I slept slightly better on Friday night than I did on Thursday, but not a whole hell of a lot better. I probably slept about 5 hours throughout the night. I was awake, showered and ready to hit the town by around 06h00, like the day before, EAD and I decided to meet at 08h00 for breakfast. The breakfast on Saturday morning was the same as it was on Friday morning – there were just about twice as many people eating on Saturday.
Our plan for Saturday was to visit the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas, then we would grab lunch and explore the Sha Tin neighborhood. Our second morning was a bit luckier as it relates to the use of Le Méridien Shuttle (we actually caught the shuttle this time). This was a much nicer ride into the Central Station on the bus than the taxi — the taxi wasn’t bad at all, just the bus was cleaner and more comfortable.
We decided to take the Metro to see the Buddhas – which required three train lines, but only took 45 minutes. We left Central Station on the Red Line to Prince Edward Station, where we transferred to the Green Line and then connecting at the Kowloon Tong Station for the Light Blue Line (East Rail Line) finally ending up at Sha Tin Station. We knew it was a short walk from the Station to the Temple, but we had heard this was a bit of a confusing walk. We had a guidebook that evidently gave great directions – that is of course until construction changes the streets/landmarks around the area.
We followed the directions as best we could – then we found a sign to the temple on the hill. There are hundreds of stairs leading up to the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas. Everything I read/heard was that the stair climb can be taxing especially in summer with the heat and humidity. We saw the stairs, then saw an escalator right next to it. I heard nothing of an escalator – we thought this had been installed after our friends had visited and our guidebook published. We continued to the top and found only a couple of locals hanging out. Inside the temple the ceilings were a couple dozen feet high and the walls were covered with thousands of cubbyholes – each holding a different Buddha.
We decided that our planned visit out here was pretty lame. This temple, while interesting, sure wasn’t worth a visit, especially on a quick 3 day trip. We snapped a couple final pictures, and headed out. As we walk out a different door, we saw this sign:
Well that makes a lot more sense. We were in the wrong place. We headed back down the stairs (the escalator only goes in one direction). We were laughing that we were ready to head back to Central Station thinking we’ve seen the temple. The signs were a little less clear once we got outside and back to the street, but we found it. To enter the temple you walk past a parking lot near a grocery store and pass between a small gate in a chain link fence.
We approached the main entrance to the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas and came across two monks waiting at the entrance. We read earlier that these aren’t really monks, there are just scammers dressed like monks wanting your cash for a fake blessing. I’m gad we read about this before our arrival.
After we passed the monks, we knew we were in the right spot. We saw a ton of stairs leading up a mountain — all flanked by different life-sized Buddhas all in different poses and with different expressions. Luckily, the day we visited the Temple it was only about 18C with no humidity – so we weren’t big sweaty messes. My favorite of the Buddhas are below. Be warned, some of my captions may be offensive to some, but these are the first thoughts that came to mind when I saw these statutes.
I enjoyed this little trek out to see the Temple and was really moved by the various statues, their expressions, their stances and sheer quantity of them. If you have a few hours to kill while in Hong Kong, take a quick trip out to see the Temple. Once you get off the Metro, ask for directions – don’t waste your time attempting to find the Temple on your own.
Have you been to the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas? Where you lucky enough to have cool weather while visiting?