There are many temples in Asia, or even in Hong Kong, but the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a very unique one. If you were to visit one temple only in Hong Kong, this should be the one. It consists out of 5 temples, 4 pavilions and a pagoda. As the name suggests, there are over ten thousand Buddha statues in this place. Because of its location atop a hill, there are some spectacular views and it is generally an exciting place to be.
When I walked out of the metro station, it was raining a bit, unfortunately. This made me decide to go to the toilets first, in the New Town Plaza shopping mall that is attached to the metro building. On my way there I was stopped by a group of young Chinese students who wanted to sing a happy birthday song with me. This seemed to be part of an assignment of theirs so they had to record the whole thing too. I was happy to oblige them but I don’t think they were very impressed with my singing skills.
The toilets in the mall were very poorly indicated and were sending me in a very wide U-turn. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is done intentionally so you have to walk across all the shops first, making some impulsive purchases along the way. I didn’t fall victim to this plan.
Finding the way to the monastery isn’t that hard, although it’s not being indicated when walking from the metro station. Directions to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery can be found here, for those planning a visit. This is yet another activity in Hong Kong that is totally free of charge.
Getting to the monastery is a pretty steep climb. From the bottom of the mountain, I was accompanied by dozens of Buddha statues along the road. It takes a little over 430 steps to get to the top. I walked up there at about average walking speed and it took me some 20 minutes to get up. There are many monkeys living in this area and they can sometimes be seen, walking along the pathway. I would have liked to encounter some of them but they were a bit shy today, unfortunately.
The Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda, pictured above, is at the centre of the Main Plaza. Because it is located at the edge of the hilltop, it is visible from miles away. What I liked about this pagoda is that you can actually go inside of it and go all the way to the top. Most of the tourist places I have been at, don’t usually allow people going inside such buildings, so this was a nice surprise. Another cool thing about the pagoda is that it’s issued on the HSBC variant of the older 100 HKD bank notes.
The Main Hall is situated at the Main Plaza. It’s the building with the golden dragons on the front. This is where the actual ten thousand Buddha statues are inside. I would have liked to make a picture and show it here but unfortunately no photographs are allowed inside these areas.
After having walked around at the Main Plaza a bit, I walked uphill a little further and found yet some more Buddha statues. It’s easy to miss this higher area and I’m glad I didn’t. There is a pool of turtles here and some Arhan statues which are overlooking the city. At the end of this place there is an ivory white Buddha statue, situated beautifully underneath a waterfall.
I decided to take another pathway for my descent, to make the walk a little less boring. This turned out to be a good idea as it was less steep than the other pathway. It was also a bit closer to the metro station. Needless to say, this pathway was also filled with Buddha statues. For anyone wanting to use this road on their visit, it can be found at the back of the Main Plaza, left of the toilets.
I think the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is definitely worth the climb. The temple is different from most others I have seen and has its own style. Every Buddha statue is unique with its own character and facial expressions, which makes it very impressive. Other than that, the view of the Sha Tin area in itself, already makes it worthwhile. Strangely enough there were only a handful of tourists walking around there, during my visit. This made me feel like i owned the place.