Ping Shan Heritage Trail – a slice of history in a modern city

There’s very little that’s actually ‘old’ in Hong Kong – buildings that are past their best are often pulled down to make way for new developments. There are a few colonial buildings dotted here and there and the odd oldish temple but to see some old Chinese architecture you really have to go out of central Hong Kong and explore the New Territories.

The Ping Shan Heritage Trail is a very easy short stroll around an area that has preserved a little of its history. I have to admit that I saw better examples of older Chinese architecture in Guangzhou (see my blog post on that here) but this is the best I’ve seen so far without leaving Hong Kong!

The HK Antiquities and Monuments Office has a map of the Ping Shan trail on their website.

To start the trail, take the MTR to Tin Shui Wai station and leave by Exit C. You should already be able to see the Tsui Sing Lau pagoda from the station exit, so make your way over to that to start the trail.

Tsui Sing Lau pagoda

There is also a handy map by the pagoda. I took a photo of it so we could follow the trail!

Ping Shan Heritage Trail map

The next stop was the Sheung Cheung Wai walled village. There are people still living here!

Sheung Cheung Wai walled village

Inside the Sheung Cheung Wai walled village

I have to admit we couldn’t get very excited about the Yeung Hau temple. It probably didn’t help that we didn’t know anything about it, but we have seen quite a few more interesting temples in our time!

Yeung Hau temple

Yeung Hau temple detail

I quite liked the fact that there was the odd old building dotted around on the route.

Ping Shan old house

The Tang Ancestral Hall and the Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall are next door to one another. This was probably the most impressive sight on the whole trail (although the parked cars really ruin the photo!).

Tang and Yu Kiu Ancestral Halls

They were pretty interesting inside too.

Tang Ancestral Hall Ping Shan

Tang Ancestral Hall Ping Shan Heritage Trail

My favourite building was the Kun Ting Study Hall. It was just a really pretty example of Chinese architecture.

Kun Ting Study Hall entrance

Kun Ting Study Hall upper floor

Kun Ting Study Hall Ping Shan Heritage Trail

I think this photo is of the Entrance Hall of the Shut Hing Study Hall, but I can’t quite remember!

Shut Hing Study Hall entrance

The last port of call (for us, as we didn’t go to the Ping Shan Tang Clan gallery) was the Hung Shing Temple. Again, it was hard to get a good photo!

Hung Shing temple

The building next door was also old, but it was being lived in! It had a very scary looking man painted on the main door.

Building next to Hung Shing temple

Door on building next to Hung Shing temple

At this point we were very near the Ping Shan light rail station so we caught a train to Yuen Long and got the MTR home.

Hong Kong light rail

The Ping Shan Heritage Trail probably took us as far out of central Hong Kong as we’ve been yet but it was very enjoyable – worth a visit if you’ve done all the main sights in HK!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Places to visit – Kuala Lumpur

We spent two days/three nights over a weekend in Kuala Lumpur (KL) at the start of a two-week Malaysian holiday in January, in which we travelled up the western side of Malaysia. During that time we also visited the Cameron Highlands, Penang and Langkawi.

We enjoyed our stay in KL but having visited several big Asian cities and living in a big Asian city meant we weren’t overly excited by it. I think we were really keen to get out of the city and see another side of Malaysia! But it was still a great place to visit and I’d recommend it as part of a Malaysian holiday (although maybe not as a destination in itself).

Malaysia is a very multi-ethnic country, and this is particularly apparent in KL. The mix includes ethnic Malaysians, who are mostly Muslim, plus a large number of Chinese and Indians. One thing that I noticed particularly in KL was how I seemed to stand out as I was not covered up like the local women (this despite the fact that I saw some Chinese women wearing very skimpy outfits!). Therefore, whilst it isn’t obligatory, if you are sensitive about such things you might want to wear modest clothing (covering arms and legs) whilst walking around KL.

These are some of the things we saw in Kuala Lumpur:

Chinatown

We were staying near Chinatown (our hotel was very near to Masjid Jamek station) so this was one of the first areas we visited in KL. It’s a bustling, colourful area and definitely worth a visit (especially if you don’t live in a Chinese city!). There is a large market on Jalan Petaling but we were a little disappointed with this as it is full of fake designer goods and not much else. Not our idea of a good market but if that is what you’re looking for, it’s the place to go! However, there are lots of Chinese eateries in the area. We had lunch in the Tang City Food Court on Jalan Hang Lekir which had a range of Chinese and Indian options and was very good value for money.

Away from the market, we enjoyed walking the streets of Chinatown, with its old Chinese style buildings and a mix of small shops.

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There are a few temples in Chinatown. The most interesting was Chan See Shu Yuen Temple, at the end of Jalan Petaling. It was very intricate!

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We also walked past, but didn’t go into, Kuan Ti Temple…

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…and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple

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(we’ve been to quite a few temples and to be honest are a bit templed-out these days!)

On the Sunday evening we ate at Old China Café on Jalan Balai Polis at the southern end of Chinatown, which was not as cheap as you can find elsewhere in KL but the food was excellent and it had a lovely atmosphere. I’d really recommend it for a nice meal out.

Merdeka Square

This open space is a very historical part of KL as it is where Malaysia’s independence was declared in 1957. There are some nice colonial buildings around there, including some that were built by westerners in a Moorish style so they don’t look very western, such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building:

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There is a large mosque nearby as well, called Masjid Jamek (or Jamek Mosque) which is very intricate but we didn’t go in (although you can).

South of Masjid Jamek (on Jalan Hang Kasturi, before you reach Chinatown) is Central Market. This is a large art deco building filled with small arts and crafts shops. Some are of better quality than others, but it was the best place in KL that we found for buying gifts and we found a few really nice items in here! I’d recommend a visit.

Little India

Little India is centred around the market along Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman, which extends most of the way up this street. It is a colourful area and we enjoyed walking around, although we didn’t buy anything. There are lots of snacks available from vendors here so it might be a good place to visit for lunch or mid-afternoon!

We stopped off for a refreshing drink in the Coliseum Café, which is about halfway up Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. It’s very retro – it looks like it hasn’t been redecorated for the best part of a century! It’s not exactly glamorous, but a nice step back in time so I’d recommend a visit.

Petronas Towers

Formerly the tallest buildings in the world, the two Petronas Towers certainly stand out. They’re very shiny! We wanted to go up the towers, and turned up fairly early in the day on a Sunday (sometime around 10am) but the earliest tickets they had available were for late afternoon so we bought those tickets and came back later on.

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For this tour you get assigned to a group and get given a coloured badge to wear. This means that your group gets a certain amount of time in each area and it’s strictly controlled. This is a bit of a shame for those who like to be a bit more independent but we found that the amount of time you were given was adequate.

The two areas with views are the skybridge and the roof. The views from both were pretty impressive. Here is what you could see from the skybridge:

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And here are some views from the roof:

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The Petronas Towers are part of a development with a large shopping mall underneath and a landscaped park behind with various buildings forming the park boundary including an aquarium and the Traders Hotel. The park itself is quite nice to sit in, and certainly a great place to get a few photos of the towers. It also has a fairly impressive fountain display.

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We went in the aquarium and were happy enough with it, although Tom has been in a lot of aquaria in his time and thought that he had seen better!

Side note: on our last night in Malaysia (en route back to Hong Kong) we stayed in the Traders Hotel for a bit of luxury. We had booked the cheapest room they had which cost about £80 and didn’t include breakfast. However when we arrived we were offered breakfast at about £14 per person (pretty expensive!) or a special offer which included an upgrade to a suite, free breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails for £34 for both of us! So of course we took it :) The suite was amazing (bigger than our HK flat!) and so was all the free food and drink. They also had a lovely swimming pool on the top floor. So we really liked the Traders!

Bird Park

To kill time between buying our tickets for the Petronas Towers and when we were allowed to go up, we headed for the Lake Gardens which are to the west of the area we were staying in. We walked through the gardens a bit but spent most of our time in the bird park there. The bird park was good fun and also a good size and we spent quite a long time there. Many of the birds are free to roam around and don’t seem to take much notice of all the humans at all! If you want something a little less city-like during your time in KL I’d really recommend the bird park.

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Bukit Bintang

This area is a great place to head for some lively nightlife and a wide range of eating options. We took the monorail to Bukit Bintang station and headed for Jalan Alor, which is a road of Chinese restaurants with loads of tables out on the street. We went on a Saturday night and it was busy (possibly mostly with Chinese tourists) but most of the restaurants had a few tables free so we picked one we liked the look of and had a great range of Chinese food there for a pretty reasonable price.

After dinner we also had a wander up Changkat Bukit Bintang which is the road across the end of Jalan Alor. This road is lined with bars, most of which had outdoor seating too. We didn’t stop for a drink but there was certainly a lot of choice!

As you can see, we managed to fit quite a lot into one weekend in KL! I think you could maybe spend one or two more days there at most and have exhausted everything there was to see, but it was a really interesting city.

Check back next week for the next stage of our Malaysian holiday – the Cameron Highlands!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Places to visit – Taipei

Taipei is a great place to visit from Hong Kong. It’s pretty quick to get to and has a much more laid back feel. I’ve heard that it’s also a lot nicer than it was 10 years ago! We really liked it and definitely want to go back and see more of Taiwan so I thought I’d share some of the things we did and saw and maybe encourage you to go too?

Another advantage of Taipei is that it’s really easy to get around, and the MTR (subway) extends beyond the borders of the city, making it very easy to get out of the city into the surrounding area. However, this doesn’t extend to the airport which is a long way outside Taipei and takes about an hour by taxi (there isn’t a train or subway) to get from the airport to the centre of the city.

We stayed at Hotel 73 which was very close to Dongmen Station on Xinyi Road. We had no complaints about our hotel room, although we thought that the breakfast (which was included in the price) was fairly average and we had to wait for some time in the lobby before we were seated as there wasn’t enough room for everyone in the restaurant. On our second day we grabbed breakfast elsewhere.

The hotel was in a really nice district: it was right next to a market, and the area on the other side of Xinyi Road was a maze of small boutiques, restaurants and shops. It was a really nice area to walk round and we happily ate at random places there a couple of times. Also the original branch of Din Tai Fung was nearby on Xinyi Road so we went there to taste the ‘original’ food of this Taiwanese restaurant chain which also has several outlets in Hong Kong.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall Taipei

This was our first port of call as it was within walking distance of our hotel (but it also has its own MTR station). The memorial hall is situated in some nice gardens, which were lovely to walk around but the weather quickly forced us inside! We went in with almost no knowledge of who Chiang Kai-Shek was and why there was a memorial hall to him, and came out thinking he was a great man who founded modern Taiwan. Unfortunately, there are two sides to every story and whilst he did do great things for Taiwan, he perhaps wasn’t quite as nice as the memorial hall made him out to be! The hall is worth a visit though, even if it is just to see the massive statue of Chiang Kai-Shek.

Chiang Kai-Shek statue

Beitou

This is an area on the north side of the city which is famous for its hot springs. Many of the hotels there have private baths where you can bathe in the waters, but we headed to the outdoor public baths on Zhongshan Road. Once we were able to gain entrance to the public baths (they are only open for fixed sessions every day: 8.30-11.15am, noon-2.45pm, 3.30-6.16pm, 7.00-9.45pm), we had a lovely time there. These baths had 3 hot pools, each progressively hotter than the last (we couldn’t spend much time in the second one and didn’t even attempt the hottest!) and 2 cold pools which were briefly pleasant after spending a while in the hot pools. It was a great place, and obviously pretty full of locals as well as some tourists. The locals seemed pretty friendly and one old guy started chatting to me about where I was from and what I should see while I was in Taipei. There was also a very militant attendant who told you off if you were only partly submerged in the water!

The nearby Di-re Valley (a 5 minute walk) is also worth a visit is the source of most of the hot waters in Beitou. As you can see it was pretty hot and very steamy! There was also quite an unpleasant sulphuric smell but it was a pretty cool sight. Although at 90°C, you probably wouldn’t want to go in…

Di-re valley Beitou

Di-re valley Taipei

Slightly confusingly, to get to this area, take the MTR to Beitou station and then change to the shuttle line to Xinbeitou. It takes a while but I’d really recommend it!

Longshan Temple

Longshan temple

I don’t have much to say about this temple, other than it’s pretty attractive and a popular spot for worshippers and tourists alike. Definitely worth a visit if you like temples!

Longshan temple columns

National Palace Museum

This is pretty much a must-do when visiting Taipei due to its enormous collection of Chinese art. I believe that much of it was brought to Taiwan by people fleeing the civil war in China. It’s a massive museum and you could spend hours in there. There is so much to see, including ceramics, calligraphy and ancient artefacts. I think that we spent a couple of hours looking round and by then we were pretty tired! I’d recommend that you don’t go on a weekend if at all possible, as it gets very busy. As it is, it is never exactly quiet.

The best way to get to the museum is to go to Shilin station and take the exit to the north side of Zhongzhen Road and catch bus 304, 255 or red 30.

Raohe Street Night Market

Raohe night market

This was one of our most fun evenings in Taipei. We had heard that there were lots of snack vendors in the night market so we purposely didn’t have dinner before going but instead bought a range of random snacks (most were good, some were average, none were bad) whilst working our way round the market. There was a really high quality of vendors at the market too. There was some of the usual tourist tat but there were also real craftspeople, selling everything from handbags and animal shaped leather purses to this guy who was creating the most amazing glass works right in front of our eyes!

Glassmaker Raohe night market

A great place to buy presents and maybe a little something or two for yourself ;)

Taipei 101

Again, another must-do when in Taipei. We’ve been in a number of observation decks in tall towers now, and this was definitely one of the best experiences. We turned up at about 10am and it was very busy, and when we bought our tickets we were told that we’d have to wait for about an hour to go up. We decided to kill time by going outside and taking photos of the tower from a nearby park, and when we got back we’d missed our slot! But they let us join the queue straight away instead.

Taipei 101

You were taken up to the top of the tower in groups and each group had a fixed period of time in each area, although the amount of time seemed pretty generous and we never felt rushed. The main observation deck was spacious with lots of information to read and things to look at as well as the view, of course. Luckily, we were blessed with good weather that day.

View from Taipei 101

Tom got very nerdy and enjoyed looking at the massive damper which helps to keep the tower stable and steady in high winds. It has been turned into a bit of a tourist attraction in itself, with a little cartoon version of it!

Taipei 101 damper

You could also go out onto the roof and enjoy the view in the fresh air, which made for better photos.

Hills from Taipei 101

Maokong

This area sits up in the hills to the south-east side of Taipei and is definitely worth a visit if you’d like to get out of the built-up areas. Take the MTR to Taipei Zoo station (we didn’t visit the zoo but apparently it’s quite good) and a couple of minutes walk away is the gondola (cable car) station which will take you up into the hills. We went on a weekend and had to queue for about 45 minutes to get into a gondola so it might be worth picking a less busy time if possible. The gondola ride gives great views across Taipei.

View from Maokong gondola

Maokong is famous for its tea houses, of which there are plenty. We plumped for one that was pretty near the gondola station and were given a little booth with cushions to sit on and the necessary tools for making tea the ‘proper’ Chinese way. Luckily, we had both seen Chinese tea ceremonies before and could just about figure out what we should be doing (although I’m sure that you could get someone to show you if you needed).

Drinking tea

It’s a really nice, quiet area up there and we really enjoyed wandering around (until it got dark) and then had dinner at a restaurant there overlooking the city. Nice!

Maokong tea houses

So those were the highlights of our trip to Taipei. It was a really nice mix of city and relaxing activities. It was easy to get around, all the attractions were either reasonably priced or free and the people were very friendly. My only criticisms as a tourist were that in some areas there wasn’t a lot of written English around (although a lot of people spoke English), and a lot of the restaurants seemed to shut pretty early so don’t leave it too late to go for dinner. However, if you’re looking for somewhere to go for the weekend, I think you could do a lot worse!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Sik Sik Yuen Temple – a busy Hong Kong place of worship

I think the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin temple (to give it its full name) is probably the busiest temple I’ve been to in Hong Kong. I’ve been a few times now and it’s always been bustling with people – some are tourists but many come to pray and have their fortunes told.

To get to the temple, go to Wong Tai Sin MTR station and leave by exit B2 or B3 and it’s right next to you – you can’t miss it. Very simple!

The temple isn’t actually very old, about 40 years, and it’s a mix of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian. It’s a complex of several shrines and worship areas, which all mean different things, but I’m afraid I don’t know much about it to be able to explain it to you! This is the main area where people go to pray, present incense to the shrine, or tell their fortune by shaking sticks out of a tin (the sticks have inscriptions on and the ones that fall out will tell you something about your future). Next to this area are also a large number of fortune telling booths.

Sik Sik Yuen temple 1

And here is me in front of the entrance to the main worship area! (a Chinese tourist insisted on taking my photo for me!) Obviously, this was pre-pregnancy ;)

Sik Sik Yuen temple 2

In front of where the above photo was taken are some quite interesting statues representing the Chinese zodiac:

Sik Sik Yuen temple 3

And here are some other views around the temple:

Sik Sik Yuen temple 4

Sik Sik Yuen temple 5

Sik Sik Yuen temple 6

Sik Sik Yuen temple 7

I quite liked this hexagonal building!

At the back of the temple complex is the Good Wish garden, which is generally pretty quiet. It’s not the finest example of a Chinese style garden I’ve seen in Hong Kong (I think the Kowloon Walled City Park is my favourite) but it’s a nice place to sit for a bit. There’s an honesty box which asks you to donate HK$2 (approx. £0.20) if you go in the garden.

Sik Sik Yuen temple 8

Sik Sik Yuen temple 9

I’d recommend a visit to the temple if you’re not familiar with temples of this type and want to see one ‘in action’. It’s an interesting place to visit!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery

If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway for a couple of hours in Hong Kong, then I’d recommend the Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery, which are right next to each other. They are also very easy to find – leave Diamond Hill MTR station by exit C1, turn left and walk round the corner (to the left). Cross the road and you are at the entrance to the gardens.

Both the gardens and nunnery were built very recently (there isn’t much in Hong Kong that is old!), but in a traditional style which is very attractive. The gardens have a recommended route which you are directed to walk round and you are not allowed to eat or drink (or presumably have any fun!).

One of the first things you come across in the gardens is a building housing a number of scale models of wooden structures from around China which are made without the use of any fixings such as nails (both the models and the original buildings). In fact, the Chi Lin Nunnery is made like this.

Other highlights from around the gardens include a banyan tree grove with tables and benches (a nice place to sit and chat or read a book):

Nan Lian Gardens banyan trees

There is also a tea house where you can learn about Chinese tea and have some tea ceremoniously made up for you, which is a lovely traditional pastime although the tea house is a little expensive. The tea house is housed in this long, low building:

Nan Lian Gardens tea house

There are also lots of structures, such as this bright pagoda in the middle of a pond:

Nan Lian Gardens pagoda…and other traditional style structures…

Nan Lian Gardens bridge

If you have been following the path marked for you, you will finish by the viewing platform, which has a nice view over the park.

Nan Lian gardens

Continuing along the viewing platform (so that you are walking away from the park) takes you over a bridge right to the entrance of the Chi Lin Nunnery, which is just across the road. If you don’t want to go over the bridge, there is an exit from the park by the viewing platform, which takes you to the road – simply cross the road and you are outside the nunnery.

Whilst you may spend an hour or so in the Nan Lian Gardens, you will probably spend significantly less time in the Chi Lin Nunnery as it isn’t very big (but you may wish to spend longer worshipping at the Buddhist shrines). The pictures below show the first main courtyard where you can admire the beautiful wooden structure and look at the lily ponds. However, you must not sit on the walls or steps – you will be moved on pretty quickly! There are a few chairs around the edge of the courtyard if you desperately need to sit for a bit.

Chi Lin Nunnery

Chi Lin Nunnery lily ponds

Chi Lin Nunnery 2

Continue straight on to reach the second courtyard which has a number of shrines around the edge. I didn’t take any photos in this area as I didn’t wish to cause offence. Each shrine is dedicated to a different Buddha and has an accompanying explanation.

The Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery are beautiful examples of traditional Chinese style architecture, although they are very new and pristine so some people don’t like them. I’ve visited them a couple of times now and always found it to be a very relaxing and interesting experience.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Go Cheung Chau!

This is what is written on the sign by the ferry pier to Cheung Chau Island in Central, Hong Kong. It always makes me smile! I think it’s just a literal translation from the Chinese, and just means something like ‘go to Cheung Chau from here’.

Cheung Chau is a really nice place to spend a day. It doesn’t take long to get to from Central (pier number 5), although it depends on whether you take a fast ferry or a normal one. The normal one takes about 50 minutes and feels like it goes incredibly slowly! The fast one takes about 30 minutes. I think they roughly alternate, but I tend to just catch the next one that is leaving and have to put up with it if it’s a slow one!

Cheung Chau Island is very close to Lantau Island. It’s a really funny shape with a very narrow part in the middle and then a much wider part at the top and bottom. I’m afraid I can’t think of a better way to describe it! The main town straddles the narrow part, and your ferry will land on one side, in amongst all the fishing boats. On the other side is a beach. I’ve only been there when it’s been pretty quiet but I reckon it gets very busy in summer! The town is really nice and laid back, especially once you walk about 5-10 minutes away from the ferry pier and escape all the other tourists. It doesn’t feel like Hong Kong, more like a holiday seaside town. Near the ferry pier are many touristy shops, the usual dried seafood sellers (smelly!) and little cafes.

Cheung Chau Island

This photo is from the north side of Cheung Chau, looking back over the town. You can clearly see the beach side from here and all the boats in the harbour on the other side.

The north side of the island has some nice views, like this one, and on a clear day also out towards Hong Kong island (it wasn’t a clear day when we went!). To walk around this side of the island, turn left when leaving the ferry pier and keep going for 5-10 minutes until you get to the Pak Tin Temple playground. Walk round the playground and stop for a brief look at the temple. To the left of the temple is a path leading upwards, follow this to the lookout spots. You can then take a path for a short walk around the north side of the island and back into town.

I have to admit that I prefer to go the other way and turn right out of the ferry pier. Keep following the path by the waterside and you walk around the bottom of the main harbour. The boats (and people!) thin out and you get views like this:

Fishing boats at Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau port

Dragon boat training on Cheung Chau

You can see some dragon boat training in the last photo – it’s really popular here in Hong Kong and people train for months in order to do a few short races during dragon boat season (which I think is in May or June). It’s really hard work – definitely doesn’t appeal to me!

Anyway, keep following the path until you come to the end of the esplanade (after about 20-30 minutes) and you can take a smaller path straight on which is signposted to another temple, or you can turn right and go up inland. I’d recommend you go inland. This path is usually very quiet. You walk through houses for about 5 minutes and then you are in the woods on the back of the island. After another couple of minutes, there’s a turning to the right – take this and follow the path down to Italian beach, which is a nice and often very quiet spot.

Italian beach, Cheung Chau

After you’ve sat on the rocks or the beach for a while, head back to the main path and continue on your way and have fun wandering the paths of the back of the island and the quieter high areas of the town. There are many routes to take and places to explore, and periodically there are signposts telling you where you are. I often wander for 30 minutes to an hour and finish up on the main beach. A very pleasant way to spend a day!

Do you have any more recommendations for things to see or do on Cheung Chau? Please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Sha Tin

The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery situated in the hills above Sha Tin is worth a look if you want to see one of the more unusual sights of Hong Kong. It was built in the 1950’s and has a large selection of life-sized Buddha statues (possibly a few hundred), along with the aforementioned 10,000 miniature Buddhas in the main temple.

To get to the monastery, leave Sha Tin MTR by exit B and turn left along the side of the bus terminal. You will walk down a ramp and along a road past the traditional houses of Pai Tau village. After a couple of minutes, you reach a turning and on the opposite side of the road is a large mall called HomeSquare. Turn left down the turning (Pai Tau Street) and then take the first right (Sheung Wo Che Road). At the end of this short road is the unassuming entrance to the monastery complex. Don’t worry, there is a sign! Just turn left and start walking uphill.

The first time I came here I was approached by a monk trying to sell me a bracelet. I just shook my head and he let me past. As I was climbing up to the monastery, I saw several signs telling me not to give money to these ‘monks’ as real monks aren’t allowed to beg, they are supposed to live on what they have. So if you ever see a Buddhist monk begging or trying to sell you something, I would suggest that you don’t give them any money.

The ascent up to the main temple complex looks a little like this:

10000 buddhas temple ascent

At the top there are more collections of the life-size gold Buddhas…

10000 buddhas shatin

…and a complex of temples and associated buildings

10000 buddha temple forecourt

10000 buddha temple

The building with the red roof in the photo above houses the 10,000 miniature Buddhas. There were signs saying not to take photos inside the temple so I’m afraid I can’t show you any more detail.

Spread throughout the complex, the life-size Buddhas are the real highlight. They are all different and some are very unusual! Here are some of my favourites:

10000 buddhas thai buddha

10000 buddhas soldier buddha

10000 buddhas long legs

10000 buddhas eyebrows

10000 buddhas legs for eyes

10000 buddhas long arm

I know very little about Buddhism so I cannot tell you why there are these different types of Buddhas, or what the different features mean. Maybe you could let me know if you find out!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel