Even though I’m a local in Hong Kong and I’m trying to get to know the real city, that doesn’t mean I’m against visiting the “tourist” destinations. I’ve never been against visiting the popular places because, I mean, they became popular for a reason. The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is one of those locations and comes up on basically every “must do” list for the city.
I must admit I got a little vlogger shy filming here. There weren’t any signs saying that filming wasn’t allowed, but I still didn’t want to be blabbing loudly at a camera so I chose to work the voice over in this video.
This place, you guys, is so cool.
I didn’t expect much honestly. I thought it’d be a single temple with a bazillion little Buddhas stacked up the walls. Nope. Nope. Nope.
The Monastery, which is not really a monastery because no monks actually reside on premises, is located in Sha Tin which is a bit out of the way for the average Hong Konger, However, it’s also in the same area as one of the only two IKEAs in Hong Kong, so you can use that as motivation if you need to.
You’ll know you’ve arrived once you are greeted by literally hundreds of life sized, golden Buddhas on either side of you. The statues are each unique and I’m sure have many different religious significance that was lost on me, but I could appreciate it none the less. The walk up to the monastery was quite an uphill trek in itself but a fascinating start to the experience. I unfortunately have very little knowledge of the Buddhist religion and so I can’t offer to much information on the meaning of any of the statues, but even in my ignorance I found the place fascinating and immensely peaceful.
Once you make it to the top the Monastery splits into two sections: one area (to the right) is smaller and offers stunning views of the Sha Tin area while the other (to the left) is a large central area with sizable, ornate sculptures.
I started to the right and was greeted by a number of smaller temples all filled to the brim with more tiny, golden Buddhas. This section is very quiet and shady and I spotted a few monkeys chilling out in the branches above. The buildings feature some incredible artwork and – bonus! – there’s a turtle pond!
This part of the monastery is beautiful and features a small garden with a large white statue – yet again, I’m not sure of who or why, but it’s lovely. This entire section has a very Thailand feel to it and kind of takes you out of the hubbub of Hong Kong for a moment.
After leaving this part of the monastery you can head over to the main plaza area which has a massive tower, a few pagodas, and a large hall filled with even more Buddhas! This area even has a very small eating area where you can grab a snack if you’re famished.
I was fortunate enough to be there on an absolutely gorgeous day and whilst I walked around the central plaza I couldn’t help but marvel at how lucky I am to be a local here and drink this in all day long. I learned a lot about contentment that day and how it’s a choice. No matter how many of your dreams come true you will always have more dreams and desire more. It’s choosing to be thankful for what you have and being grateful that you are blessed enough to even be sitting here breathing. This is something I have been reminding myself of a lot lately.
After walking around for a couple of hours I headed back to civilization far below. I was greeted by a crowd of monkeys and father and his boys who were trying to feed them ice cream. (Shame, shame) Although you should never feed wild animals people food, I have to admit it was hilarious to see one of the macaques sneak up behind one of the boys and snatch a treat right out of the bewildered child’s hand. Laughter was had.
In closing, I put my stamp of approval on the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery and would recommend it to anyone visiting the Hong Kong area. It’s a little mysterious, a little unnerving, and a lot of Asian culture in one location. On top of that it’ll get you up in the New Territories which I think are the best kept secret of Hong Kong.