Having visited Hong Kong many times I dont find any location or attraction "off the beaten path" though those on first time trips or flight stop overs would easily fill in a few hours or even days in the tourist areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Wong Tai Sin Temple is only a little out of the way being still centrally located close to Wong Tai Sin MTR station on the Kwun Tong Line (green) in East Kowloon.
It is a very popular and well loved Taoist temple for locals, but also a tourist attraction, so dont except too much serenity. It was certainly bustling with people on the day I went. Despite the crowds I still enjoyed wandering about and there are places in the beautifully manicured gardens where you can sit, take in the vibrant atmosphere and watch the crowds hoping to have their wishes granted and fortunes told.
Use Exit E from Wong Tai Sin Station.
This temple is located in Sha Tin and is well worth a visit. Inside there are large Buddah statues and 100s of small ones hence its name.
The temple is located on the hillside overlooking Sha Tin. Part of it was damaged in landslides during the torrential rains that marked the handover in 1997. You can climb the stairs or if you are feeling lazy take the escalator up to the entrance.
The ten thousand Buddahs temple complex is on two levels. The main temple on the lower level was built in 1957. It is dedicated to Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy. In one of the temple buildings is the body of the temple's founder, Yuet Kai. He was a monk who came to Hong Kong after the Second World War. He died at the age of 87 in 1965. Prior to his death he told his followers to exhume his body eight months after they buried him. When his followers found that his body was still in good condition they covered it in lacquer and gilding. Every year on May 26th, which is Buddha's birthday, the body is placed in the Buddha posture in a glass case and can be visited by worshippers.
A visit here could be combined with a stroll through Sha Tin's lovely riverside park or with some shopping in New Town Plaza. If you are feeling energetic, you could even hire a bike and cycle along the banks of the Shing Mun River towards Tai Po.
We went for a heritage trail in Fanling and decided to first take a look at Fung Ying Seen Koon. This is Taoist temple, established in 1929 and built in traditional Chinese Daoist style architecture; altogether there're 7 halls and bulidings (temples), then there are Peng Lai pavilion, sculpture of Chinese zodiac and Dao De Jing mural with 87 immortals and a mural of Huang Emperor. All these are well organized in place and frequented by worshippers. It's indeed very interesting to take a look in any of the temple and although we aren't Daoist ourseves we did a small prayer for our beloved ones and donation by the immortals at Tai Sui Yuan Chen Temple - where each zodiac sign has its own deity.
The temple complex is full of details and it took us 2 hours to roughly study these things and it's also pleasant place to relax and watch people.
In the Northern section of the site there are 12 Ancestral halls and the crematorium. Walls of these halls are covered with black and white photos of ancestors and are visited by thier families.
There's also vegetarian kitchen in one of the buildings.
Address: 66, Pak Wo Road, Fanling, New Territories
It's opposite Fanling Railway station, a few minutes walk - follow the signs and/or streams of people
Che Kung Temple is an important temple to visit during the second and third day of Chinese New Year. Hundreds and thousands of people come here to turn the bronze lucky wheel to wish for good fortune for the new year. The huge statue of Che Kung can be found in the temple.
The original temple was built in the 17th century. The present one was renovated in the 1990s.
The temple can be easily accessed by MTR (Tai Wai or Che Kung Temple stations) and buses.
There are around 60 Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong and this one is located in Causeway Bay, at the eastern end of Victoria Park near the Tin Hau MTR station. The present temple dates back to 1868, while construction of the original temple dates back to 1747 (the date of the temples bell). Legend has it that this temple was built after an incense burner was found floating miraculously on the sea. This incident gave rise to one of the pre-colonial names for Hong Kong Island, Hung Heung Lo (Red Incense-burner Island). Inside the temple, the main altar is dedicated to Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea and patron "saint" of seafarers, with side altars dedicated to Tsoi San, the God of Wealth. Within the temple are several shrines to the black-faced Pau Kung, the Lenient Judge of the Underworld. He is worshipped in the hope that he will be merciful to the souls in his care.
During the day this area is nothing special, but at night the road is converted into a busy and vibrant market. Don't miss out on having a browse, you never know what you might find. You're not limited to incredibly cheap clothes and electronics although they're available in abundance. Additionally you can have your fortune told, or be adventurous and try one of the many edible delicacies on display. This is one of the few places in the city centre that you may find the traders dealing solely in Cantonese but then maybe it's for the best. You'd probably rather not know which part of a snake's internal organs you're being asked to eat.
On the way back from Clear Water Bay I happened to see this Chi Lin Nunnery and found the architectural sytle of Tang Dynasty. The nunnery is very clean and the courtyard very beautiful.
There's the MTR Diamond Hill Station nearby. If you goes like me bus No.91 from Clear Water Bay will take you there.
Unexpected Monastery along the route to Tung Chung.
The view from the terraces of the monastery is specially nice and you can see the contrast between the natural landscapes and the new airport facilities.
The monks at the monastery (I did not get to find out if they were men or women as there is nothing in their external appearance that shows it) are quite used to tourists and they do not make the slightest sight of acknowledgement when they see you. Just go on with their usual business so you can do the same with yours !
What i love is the complete contrast of Temples in Hong Kong.
The temples are quite literally squished between highrises on all sides.....
Never the less, the temples still hold a somewhat ambient feeling, and a space to reflect and go inwards. You have moments of stillness (if you can block out the noise...), and an inner calm.
The art work is quite stunning in some of these temples. Often i saw monks wandering around in serene ones with themselves. I take my hat off to those monks that can remain in such peace, surrounded by chaos....that is true meditaion. Its like their every step is a meditation.....
On a day-tour of the New Territories, we visited the Yuen Yuen Institute, which is a temple complex that combines all three of the major religions practised by the Chinese: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. All structures are done in classic Chinese style, and the impressive central pagoda is a replica of the famed Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Other notable sights are a bronze statue of Confucius, a bonsai garden, and a temple containing 60 deity statues, one for each year in the Chinese 60-year cycle. The institute also shelters three of Hong Kong's largest "Precious Buddha" statues.
Alight at Tsuen Wan MTR Station, take No. 81 Public Light Bus located at Shiu Wo Street to Lo Wai Village.
Free Admission. Open daily 9am-5pm
Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon is a Taoist temple. The temple is dedicated to Wong Tai Sin, a shepherd who earned immortality through his good deeds. The temple is said to be possibly single largest concentration of fortune-tellers in Asia - definitely a good place to look into having your fortune told.
Direction : You can take the MTR to Wong Tai Sin station and follow the signs.
The Chuk Lam Shim Yuen Monastery has 3 of Hong Kong’s largest statues of Lord Buddha (known as ‘Precious Buddha’ )and attracts many daily worshippers. Around the complex are some lovely examples of traditional Chinese architecture.