feel numb inside. Even one that might require an inhaler.

Tian Tan, at 34m (112 ft) tall, is the tallest sitting Buddha in the world. Although not the largest, it is certainly one of the most beautiful.

There weren’t many options before you can climb the steps to Big Buddha. There are three options: you can either take a bus or hike uphill, or you can ride the Npong Ping Cable Car which suspends your feet high above the ground. It’s not like the cable cars of San Francisco. Not at all.

Although it’s not for the acrophobic, buses can make Peter sick. If I complain about the impending steps, hiking isn’t going to happen. Please choose option 3.

This ride could have been 20 mph quicker. Water to the left, to the right, and water to our feet. During the 25-minute ride, I was tempted to plummet to my death on more than one occasion. The cable car brought us safely to Npong Village.

Although you could see Buddha from afar I couldn’t get close enough to him.

Before we started the uphill journey, we rehydrated at our local Starbucks (yes, it is that touristy). A vanilla latte iced with milk is a great way to boost your stamina.

My climb strategy was easy: slow, steady, one step at time. Peter though it would be more smart to “rip it off like an Band-Aid”, which meant taking two steps at once. You can wait for me at the top.

It turned out that taking one step at a given time was not enough. So every set of 14 stairs had a “photo break”. Sometimes, the lens cap was not even removed.

The spectacular view was worth the lung-gasping and jittery legs. If you’re not up close and personal, it is hard to comprehend the enormity of the Tian Tan Buddha’s 250 metric tons.

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