Hello my fellow travellers!
Today has been a good day filled to the brim with Chinese heritage sites. I begun the day with visit to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (fair warning, it's not actually a monastery since there are no monks living here, the temple is run by laymen).
It's a sweaty hike up a steep hill to reach the monastery and the path there is lined with golden statues. I must admit that some of the statues here are really creepy and not in the good creepy awe-inspiring way but in a just plain creepy way. Regardless it's a nice place to visit and definitely worth you time.
After the visit to the monastery I made my way to the Che Kung Temple which is absolutely amazing, it is a Ming Dynasty temple dedicated to the ancient general Che Kung and within the temple stands a colossal golden statue of the general, looking down and judging all who enter to ask his protection and guidance.
While leaving the Che Kung temple my eyes fell on another small temple perched on top of a hill nearby and I decided to go and look at it, it
was in a private housing area which was closed by a gate but as I approached people readily opened up for me without me even asking for it. As I came to the temple steps I found my way blocked by to gods that faithfully guarded the temple. I remained at a respectful distance until some of the people living in the area came and cleared my standing with the dogs.
The temple in question was called Chihong Temple and it is quite beautiful, you can see that it is a newer temple but I can honestly say the it's worth a visit.
Next on my agenda was the Ping Shan Heritage trail, however, while going to the train station I noticed on the station information that a station four stops away in the other direction had a temple called Fung Yin Seen Koon that looked very interesting so I decided to pay a visit to it. It was a good decision because the temple is located in an absolutely beautiful location and is quite stunning. It's large and it was also my first time seeing a Chinese cemetery and funeral rites which was very interesting to witness.
I ended up spending quite some time here.
So far my day I had been the only Caucasian around and I love it, it's nice to see that I'm going a bit of the beaten track so to speak. While visiting the Ping Shan Heritage trail I expected more tourist but even here I only stumbled upon a couple. The trail is very interesting to follow but the map provided is kind of crappy so it took me a while to find all the spots on it.
The trail goes through a inhabited old village which is beautiful in it's own right. Acting in a respectful manner is advised as you're quite literally walking around in peoples backyards. But, the official trail begins with the 600 year old Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda which is the only ancient pagoda left in Hong Kong.
Next I followed the trail to the Shrine of the Earth God, it's nothing to fancy but it's an interesting place as this type of shrines were common in traditional Chinese villages. From the Earth Shrine I walked by the Sheung Cheung Wai which is an old walled city, it's today a residential area and
is not open to the public but you get a good look of it's exterior.
Not far from the walled village (well, nothing is really far from anything here) is the Old Well which really isn't much more than a hole in the ground but the next stop is quite amazing though! The ancient Yeung Hau Temple does not strike an impressive pose from the outside but once you enter it you will find some really vivid decorations so don't dismiss the beautiful place before entering it!
This is where the map started to get a bit wonky so finding my way to the Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall and Tang Ancestral Hall took me a little while even though they are really just around the corner. Both of these are truly amazing and was constructed about 300 and 700 years ago respectively.
From the ancestral halls it's just a stone throw to reach the 19th century Kun Ting Study Hall with the adjoining Ching Shu Hin (which served as a guest-house for important visitors). I reached these just as the lady in charge of them was closing up but she was kind enough to let me enter
and visit is and I'm glad she did because both of them are quite beautiful examples of Chinese architecture.
Following that was another study hall, or rather the entrance of one since that's all that remains of it, the Entrance Hall of Shut Ying Study Hall is so beautiful that I wish the rest of it was still standing but it was unfortunately demolished in the 70's. It was kind of hard to find it as it was tucked away in a small alley amongst the local residences but some nice shop-owners pointed me to the right place.
By now the closing time for all sites had passed but I decided to keep going and to my good fortune I found the Hung Shing Temple still open and this 18th century temple sure is beautiful! It's quite similar in size to Yeung Hau Temple and just like that temple this one doesn't strike a chord so much from the outside as it does from the inside. Although, in fairness the surroundings of this temple are very nice as it's located next to a small square where you can see a big pond with fish swimming in it. These
fish were quite remarkable in that they didn't swim away when I approached but rather the opposite they all gathered in for some nice photo-posing.
Next stop was not so lucky, the whole area of the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery was closed which is a shame because I was looking forward to seeing the building itself because it's housed in an old colonial police station but I couldn't see it even from a distance.
Even so I decided to take a chance on the next and final site, the Yan Tun Kong Study Hall, it was of course closed, but as I stood there admiring it's painted doors an elder gentleman who was playing with his grandchild asked if I wanted to visit it.
I said that sure if it's possible and just like that he opened it's doors to me, at least and hour and half after it's official closing hours. So there I was, standing in this beautiful place without any tourists as far as the eye can see. I must indeed be blessed!
Anyway, time was running late so I thanked the old man again and made my way back to the
train station and returned to the city where i visited the goldfish market. It's really more of and general animal market I found but it was quite interesting to see the row upon row of plastic bags filled with fish. I would have also have loved to visit the Bird Market and the Jade Market but honestly by now I was so tired that I decided to just return to Jody and get some rest.
Tomorrow I will say goodbye to Hong Kong and continue my journey to Singapore, I have really enjoyed my time here and I must admit that this city has a lot more to offer than I thought before I came here. I can definitely recommend it both for urban explorers and cultural seekers.
Until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!
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