Traveling and Learning Something New
For the longest time I thought Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin Temple is a Buddhist temple. But its not. It’s actually a Taoist temple. And yes there are differences and you can learn about it here if you don’t know already. Even though there are differences Wong Tai Sin still has slight Buddhist and Confucian influences as well.
The last time I visited Wong Tai Sin was roughly 20 years ago. My memory is still good though foggy with age, I can still remember back then it was smaller with just the main temple.
Today that same main temple is still there but the temple grounds have expanded greatly. And there’s a new mall next to the temple aptly named Temple Mall. And even a jumbo TV screen which certainly was there 20 years ago. The surrounding area has changed so much I couldn’t believe it. But I shouldn’t be surprised. Hong Kong is always on the change.
What I also noticed is everything seems more organized. There are many more signs posted with tourists information. As much as its a popular tourist attraction, Wong Tai Sin is visited mainly by devout worshippers coming in to pray for good health, good luck and good fortunes.
Something also new are Chinese Zodiac Statues. It seems to be quite popular with visitors standing next to their Zodiac animals representing their birth year.
And today because there are so many visitors I also noticed there are temple workers around for crowd control. I was there on a weekday. I’m sure on weekends Wong Tai Sin can get a lot more crowded with visitors.
There is a lot of history with Wong Tai Sin Temple which I won’t go into detail here. So if you want to learn some history it’s better you check out ol’ wikipedia here.
Another major change at Wong Tai Sin is a new underground palace type worship hall called Tai Sui Yuenchen Hall. But as you might know by now I’m a piss poor planner when it comes to traveling. So I wasn’t aware of this newer addition. Apparently this new hall cost HK$100 million and took 3 years to complete. And there is a HK$100 entrance fee.
What’s so unique about Tai Sui Yuenchen Hall is worshippers do not make their personal requests through burning incense. For HK$300 you can write what you wish for on a piece of paper, drop it in a box, and a puff of smoke comes out. I’m not a devout Taoist. But I can tell you next time I visit Wong Tai Sin you can bet I’ll be trying that out.
And if you ever get the feeling you want to be a local for the day, you can purchase incense sticks at shops outside the temple entrance. And Temple Mall is not far away either close to Wong Tai Sin MTR subway station.
Wong Tai Sin Temple is worth a visit if you’ve got some time to spare in Hong Kong. As much as everything around it has changed I’m still excited to visit the area and see what else is planned in the future.
How to Get to Wong Tai Sin Temple
Take the subway to Wong Tai Sin MTR station. You want to look for Exit B3 which is also near Temple Mall as well.