Explore the cultural and spiritual side of Hong Kong
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Tze)
Built in the 1950s, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a 'must see' during your visit to Hong Kong. The Monastery is situated on a hillside that overlooks Sha Tin. The path of 413 steps leading up to the main temple is lined on both sides with gold Buddha statues. Each statue has its own unique personality and facial expressions.
Just some trivia; though the Monastery is named Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, the actual number of Buddhas is closer to thirteen thousand. In Cantonese tradition, "ten thousand" simply represents a figurative term for an extremely large number.
Address: Tai Po Road, Sha Tin, Hong Kong Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily. The monastery may close during heavy rain or when typhoon signal 8 or above is issued. Website:www.10kbuddhas.org (Chinese only)
Chi Lin Nunnery
Walking onto the grounds of the Chi Lin Nunnery, you almost forget you are in the middle of a busy city. The sense of peace and serenity that washes over you is beautiful.
A peaceful sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city
The Chi Lin Nunnery was first opened in 1934 and is currently home to about 60 nuns. The Nunnery consists of fifteen traditionally crafted cedar halls, gardens, courtyards, statues and lotus ponds. The buildings are based on the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty (618–907AD).
The Nan Lian Garden which connects to the Chi Lin Nunnery is also worth visiting.
Address: 5 Chi Lin Drive, Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong Opening hours: 9am to 4-30pm daily Website:www.chilin.org (Chinese only)
The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
The Big Buddha on Lantau Island was erected in 1993 and is the world's biggest outdoor sitting Buddha statue. There is something majestic and awe-inspiring about the statue sitting atop the peak of Mount Muk Yue. It took twelve years for the Po Lin Monastery to plan and build the 34 metre bronze Buddha statue. It is said that the Big Buddha symbolises the stability of Hong Kong, prosperity of China and peace on earth.
The Po Lin Monastery is located opposite the Big Buddha and is one of the most renowned monasteries amongst Buddhist circles. Unfortunately, the Monastery was being renovated when I visited. So I did not take any photos and my lasting memory of the Monastery is of the loud sounds of chain saws.
The popular Po Lin Vegetarian Restaurant is located nearby and a great place for visitors to sample Chinese vegetarian cuisine.
A vegetarian feast at Po Lin Vegetarian Restaurant
I would recommend taking the Ngong Ping Cable Car from Tung Chung MTR Station to get to Ngong Ping. Though the queue for the cable cars can be very long, the cable car ride is quite spectacular and overlooks the beautiful natural landscapes of Lantau Island. The cable car ride is also the longest I have been on; taking a good 25 minutes.
Address: Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong Opening hours: 8 am to 6 pm daily Website:www.plm.org.hk
Wong Tai Sin Temple and Good Wish Garden
Wong Tai Sin Temple (also called Sik Sik Yuen) is a Taoist temple that opened in 1921. It is one of the most famous temples in Hong Kong maybe due to their claim to 'make every wish come true upon request'
Address: Wong Tai Sin Road, Hong Kong Opening hours: Wong Tai Sin Temple (7am – 5:30pm daily). Good Wish Garden (9am – 5pm daily) Website:www.siksikyuen.org.hk (Chinese only)
Po Fook Hill Ancestral Halls
These Ancestral Halls are not really a tourist attraction but rather a Buddhist cemetery. I stumbled here by accident whilst trying to find the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Apparently this is a common rookie mistake made by tourists.
I also happened to visit the Ancestral Halls during the Chung Yeung Festival in October. Traditionally on this day, Chinese families visit the graves of their ancestors to pay respect. So to say that the place was crowded is an understatement.
Crowds lining up for the escalator to the Po Fook Hill Ancestral Halls
It was definitely a cultural experience to be swept up by the crowd and smell of burning incense. It was also interesting to watch families offer fruit and food as well as burn paper representations of money and other worldly items such as clothes, cars and even iPhones as gifts to their relatives who had passed.
Address: Pai Tau Street, Shatin, Hong Kong Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily Website:www.pofookhill.com