Man Mo Temple
Open daily from 8.00am until 6.00pm, Man Mo is Hong Kong’s oldest and most important temple. Like all other Man Mo Temples found in China and in the rest of the world it is dedicated to two of the gods most worshiped in ancient China – Man Cheung, the God of Literature and Kwan Yu, the God of War. Built in 1847, it houses impressive sculptures of the two deities. Man is the one dressed in red holding the calligraphy brush while Mo is wearing a green robe and is holding a sword. Also to be found in the temple are giant incense burners which hang from the ceiling releasing a fragrant, smoky haze. Visitors to the temple can buy a burner which is supposed to help them fulfil their wishes, but it also makes a nice souvenir for the cynics among you.
Hong Kong has a vast number of museums which feature ancient artefacts and findings as well as a variety of famous art curios. In order to get the best value for your money you should purchase a visitors pass which will cost you $50 and will allow unlimited to the four museums which are run by the Urban Council. These are the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Science Museum, the Space Museum and the Museum of History. You can buy the pass in any of the participating museums or from the Hong Kong Tourist Associations. These four museums are also free every Wednesday. Other museums which are not covered by the pass but which are worth visiting include the Museum of Tea Ware, the Hong Kong Railway Museum, the Sheung Yiu Fol Museum and the Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
This is an excellent example of a traditional Chinese temple featuring red pillars, a golden roof and numerous multicoloured carvings. The present temple was opened in 1956 but the painting of Wong Tai Sin which is housed in the main building was originally brought to Hong Kong in 1915. It was officially moved to this site in 1921. Most visitors to the temple have their fortune told. This is done by using a bamboo container which holds numbered sticks. The person who is worshipping lights sticks before the main altar, they then make a wish and shake the container until one of the sticks falls out. They are then given a piece of paper with the same number as that on the stick. The message on the paper is then interpreted by a soothsayer. A visit to the temple offers a unique cultural experience and one which comes highly recommended.
Po Lin Monastery
Situated on the picturesque platea of Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, this Buddhist monastery was founded in 1927. To this day it remains one of the region’s major centers of Buddhism. The main temple houses three bronze statues of the Buddha representing his past, present and future lives. It also contains many Buddhist scriptures. The highlight of the monastery, however, is the Tina Tan Buddha or the Giant Buddha. Seated on a hilltop at the top of 268 steps, the 34metre, 250 ton sculpture is the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze sculpture of the Buddha. It was opened to the public in December 1993 after taking ten years to complete and since then has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. The views of the surrounding countryside from the base of the statue also help make the Po Lin Monastery one of the top tourist attractions in Hong Kong.
Regarded as Hong Kong’s most conspicuous landmark, the Peak is now the desired residential zone of most of the population. Located on Hong Kong Island, the Peak has never been as popular as it is today. There is a tram which runs to Victoria Peak between 5.40am and 1.00am and once you are get there you will be greeted with some of the world’s most spectacular views. It is also an excellent place for walking thanks to its forests of bamboo, fern, Chinese pines, hibiscus and vines but there is also a café, a museum and Hong Kong’s first computer-operated entertainment ride if you’re not partial to a two-hour hike. On the way back down stopping at Barker Road where you will see some of the finer views is highly recommended.