Hong Kong Travel: 6 Temples to visit during your vacation
Hong Kong is always the best destination to go to for a quick weekend getaway or a family vacation especially for travellers from its neighbouring countries. With so many places to see and things to do in Hong Kong, the city can cater to every type of traveller – whether you’re a backpacking wanderlust, long-term traveller or a business traveller. Aside from the usual but widely popular tourist spots like Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park Hong Kong and the city’s numerous night markets, why not inject your Hong Kong travel itinerary with some of the city’s best temples to learn a thing or two about Hong Kong’s history, culture and heritage!
Let’s take a peek into the city’s must-see temples as we feature them in today’s Hong Kong Travel Guide!
Po Lin Monastery (Temple of Heaven)
Let’s start off our Hong Kong travel guide with a temple located at Lantau Island, the largest of Hong Kong’s islands.
The Po Lin Monastery in Lantau Island is home to many devoted monks. It was first opened to the public in 1970 but it was in 1993 when it started attracting tourists thanks to the completion of the Tian Tan Buddha that sits right across it. This massive bronze Buddha situated 34 metres high, facing the north of the city took 12 years to complete. It can be seen even from miles around the monastery and if you want to see it up-close climb up the 286 steps to also enjoy the picturesque mountain and sea view from the Buddha’s base. Within this Hong Kong attraction are restaurants where you can take a break and dine some local Hong Kong food.
Address: Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping, Lantau
(Giant Buddha) from Monday to Sunday 10: 00-17: 00
(Po Lin Monastery) Monday to Sunday 08: 00-18: 00
(Zhai kitchen) Monday to Friday 11: 00-16: 30; Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 11: 30-19: 00
How to go:
Take Lantau Bus No. 2, No. 21 or No. 23 to Ngong Ping Bus Terminal;
Take the Ngong Ping Cable Car and get off and walk for about 10 minutes
Chi Lin Nunnery (Nan Lian Garden)
Who would’ve thought that in the heart of downtown Kowloon you can find a peaceful and beautiful complex temple called Chi Lin Nunnery?
Chi Lin Nunnery, a huge temple complex with elegant wooden architecture, lotus ponds and Buddhist relics was renovated in Tang Dynasty style in 1990 but it was originally established in 1934. It is one of the top attractions included in many Hong Kong travel itineraries as it is one destination where religious, architecture or history lovers can enjoy.
Within the temple complex are temple halls with statues that are made of gold, clay or wood. These statues represent different divinities like Sakyamuni Buddha and bodhisattvas.
Also found inside Chi Lin Nunnery is the scenic 3.5-hectare Nan Lian Garden where everything you see is carefully placed in accordance to certain rules and methods. Displayed also within the garden are different Chinese timber architecture, potted plants and rocks. While you’re here, you can take a delicious meal in the vegetarian restaurant or drink a cup of refreshing tea in the Teahouse.
Address: Kowloon Diamond Hill Chi Lin Road on the 5th
(Chi Lin Nunnery Buddhist Temple) 09: 00-16: 30
(Lian Yuan) 07: 00-19: 00
(Nan Lian Garden) 07: 00-21: 00
How to get there: Take the MTR to Diamond Hill Station and walk about 5 minutes on Exit C2
Yuen Yuen Institute
Including an institute to your Hong Kong travel itinerary isn’t usually common but you might be surprised with Yuen Yuen Institute.
But we can tell you this, the Yuen Yuen Institute is one that should definitely be visited during your Hong Kong travel experience.
Within its expansive grounds are temples, monasteries, prayer halls and pavilions, all dedicated to Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. It was founded in 1950 in hopes to spread the principles of the three religions. Just like other monasteries, inside the Yuen Yuen Institute are gardens and ponds.
You can also find a replica of the magnificent Temple of Heaven – one of the institute’s main attractions – which is originally found in Beijing. Meanwhile, you can see the impressive Hall of Rocks Collection featuring interesting rock shapes and the Chinese zodiac’s 12 creatures!
Address: Triad Lake in Tsuen Wan
Opening hours: 08:30 to 17:00
How to get there: Take the green minibus of Route 81 and get off at Yuen Yuen Institute
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
One of the reasons why Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is famous in Hong Kong is that it is believed to “make every wish come true”. It’s another Hong Kong temple that is dedicated to the three religions: Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
It’s a popular temple that was completed in 1921 and has a history of nearly a century.
This religious centre’s ornamented buildings in line with its natural setting make it a scenic Hong Kong attraction to go to for hundreds of tourists. Inside the temple are works of Wong Tai Sin, a famous monk who became a deity at Heng Shan or Red Pine Hill.
Also inside the shrine, you may notice structures that represent the five geometric elements: the Archives Hall (Wood); the Bronze Pavillion (Metal); the earth wall (Earth); the Yue Heung Shrine (Fire); and the Yuk Yik Fountain (Water).
Address: Wong Tai Sin Chuk Yuen Estate on the 2nd
Opening hours: 08: 00-17: 00
How to get there: Take the MTR to Wong Tai Sin Station and walk about B2 for about 3 minutes
Che Kung Temple at Sha Tin
Located in the Tai Wai area of Sha Tin, the Che Kung Temple was built to give honour to Southern Song dynasty’s military commander who became a household name due to his advantageous power in suppressing plagues and uprisings.
It was said that in order to stop an epidemic which was widely spread out in the Sha Tin area, they built the original temple here almost 300 years ago. But the structure that tourists can see today when they visit the Sha Tin Che Kung Temple, is a renovated one which was done in 1993. This was made to accommodate the increasing number of worshippers that visit on Che Kung’s festival which is the Chinese New Year’s second day.
Address: Tai Wai Che Kung Temple Road
Opening hours: 07: 00-18: 00
How to get there: Take the MTR to Che Kung Temple Station and walk about Exit B about 10 minutes
Man Mo Temple
The last one for our Hong Kong travel guide today is a temple located inside the Wenwu Temple which is the Man Mo Temple.
Man Mo Temple is a historical site in Hong Kong which was completed in 1847. It is considered as one of the places to visit in Hong Kong and it was built to give tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo) which were both worshipped by students who are looking to succeed in Imperial China’s civil examinations. This Hong Kong attraction is part of the Lit Shing Kung – a worship hall for heavenly gods, and the Kung Sor where all community affairs and conflicts are resolved.
Address: 124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Opening hours: 08: 00-18: 00 (First, fifteen and birthdays: 07: 00-18: 00)
How to get there: Take the MTR to Sheung Wan Station and take about 15 minutes’ walk from Exit A2.