A January 1996 trip
to Hong Kong by Re Carroll
Quote: A week spent in Hong Kong was long enough to get a taste of this fascinating city but not long enough to experience all it has to offer.
One morning we passed a group of people in Kowloon Park practising tai ch'i. Their movements were in complete harmony with one other and it was quite a contrast to watch this ancient art while outside the park, hordes of people and cars hurried past.
Just a short trip across the harbor on the Star Ferry, Central District is full of modern skyscrapers but only a few blocks away are symbols of old Hong Kong, such as Man Mo Temple, built in the mid 1800s. Also in Central, I visited shops selling everything from clothes and jewellery to medicinal herbs and treatments - dried snake skins, animal bladders and teas meant to cure almost any ache or pain.
The city has almost as many restaurants as shops and eating in Hong Kong is a major event. From coconut buns at the Park Bakery to a dim sum feast at a nameless hole in the wall to a vegetarian restaurant near Chatham Road, we had no difficulty whatsoever finding great food.
Double decker trams are also a fun way to get around, especially if you sit on the top deck.
Hotel | "The Park Hotel"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 20, 2000
Park Hotel Hong Kong
61-65 Chatham Road South, Tsimshatsui
(852) 2731 2100
Man Mo Temple
Hollywood Road & Ladder Street
Hong Kong and Kowloon
+852 2367 7065
When I got off the train, there were a number of signs for the monastery and it took about 15 minutes to reach by foot. It's perched on a hillside and looks out over Sha Tin. It's a very pretty and peaceful site BUT there are lots of stairs to climb to reach the top. One travel guide said there were over 400 and I would agree, although I didn't have the breath left to count them.
Although it is called The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, there are now over 13,000 of the clay statues of Buddha because people keep adding to them. Although similar in size and shape, a closer look reveals differences in poses. They are reverently stacked on shelves filling the walls of the temple.
In front of the Temple are large colorful statues of some of Buddha's followers as well as a 9 story pagoda filled with more statues.
There weren't a lot of other visitors about and it almost felt like I had the place to myself. The Temple has a number of terraces and from them you can see across the valley to the Amah Rock, a famous landmark. Legend says this rock was once a woman who climbed the hill to watch and wait for her husband's return. He never returned and the gods eventually took pity on her and turned her to stone as a reward for her patience.
Behind the main Temple, a smaller one houses the body of Yeut Kai, the monk who founded the monastery. The whole area feels very peaceful and serene and is a perfect place to relax and unwind.
The monastery is part of an organized day trip that you can book through your hotel or a travel agency but I enjoyed doing it on my own since I had more time to wander around.
Trains run regularly to Sha Tin from the Kowloon station and my first class, return ticket was under $10.00. A word of caution - the restrooms at stations outside can be very basic - just a hole in the floor - so be prepared.
Sha Tin is quite a large city with many hotels. As well as the monastery, it is also well known for its horse racing track, one of the largest in the country.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 5, 2001
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
220 Pai Tau Village
Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Abbotsford, British Columbia