There are around 600 temples, shrines, churches and monasteries scattered around Hong Kong that represents the many religions that are present in this island with Buddhism and Taoism having the most number of faithfuls. During my first day in Hong Kong I found a 'walking tour' map of Hong Kong showing places of interests around certain MTR stations that can easily be reached through walking.
|Inside Nan Lian Garden|
|Shin Wong Temple|
Exiting the gate C of Shau Kei Wan MTR station I turned left into Kam Wa Street where I passed by a small tram terminus and beside it, the small Shing Wong Temple is located. This temple was built in 1877 and an outer wall expansion was added in 1974. This temple houses Deities Ng Tung, Shing Wong and Tu Di Gong and is popular among the nearby Taoists residents.
|Tin Hau Temple|
A few walks after I came across Tin Hau Temple - one of the approximately 70 temples all over Hong Kong that was erected in honor of Tin Hau. This temple was built to honor the Goddess of the Sea and other lesser known deities in 1876. An intricate design adorned the rooftops of this temple as well as a pair of stone lions that shows well preserved wood carvings and murals.
|Tim Hau Temple|
Yuk Wong Temple is situated at the Kung Ngam Village Road - a mere 7 minutes walk from the Tin Hau Temple. It was built in the mid 19th century in honor of Yuk Wong, a deity in Chinese mythology who was credited for solving the country's flood problems thus saving the lives of many people. It was the smallest temple in the area and now exists in the middle of a row of residential and commercial spaces.
|Tam Kung Temple|
Walking a few more steps and then entering a small subway to cross to another street, I located the Tam Kung Temple. Standing for more than 100 years with its last renovation being done in 2002. This temple honors a lesser known deity named Tam Kung, who was also a patron of the fishermen.
Continuing my walkathon, I went back to Wong Tai Tin station to take another train going in to Lok Fu station which was 1 station away. Upon exiting the Exit B of Lok Fu Station I followed the signs leading to Hau Wong Temple, finally after 20 minutes under the blistering heat I reached the temple which was built in 1730 in the midst of the Qing Dynasty and according to legends, was erected to commemorate a Chinese General who led the evacuation to safety a group of people led by the last Song Emperor from the Kowloon led armies.
Just across the street from Hau Wong Temple is the Kowloon Walled City Park. It is a historic representation of the original Kowloon Walled City - the only place in Hong Kong which was excluded from British jurisdiction during the period when Hong Kong was still a part of the British colony. Among other things found in this park are the: Garden of the Chinese Zodiac, Kuixing Pavilion, Garden of Four Seasons, Mountain View Pavilion, Eight Floral Walks, Guibi Rock to cite a few.
After this I went on to the Kowloon City Food District along Carpenter road where one can indulge in local cuisines from a row of 10 streets filled with family-run eateries. (this part of my trip will be included soon in my "Hong Kong Walks of Life Series")
On Monday - my fifth and last day in Hong Kong I visited the island of Lantau since my flight back to Manila is on the later part of the evening giving me another whole day of exploration opportunities. I rode a bus filled with tourists from Australia who took the Brisbane to Hong Kong flights. In Lantau I visited the big Buddha at Ngong Ping - an 85 feet bronze Tian Tan Buddha statue. Located near it is the Po Lin Monastery - a Buddhist monastery built by three visiting monks from the Chinese province of Jiangsu.
|The Big Buddha in the background|
The monastery's main temple displays the Buddha in three separate phases, the past, present and his future lives. Since I bought a $35 HK daylong bus ticket I made the most of it by going to Tai-O by taking another bus from Ngong Ping. Tai-O is a fishing village known for its simple setting in complete contrast with the bustling activity in the main Hong Kong region. There are a number of historical buildings and temples at Tai-O and I visited some of it especially the temples found close to each other during my short pit stop there.
|Another Tin Hau Temple|
This is another temple built in honor of Tin Hau located at Kat Hing Back Street in Tai-O in front of which is a small park near a bunch of "pang-uks" a kind of stilt houses built on the waters of Tai-O. There are still a few small temples located in Tai-O like the Hung Shing Temple, Kwan Tai Temple and the Yeung Hau Temple.
It will take many days to visit each temples, shrines and monasteries found all over Hong Kong but this part of my trip wherein I focused on some of these places of worships by Taoists, Buddhists and even Confucionists have provided me another view of the culture of the people living in Hong Kong. It was a great long walk around greater parts of Hong Kong for four full days and these are just some of the things I've seen and gear up for more Hong Kong Walks of Life series in the coming days.
This is the second part of my Hong Kong series.
1. The Arrival: Flagged by the HK Immigration