Visiting Hong Kong. Hong Kong should be on everyone’s list of top cities to visit. It is a spectacular amalgam of Chinese and British colonial influences bursting at the seams of this city-state. Seven million people are packed into this city that sits on the South China Sea. Hong Kong was a British colony from 1842 until it reverted to China in 1997 and is governed under the “one country, two systems” structure.
Hong Kong is the Bizzaro World twin of Singapore, but in a good way. Singapore is a neat, orderly, and clean; if somewhat saccharine city. Not a strong personality, but pleasant. Hong Kong is gritty and lived-in. Vibrant and electric.
There are many must-sees for the first time Hong Kong visitor. A ride on the tram to Victoria Peak for the amazing views of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Viewing the incredible cityscape as the sun sets of Hong Kong Island from across the harbor Tsim Sha Tsui. And taking the impressive cable car ride to view the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha. So after you have visited these top sites, there are a couple of other places you should check out.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery also known as Man Fat Tsz is located in Sha Tin. This monastery is perched on top of a steep hill. An arduous walk up the hill will bring you to the monastery. But the winding journey is half the magic. Hundreds and hundreds of golden Buddhas will accompany you on your 430-step walk up. Each one is unique. Check out the varying faces and poses. Venerable Yuet Kai, a devout Buddhist layman, founded a monastery. And it was a labor of love, as he and his disciples, carried the materials up the hill. Construction started in 1949 and was completed 7 years later. At the end of your walk is a series of temples and of course, many more Buddhas!
Take MTR East Railline to Sha Tin station and head toward Exit B. Do not be confused with the very large Chinese cemetery (Po Fook Hill Ancestral Halls) also located on the hill next to the monastery. If you find yourself on an escalator or a tram you are headed to the wrong landmark.
When you need a break from exploring temples, go visit this secret beach in HK.
Man Mo Temple
Man Mo Temple, located in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island, was constructed in 1847. It is the oldest temple in Hong Kong and it honors two Gods, of Literature and of War. Walking in to the temple your sense of smell will be inundated by burning incense. Smoke wafts throughout the temple. Rich, dark reds intersperse with lights and candles. Man Mo Temple sees heavy traffic with the locals who come in to light a candle or incense and make a prayer.
The nearest MTR is Sheung Wan.
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
This incredibly busy and popular temple was constructed in the early 20th century. This temple is dedicated to Wong Tai Sin of the 4th century who dedicated his life to Taoism. He attained immorality and was able to heal the sick and save the dying.
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is well known for its fortune telling. I watched dozens or worshippers shake cups filled with sticks. Eventually a stick would pop out. The sticks are each numbered. The worshipper would then sit down with one of the many fortunetellers who would predict their future while reading the numbers.
Get off at the Wong Tai Sin MTR station and take exit B2. Follow the signs.
Visiting Hong Kong.