Are you a fan of Snoopy and Charlie Brown?
Here’s an activity for the non-tourists, who prefer to take a different route from your travel guidebook. On my way back to the Sha Tin train station from the Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery, I chanced upon this:
I walked around the pillars and found the entrance to what was known as ‘Snoopy’s World’.
It’s free of charge, and there really isn’t much to do unless you have children. There isn’t much I can tell you, except that it’s connected to the New Town Plaza shopping mall. Snoopy World isn’t crowded – again, it isn’t a touristy area. Drop by at least, just to take a few pictures of these familiar characters!
On a recent trip to various countries, I had a short stopover at Hong Kong. It was a familiar city to be in, and I really wasn’t a tourist anymore.
I chanced upon the Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery located in Sha Tin in the New Territories. This temple overlooks Sha Tin and gives a beautiful view of Hong Kong’s village areas.
This Buddhist complex comprises of 5 temples and a beautiful pagoda. It’s a long walk up, and the 431-steps route is lined with thousands of Buddhist statues (hence the name). The pagoda is accessible by a spiral staircase. Inside, you will find gold statues at each of the windows over-looking the temple compound.
You will also find in the main temple, over ten thousands miniature golden Buddha statues lining the inner walls. However, respecting the compound’s rules, I am unable to share any photos. I could however say – do visit when you can!
The higher you get to, the more elaborate the statues. If you keep walking past the main hall, you will find another pathway that takes your journey further up the bamboo-lined hillside. The upper terrace houses a huge Kwan Yin statue before a waterfall, and many statues lining a bridge around a pond. The Jade Emperor Hall is also situated at the upper terrace (This was also where I’d met the man on a journey.) Once again, I am unable to share these photos, but would strongly encourage you to visit if you have a chance. To get to this magnificent temple, take the most convenient transport in Hong Kong – the MTR. Head towards the Sha Tin station and walk towards Exit B. Keep walking towards the Home Centre Shopping centre, and you’ll find the start of the walk on the left of a little street. I guess it hasn’t been a popular location for tourists because of its religious nature and the fact that it isn’t exactly easily accessible. Nonetheless, I ask – do we procrastinate and wait, or do we seize the opportunity to see these amazing things around the world?
As mentioned in the earlier post about re-visiting Hong Kong, I decided to take pictures even as I walked through a public garden at Diamond Hill. This is the Nan Lian Garden, which could be translated with severe lack of sophistication as “Lotus” Garden.
The Nan Lian Garden, built with the influence of Tang Dynasty architecture, sits amidst high-rise buildings and the mountain ranges at Diamond Hill. This park has strict rules against photo-taking, i.e. no wedding / graduation shots allowed and peace has to be maintained within. Walking into the Nan Lian Garden felt like I entering the past – traditional Chinese culture was prevalent, from the potted plants, rocks, to timber pavilions The garden was decorated with little road signs that seemed to appear only in ancient China, and a soothing Chinese music pervaded the place.
Crossing over a stone bridge, one will arrive at the Chi Lin Nunnery, a large Buddhist building complex built entirely of wood and without nails! This is again attributed to Tang Dynasty architectural methods and strongly contrasts with the modern developments of Hong Kong. Show a lot of respect and take your time to learn about the history as you make your way around the temple complex.
Both places are well worth the visit, even if just to admire traditional architecture in a modern city! And if you want to get there, take the ever-reliable trains of Hong Kong!
Hello again! I’m finally back!
A story follows the title – I used to spend a significant amount of time in Hong Kong and suddenly things changed. It has been 4 years since my last trip to the bustling city. Everything used to be so mundane, so common, so uncool.
This time, I’d learnt that photos could be beneficial for me to remember what used to be and what not. I’d decided to take a few shots of places we’d often taken for granted.
Hong Kong has a superb public transport system. The airport provides an “Airport Express” that leads you into the inner islands of the country (i.e. Kowloon or Hong Kong island), all at only HKD100. Stopping at these stations, you can either hop onto their main trains or if you are a visitor staying at a hotel, bus shuttles are also available, often for free.
The Hong Kong train system is one thing to rave about. High speed public transport at extremely cheap fares can bring you across the city in less than an hour. Superb ventilation and ease of transfer makes this the best mode of travelling. Trains come in intervals of 2 – 3 minutes. Here’s a picture of a less-populated train station – far out from the town centre. This isn’t representative of the advanced stations they have around the main city area, but even as I abandon the throngs of people in the city-centre, the transport system is still as amazing as ever!
A short walk out of the station, I passed by a Che Kung Temple. I started to realise the impeccable directional signages they’ve put up to lead anyone from a train station to their desired location. One could almost never get lost in the country. A quick read of the history showed that this temple was built in honour of a military commander from the Song dynasty. Legend has it that an epidemic was halted upon completion of this temple. Some also believe that spinning a golden fan-blade in the altar can bring good luck.
The beauty of Hong Kong is in its ability to strike a balance between its advancements as a financial hub and retaining the traditional elements of its culture – all within the vast mountains and natural landscape. Definitely worth at least a 4-day visit instead of just stopping by for flight transit!