Entering Hong Kong for the first time is going to be a cultural shock to anyone, let alone someone who has never entered Asia before. The universally labelled Asia’s World City has more than 600 Chinese temples spread out throughout the territory some dating back as far as 700 years so I thought it would be a good idea to see what some of the temples this vibrant city had to offer.
The first temple I got to see was the Wong Tai Sin temple located in the south side of Kowloon. The 18,000-meter squared temple is a shrine in honour of the great immortal Wong and is famed for its practice of kau cim with the idea that ‘what you request is what you get.’
The temple is generally considered as one of the city’s best known temples and as I pulled into the car park it was clear to see this temple was more of a tourist trap with its abundance of coaches and matching coloured tour groups.
Annually the temple receives masses of visitors especially around the Chinese New Year period in January (which was when I made my visit to the temple) and the temple was packed with not only tourists but with locals and mainly mainland Chinese people making their prayers.
However the temple on the whole seemed to lack some kind of spiritual feel mainly due to the fact it plain and simply was such a tourist attraction. It was strange walking around the middle of the temple with people focused on praying either side of you separated by fences, as if that itself was part of the tourist attraction. On the whole Wong Tai Sin left a memorable yet disappointing first impression of what Hong Kong’s temples have to offer.