Visiting some of the best temples in Hong Kong is a must-do for most visitors to this city-state. It offers a glimpse into the deep-rooted customs of the locals, whose main religion is Buddhism. Temples in Hong Kong are dedicated to different religions: Buddhist and Taoist traditions are both found here, along with Confucian shrines, with some temples honoring several deities.

    While there are dozens of religious buildings of practically every faith on the island, this list focuses on Hong Kong's finest Chinese temples, as these are usually the ones that draw in curious visitors from all over the world.


    Po Lin Monastery (Big Buddha)

    Lantau Island

    Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island is famed for the Tian Tan Buddha, a huge bronze statue of Buddha that's visible from miles away. The temple is actually home to 3 big golden Buddha statues, along with the 34-meter tall, 250-tonne bronze Buddha. 

    A 7-day meditation retreat takes place from the 22nd to the 29th day of the 1st lunar month (February), where you can learn about Buddha’s teachings and participate in meditation practices led by senior monks.

    Location: Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping Plateau, Tung Chung Town, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm


    photo by Jakub Hałun (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Wong Tai Sin Temple stands out from most shrines in Hong Kong as it’s not a common practice to have several religions within a single temple – it is dedicated to Taoism (Wong Tai Sin), Confucianism (Confucius) and Buddhism (Guanyin).

    You’ll see typical Chinese architectural designs like red pillars, paper lanterns, memorial archways, Taoist drawings, and carvings of mythic creatures. Wong Tai Sin Temple is also popular for granting wishes via a local practice called kau chim. You shake a bamboo container filled with numbered bamboo sticks until one falls loose. You can then ask a resident fortune-teller to interpret its meaning.

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    Location: 2 Chuk Yuen Village, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +852 2327 8141


    Man Mo Temple is one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Hong Kong. Built in 1847, it's named after its 2 principal deities: Man (the god of literature) and Mo (the god of war). On any given day, you will find locals here praying at the altar, and it gets even livelier on annual celebrations like Chinese New Year and Buddha's Birthday. 

    The downtown area of Central is just a few minutes’ walk away from Man Mo Temple, attracting those looking to experience the peace and solitude of this Hong Kong temple.

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    Location: 124–126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +852 2540 0350


    Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

    New Territories

    The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a fascinating temple located in the New Territories. The 20th-century shrine is home to a sprawling collection of Buddha images spread out over 8 hectares of land. 

    It was built by a devout Buddhist monk called the Reverend Yuet Kai in 1957 with the help of his followers. You'll find around 13,000 Buddha images on display, with various poses, styles, materials and sizes. Unlike most temples in Hong Kong, there are no practicing monks at The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery – it's actually run by volunteers.

    Location: Pai Tau, New Territories, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +852 2691 1067


    photo by CPJoseph (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Pak Tai Temple

    Cheung Chau Island

    Pak Tai Temple on Cheung Chau Island dates back to 1863 when an image of Pak Tai (a Chinese deity especially revered by fishermen) was brought to the tiny island. It's believed to have helped save the population from a plague that swept through much of the Pearl River Delta.

    Pak Tai Temple is most popular during Cheung Chau Bun Festival, which takes place in the 4th lunar month, usually in April or May. The annual event consists of Taoist ceremonies, lion dances, and games, as well as sweet buns to enjoy throughout the day. 

    Location: Pak She St, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm


    Che Kung Temple (Che Kung Miu) is a Grade II historic building located in Tai Wai. Originally built in the 17th century, the temple is usually busiest during the Che Kung Festivals and on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year, which is Che Kung's birthday.

    Visit the main hall to see a statue of Che Kung, along with 3 fan-shaped wheels of fortune in front of the statue. By turning the fan blade, it’s said that you can turn your fortune around. On the 2 sides of the temple, you’ll find a drum and a giant bronze bell.

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    Location: Che Kung Miu Road, Tai Wai, Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm


    photo by Wpcpey (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Chi Lin Nunnery

    The Chi Lin Nunnery dates back to 1934 and features a Tang dynasty-style complex with beautiful statues and Buddhist relics. Lotus ponds with bonsai and bougainvillaea dot the temple grounds, attracting those looking to experience moments of peace in the bustling Kowloon district. 

    The temple halls contain gold, wooden, and clay sculptures of bodhisattvas and Sakyamuni Buddha. The Chi Lin Nunnery is located on Diamond Hill, about 2.2 km northeast of Kowloon City. 

    Location: 5 Chi Lin Drive, Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +852 2354 1888


    Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees

    The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees are covered in joss papers in bright shades like red and pink. Legend says that once, a man made a wish to the tree for his son to do better in his studies. His wish was granted, and since then, many people come to the 2 trees and write their wishes on a joss paper. They'll then throw it as high as they can into the tree for their wishes to come true.

    As the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees have been receiving joss papers for decades, it's now customary to tie papers with wishes to purpose-built wooden racks and imitation trees. 

    Location: Fangma Village, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong

    Phone: +852 2638 3678


    photo by Richard Mortel (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail

    The Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail lets you delve back into Chinese history, particularly of the Tang clan (one of the largest clans in the New Territories). 

    You should allow at least an hour to walk this 2-km-long path, as you’ll pass by plenty of walled villages, ancestral halls, a study hall and a temple. These structures date back from the 12th and 16th centuries. The Tang clan still practice traditional village customs, the most popular of which is Tin Hau Festival.

    Location: 66 Pak Wo Road, Fanling, New Territories, Hong Kong


    photo by User:Matthias Süßen (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Man Mo Temple in New Territories

    Man Mo Temple in the New Territories dates back to 1891. It's built as a place of devotion for Man, the god of literature, and Mo – the god of war. There are other temples under this name throughout China and one on Hong Kong Island.

    Huge incense coils hang from the temple's ceiling which burn up to 3 consecutive weeks, leaving a heady scent and an exotic atmosphere. Devotees often burn paper houses, servants, cars and other luxuries for deceased relatives (in the belief that the items can be used in the afterlife).

    Location: Fu Sin Street, Tai Wo, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm


    photo by Richard Mortel (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Tin Hau Temples

    There are around 70 temples across Hong Kong that are dedicated to Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea. One of the most popular Tin Hau Temples is located in Kowloon's Yau Ma Tei – the square in front of it hosts the nightly Temple Street Market. You'll also find 4 Tin Hau temples on Cheung Chau Island, 1 on Peng Chau Island, 1 on Ping Chau Island,and another on Sai Kung Peninsula. 

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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