Many facets help to create the soul of a place. This tour visits three sites that put into context the history and social and religious culture of the city and how they relate to modern life.
An anomaly during colonial times, the Walled City remained as Chinese territory not subject to Hong Kong law. Founded over 1,000 years ago as a customs and trading post it then became a fort. After World War 2 the site grew into an insanitary warren housing small businesses and 30,000 people. It was demolished with the agreement of the Chinese government and in 1994 a Qing Dynasty-style park created, preserving the old yamen buildings.
Not a single metal nail was used in the building of this magnificent Tang Dynasty-style Buddhist temple which houses statues of Sakyamuni Buddha and Guan Yin. The adjoining Nan Lian Garden, for which the Nunnery pays a rent of $1 a year, is based on a painting of an original Tang garden with every feature placed according to strict rules. A peaceful place in which to rest and enjoy the simple vegetarian snack provided.
It may seem strange that a temple dedicated to the Queen of the Sea is in a busy urban area. When it was founded in 1864, it was, indeed, at the water's edge. There are four temples in the complex, an excellent example of the inclusive nature of Taoism, with the Goddess of Mercy, the City God and a local district god represented. The temple offers the chance to learn more about Chinese religion.
Days of operation: Tuesday and Thursday mornings
Departure time: HK Island 0915; Tsim Sha Tsui 0940
Duration: 4.5 to 5 hours (including pick-up and drop-off)
HK Island: Airport Express Check-in Hall by exit door opposite check-in counter 1
Tsim Sha Tsui: Salisbury YMCA hotel lobby
Cost: HK$490 per person. Children under 11, no charge
Bookings: telephone (852) 2548 6200
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