May 21, 2014

10 000 Buddhas - and 10 000 steps

When in Hong Kong

A little while ago I wrote an article on another network about the 10 000 Buddha's Monastery in Hong Kong. Since then I have been going through my travel pictures and I have been dreaming myself away.

Hong Kong is in itself a bit of an odd mix between extremely Western and very Eastern, or very Chinese, having been a brittish crown colony from 1842, when the First Opium War ended has definitely left it marks, even though it's been back under Chinese rule since 1997, when the Brits returned the country to China. However Hong Kong is still managed under the "One Country, Two Systems" device, and Hong Kong have their own currency, their own border controls and their own visa rules for us foreigners, for example those of us on any of the EU passports can travel to Hong Kong for three months without a visa, whereas in China we would need one. Hong Kong also uses the traditional Chinese characters for writing, just like Taiwan does, also when writing mandarin.

And at the same time Hong Kong is full of English stores, uses the English power plugs, drives on the left side of the road and in general is very English - and yet not English at all, even though all administration can basically be done in English.

It is the Asian side of Hong Kong that fascinates me, and the mix - the English side I can see in England. I try and stay away from Hong Kong Island as much as possible, and instead head to Lamma island, to Lantau, to Kowloon and to the New Territories... 

One of my favourite spots in Hong Kong is the 10 000 Buddhas Monastery up in the hills in Sha Tin area - 沙田區 (Shatianqu), a tranquile and quite spiritual area well worth visiting. Make sure your legs are in good shape though; There aren't 10 000 steps, just a few hundred, but in warm and humid weather I promise you, it feels like it is far more.  

The good thing about the climb to the top is however that there are different Buddha statues all along the stairs, which means it is quite nice to stop, rest and view along the way.  It is worth it - just make sure you have a bottle of water with you. 

Finally at the top

How to get there? 

Take the Hong Kong MRT, the Underground, to Sha Tin, and follow the signs. Just pay attention so you go to the monastery and not to the funeral area just in front of it - it is easy to take the wrong turn. Start looking at the map inside the MRT, temples and other historical sites are normally marked with the brown colour on the signs. Follow the signs and make sure you take the correct exit. 

Further reading: 

To read more about the history of Hong Kong I recommend you see the link from BBC here, or read more on Discover Hong Kong, a tourist site, here.

On Next Stop Hong Kong, another tourism site, you can read more about the 10 000 Buddhas Monastery as well - look pay attention to the monkeys in the mountains as you climb up the stairs...

View AK-The Next Chapter - travel and tours in a larger map


Joy said...

Very cool! I'm sure I would have been stopping every few steps to take photos! :-)

TravellingAK said...

Haha, yes, you would have - it is a fascinating spot! Lots to see and photograph (and sometimes monkeys will be watching you from the trees too...) I love that so few tourists actually take the time to go there; It's nice to not have to push your way through the crowds the way you often have to on Hong Kong island.