8 Beautiful Temples To Visit In Hong Kong
Uncover more of the city's spectacular sights and get a dose of its culture and history by visiting the gorgeous temples it has to offer. We've listed 8 of the most beautiful ones to head to––all of which deserve a spot on your camera roll.
1/8 Chi Lin Nunnery
Chi Lin Nunnery is undeniably one of the most stunning temples in Hong Kong. The Tang dynasty-style Buddhist temple complex is a place to unwind and soothe your soul. The ornate gardens stand out among Diamond Hill's high rise buildings.
Originally a place of retreat for Buddhist nuns, the site was founded in 1934 and was eventually redesigned in the style of the Tang dynasty in the 1990s. The temple's traditional Chinese architectural technique uses special interlocking systems cut into the wood to hold them in place.
It is home to three types of status, the Sakyamuni Buddha, Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, and bodhisattvas made up of gold, clay, and wood. Other features include a library, a pagoda, and a 3.5-hector urban garden that has intricately designed ornate timber structure, and tranquil pools filled with lotus flowers.
Chi Lin Nunnery; 5 Chi Lin Drive, Sheung Yuen Leng, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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2/8 Wong Tai Sin Temple
Wong Tai Sin Temple is not only one of the most beautiful temples in the city, it is also a top tourist attraction and famous site for worship. Dedicated to Wong Tai Sin, a famous monk who lived in 300 AD, it is believed that if you pray at the temple, your wish will come true using the Chinese fortune-telling practice called Kau Sim.
The temple was built as a Taoist temple in 1921. Today, three religions are practised at the temple, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism––the reason for its popularity.
Built in traditional Chinese style, the exteriors feature grand red pillars, a golden roof decorated with blue friezes, yellow latticework, a pair of bronze lions, and delicately multi-coloured carvings. Scriptures from the three religions hang on the walls. There are also three memorial archways which are usually packed with worshippers during Wong Tai Sin's birthday and Chinese New Year. A portrait of the monk is displayed inside the template hall.
Wong Tai Sin Temple; 2 Chuk Yuen Road, Chuk Un, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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3/8 Man Mo Temple
Man Mo Temple is perhaps the easiest temple to get to if you're short on time as it's located right in the centre of Sheung Wan. It's also a famous Instagram photospot. There are actually a number of Man Mo temples in the city but this one is the most well-known.
The temple was built between 1847 to 1862, to worship the god of literature, Man Cheong and the god of martial arts, Kwan Tai. Because of this, many scholars and students make a stop at the temple before taking an exam, hoping to do well in their studies.
The real treat here is the inside of the temple which done countless long spiral coils of incense sticks hanging overhead against a backdrop of red and gold make for a truly surreal sight. The temple is Grade I Historical Building as it showcases a lot of traditional craftsmanship. While the left side of the temple is for Man Cheong and Mo Tai, the middle block is to commemorate Lit Shing Kung and where deities are worshipped as well as Kung Sor, which was once used as a local assembly hall in the past.
Man Mo Temple; Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
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4/8 Po Lin Monastery Temple
Po Lin Monastery Temple's 34-metre-tall bronze Buddha statue that sits atop a mountain might be the first thing you notice at this temple. And rightfully so since the Big Buddha is one of Hong Kong's most recognisable sights. But more than the statue––which happens to be one of the largest sitting outdoor Buddha in the world––the temple is actually one of the most important and grand religious sites in the city.
The temple complex was founded by visiting monks from Jiangsu province in 1906. The main temple houses three bronze statues of Buddha, each of which represent the past, present, and future of his past life. There are also many Buddhist scriptures displayed inside. Other than these, the temple also houses an array of relics, ornaments, and other remarkable architectural structures including the Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
Note: The Big Buddha is currently undergoing renovations. The Big Buddha statue is covered and the halls under the statue and upper part of the steps are closed. Please visit the official website for updated information
Po Lin Monastery Temple, Ngong Ping, New Territories, Hong Kong
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5/8 Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is another temple well-known for its statues. A number of statues––a whopping 13,000 gold Buddha statues––are lined up along the pathway leading up to the temple complex. Each of the statues is in a different pose and position making them a fascinating site to see before you enter. The temple has appeared in a number of films and television series over the years.
Preparation and construction of the temple began in 1951 under Yuet Kai and his followers and took six years to complete. While the temple is called a monastery but there is actually no monks on the site and is instead managed by laypeople. You'd be surprised to know that Yuet Kai's body is displayed in a glass case inside the temple. The main building and the pagoda are recognised as Grade III historical buildings by the government.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery; 221 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong
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6/8 Tin Hau Temple Garden
The Tin Hau Temple Garden in Causeway Bay is one of the many Tin Tau temples in the city but this particular one has a special history with the goddess of the sea, whom the temple is dedicated to.
The belief is that the Tai clan found a red stone which looked similar to an incense burner and believed it was an offering from Tin Hau so in return, built a temporary shrine for the stone. Eventually, a full-sized temple followed during the 18th century. To this day, the Tai clan still manages the temple.
The temple boasts an impressive exterior design and is adorned with dragons and fish decorations in honour of Tin Hau. Ceramic figures that tell stories from Chinese operas are also in the temple. It is also home to a number of historical relics including a bell that dates back to 1747, and carved stone animals.
Tin Hau Temple; 10 Tin Hau Temple Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
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7/8 Hau Wong Temple (Kowloon City)
Hau Wong Temple is a declared monument in Kowloon City. Believed to be built in 1730 or even earlier, the temple was primarily used by the Chinese military between 1857 and 1899 when the Kowloon Wall City still existed. There are many version to the temple's history but the most famous account is that the temple was built for Yeung Leung-jit, a general who chose to remain in the army––despite his failing health––to protect the last emperor of the Southern Song dynasty.
Because of its history with the military, the temple is one of the very few temples in the city that has a rich collection of rare artefacts from the garrison of the Kowloon Walled City. Some of these include an incense burner and a stone inscription with the Chinese character for crane dating back from 1888.
There are a number of side chambers in addition to the main temple building, as well as pavilions and stone inscriptions displayed on a masonry terrace. At the rear hall, the stepped gables are built in the "five peaks pay tribute to heaven" style––considered a rare design that is can't easily be found in Hong Kong.
Hau Wong Temple; Junction of Junction Road and Tung Tau Tsuen Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon
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8/8 Sha Tin Che Kung Temple
The Che Kung Temple in Sha Tin is one of the various temples in Hong Kong built in honour of Che Kung, a military general from the Southern Song dynasty who was greatly praised for his loyalty and courage. The Taoist temple has origins as early as the Ming dynasty and was continuously renovated over the years.
According to beliefs, Che Kung was lauded not only for his suppression of uprisings but also for clearing away any sickness so when an epidemic broke out during the late Ming dynasty, people built the temple as protection. So it should come as no surprise that his statute is displayed inside the main hall.
Due to heavy renovation, the external walls have been replaced with false brink lines and the roofs with green glazed ceramic tiles. A newer temple was built in 1994 to accommodate a large number of worshippers during Chinese New Year which only occasionally open to the public. The original temple has been preserved partly and a certified Grade II historical building since 1987.
Che Kung Temple; Che Kung Miu Road, Tai Wai, Sha Tin, New Territories
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