Until some years ago, the New Territories (the land north of Kowloon) were an idyllic rural area with a lovely mountain scenery, peaceful forests, lots of agriculture and only a few small villages. But things have definitely changed since then! The strong population growth in the territory of Hong Kong has led to more and more suburban housing areas being built in the New Territories, the so-called New Towns. As a consequence, large parts of the New Territories are nowadays a veritable concrete jungle, full of boring 20 to 30 floor high apartment buildings. Outside the New Towns, however, the beautiful mountains and hills are still there. Large parts of the New Territories are Country Parks and you can take lovely walks in the forests and observe butterflies (an astonishing number and variety of beautiful coloured butterflies can be seen there!) and even discover pretty white sand beaches. If you have more than the usual three or four days for sightseeing at your disposal, and are fond of natural beauty, you should definitely plan to spend at least one or two full days exploring the New Territories leisurely.
If you have less time, you can visit the Temple of 10.000 Buddhas, one of the most popular temples in Hong Kong, within one morning or afternoon and catch at least a glimpse of the scenery of the New Territories. You can reach the temple with the Canton-Kowloon- Railway (abridged to KCR). The trains leave from Hung Hom or Kowloon Tong in Kowloon (Kowloon Tong also has a MTR (Subway) connection, so it might be more comfortable to reach. The station for the Temple of 10.000 Buddhas is Sha Tin, one of the so-called New Towns. It is a 15 minutes walk from the KCR station to the temple. When you leave the station, you turn left and walk until you reach Pai Tau Street. At the end of Tai Pau Street are signs that lead to the temple.
temple was founded in 1950. On the first of its two levels a high pagoda
with decorated pavilions at both sides has been built. The temple was built
on the foot of a hill; there are a lot of stairs to be climbed ( there
is, however, also an elevator) On the inner walls of the lower temple hall
are shelves with lots of tiny golden Buddha statues - there can`t be just
ten thousand; they must be more! On the upper level of the temple
you find the ancestral worship halls - rooms with hundreds and hundreds
of small niches in the walls. Each niche contains an urn and is covered
with a tablet with a picture and the name of the deceased. Outside fires
are burning in small stoves, where paper representations of food, money,
and other offerings are burned in order to gain the god`s favour for the
dead. The sales office for the ancestral worship halls is on the same floor
- all major credit cards are accepted (so that the eternal rest can
start immediately)! From the highest level of the temple you have a very
good view of Sha Tin and the surrounding mountains.
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