I’ve been to Hong Kong six times so far and have only ever used public transport; the trams, MTR and ferries are all so cheap and plentiful. The trams in particular are magical, you’ll hear the loud rattle of metal before you see them. Running the full length of Hong Kong Island from 6am to midnight, the tram is the perfect way to experience the various districts. And with a single journey costing just 2.30 HKD (30 cents or 19 pence) you can hop on and off at your leisure!
And the perfect way to discover the multitude of magical Chinese, Buddhist and Taoist temples on Hong Kong Island is by tram. These are our Top 7 temples which are located along the tramline;
Man Mo Temple, Sheung Wan
Hong Kong Island is home to the colourful Man Mo Temple on the city’s Hollywood Road. Built in 1847 to honour the God of Literature (Man Tai) and the God of War (Mo Tai), you’ll likely smell the temple before you see it! Huge incense coils adorn the ceiling and every available space and the heady scent assaults your nostrils (in a good way!) Sticks of incense are lit to honour the gods at this temple, which is located close to the hectic financial district. Step inside and enjoy the ambience. Man Mo is a Grade I listed building and also a Declared Monument.
Pak Tai Temple, Wan Chai
The central Wan Chai district is home to the Pak Tai Temple on O’Brien Street. This was built to honour the God Pak Tai, the Supreme Emperor of the North. Visitors will spot a tortoise and serpent beneath the feet of Pak Tai which symbolises that good is victorious over evil. The birthday of Pak Tai is celebrated on 21st April each year, so expect an increased local attendance.
Hung Shing Temple, wan Chai
Staying in the Wan Chai district, you’ll also find the Hung Shing Temple on Queen’s Road East. Built in 1847 this highly ornate temple is sandwiched between modern shop fronts. It was constructed in remembrance of an official from the tang dynasty of 618-907. It’s also Grade 1 listed and is part of the Wan Chai Heritage Trail, which features 15 culturally and historically important sites within Hong Kong.
Tin Hau Temple, Causeway Bay
Moving on to the main entertainment district of Causeway Bay and the first of many temples dedicated to Tin Hau. In fact there are more than 70 Tin Hau Temples in Hong Kong! Built to honour the Goddess of the Sea, it’s said that worshipping her brings protection at sea. Located on T in Hau Temple Road, this gem is just around the corner from major hotels, and Victoria Park and is one that I’ve been to several times.
Tin Hau Temple, Shau Kei Wan
This particular Tin Hau Temple was built in 1873 and features colourful murals, elaborate wood carvings and traditional Shek Wan pottery. The oldest and largest Tin Hau temple within Hong is the one at Joss House Bay which was built in 1266.
Lin Fa Kung Temple, Tai Hang
Just southeast of Causeway Bay is Tai Hung district, which is home to the magnificent Buddhist Lin Fa Temple. This is where, according to legend, the Goddess of Mercy appeared. Originally built in 1863, the temple really comes to life during key festivals such as the mid-autumn festival when the fire dragon dance is held.
Tam Kung Temple, Shau Kei Wan
The Tam Kung Temple is dedicated to the Chinese deity of the same name, yet is only known within Hong Kong. This particular temple is located at the end of the tram line in Shau Kei Wan, in the east of the island. Built around 100 years ago, Tam Kung was a youth deity who possessed supernatural powers and who, as legend goes, could predict the weather, earning him the respect of fishermen!