Hong Kong Temples are known worldwide for their variety and unique character. Any visit should include these 5 temples, in no particular order. My favorite Hong Kong Temple is probably the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, quirky, beautiful, peaceful and with great views!
1. Nan Lian Garden & Chi Lin Nunnery
An iconic gold pagoda and bright red bridge in a perfectly manicured Chinese Classical Garden. Nan Lian Garden is a quiet peaceful place and perhaps the most beautiful publicly accessible garden in all of Hong Kong. To top it all off it’s free! If I lived near here I’d visit every day.
Chi Lin Nunnery across the bridge is built entirely of cypress wood and doesn’t contain a single nail, instead, it was built using an interlocking wood system to hold it all together. It’s also the largest handmade wood building in the world.
Getting to the Nian Lian Garden
Take the MTR, Diamond Hill Station, Exit C2 and follow the signs. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
Hours: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM Daily
2. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Ascend a winding staircase lined by golden, life-sized statues of Buddhist men, each a unique character with a unique facial expression. The artist who created them was clearly quite creative and as you ascend the 400+ steps to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, the golden statues seem to get more and more…bizarre. At the top of the stairs is a beautiful pagoda, more Buddhist statues, and 5 temples, including a “Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple” with over 12,800 uniquely different, hand-crafted Buddhist statues.
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Tsz) is actually a series of temples and a pagoda and not a monastery at all. It’s a quirky and interesting place and one that is slightly off the main tourist circuit. You’ll definitely find foreigners here but it’s nothing like the crowds at some of the more famous sights such as the Tian Tan Buddha or The Victoria Peak Tram.
Getting to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Daily
3. Man Mo Temple
The air is heavy with incense smoke, large coils hang from the ceiling. One of the oldest temples in Hong Kong. A quiet, calm atmosphere, in contrast to the bustle and ritzy streets of Central Hong Kong. Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road is the largest and most famous Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong.
Man Mo Temple is dedicated to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo) Literally translated “Man” means “Civil” and “Mo” Means “Military”.
Man Cheong, The God of literature, clothed in red, carries a calligraphy brush while Mo Tai the God of War, dressed in green, holds a sword.
Incense coils and sticks are burned to feed the spirits and bring good fortune. It gives the whole place a mystic ethereal feel, like something out of a kung fu film.
Getting to the Man Mo Temple
On the MTR take the Sheung Wan stop, Exit A2. Head up-hill to Hollywood Road.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Daily
You’re in Central! Click here for some more free and interesting things to see.
4. The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery (Lantau Island)
The 112 foot Tian Tan Buddha sits atop a hill dominating the view and blessing the people of the land. One of the largest seated Buddha statues in the world and one of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions.
Ascend the 268 steps to get a closer view of this imposing yet humble statue and take in the views, including Po Lin Monastery amongst the trees below.
Pro Tip: Get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Try to avoid the weekends and public holidays for fewer people. See the Big Buddha first and then go to the Po Lin Monastery after.
Ngong Ping Village is pretty much a tourist village. If you want to see it go after you visit the Buddha and the Monastery.
How to get to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island
Take the MTR to Tung Chung Station, Exit B. From here there are two options. The cable car (210 HKD ~$26 round-trip) or take the bus to Ngong Ping Village (17.4 HKD ~$2 each way)
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
Schedule: Weekdays 10:00am – 6:00pm Weekends & Public Holidays 9:00am – 6:30pm
Round Trip Adult Fare: 210 HKD (~$26 USD)
One Way Adult Fare: 145 HKD (~$18 USD)
Take the 25 min cable car with 360 views for the best experience.
For the budget conscious traveler take the bus 17.4 HKD (~$2.2 each way)
Exit Tung Chung Station Exit B, take Bus 23 from Tung Chung Town Centre. It takes about 45–50 minutes depending on the stops.
Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
5. Wong Tai Sin Temple
Uncommon to most Chinese temples the primarily Taoist Wong Tai Sin Temple is home to 3 religions (Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). A beautiful and colorful temple with gardens behind, it’s also one of Hong Kong’s most popular temples.
The Wong Tai Sin Temple is well-known as a wish-granting or prayer answering temple and pretty much always has people. Don’t miss the beautiful ponds and gardens behind the temple. Another quite, peaceful place amongst the craziness of Kowloon.
Getting to Wong Tai Sin Temple
Take the MTR to Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, Exit B2 and follow the signs and crowds (it’s not far from the exit).
Hours: 7:00 am — 5:30 PM