This 34-meter-high "Big Buddha" sits atop Lantau Island's Po Lin monastery, which was a fairly secluded place until the statue was built in 1993. This Buddha is believed to be the largest free-standing statue of its kind in the world and took 12 years to complete. Early risers can climb Lantau Peak first thing in the morning, under the guidance of a monk, and watch the sunrise over the monastery and surrounding sea and islands. Hong Kong's only tea plantations can be found to the south of the monastery, and the beautiful Shek Pik reservoir is also on Lantau Island.
The Big Buddha is not a "piece of history" but rather a fairly recent endeavor. It was unveiled in 1993 and ever since visitors have been flocking in numbers. In fact, the entire complex has a "newness" feel to it, and with the tourist crowds inevitably comes a bit of commercialization. Getting to Ngong Ping Village and the Hong Kong Big Buddha with the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car is in itself an attraction and definitely the recommended way to get here to see the Buddha.
As you traverse the Ngong Ping Village, the paths beyond will be well-marked, but not really necessary as you can always look up and see the majestic Hong Kong Big Buddha sitting atop the hill so all you have to do is head in that direction. Leaving the Ngong Ping Village, the path to the Big Buddha will be flanked on both sides by the Twelve Divine Generals. Each of the Twelve Divine Generals that guard the statue symbolizes a different animal from the Chinese Zodiac, is armed with a particular weapon and represents two distinct hours of the day.
Once you pass the Twelve Divine Generals you will see the Staircase that leads to the Buddha atop the hill. There are 260 steps and several areas in between where you can stop for a rest, take pictures, and just enjoy the views.