There's more to Hong Kong than skyscrapers, gorgeous malls and clamorous streets. No, Hong Kong has a beauty that goes deeper than that. It has a rich culture and heritage that never fails to impress anyone who visits it. If you're planning a trip to Hong Kong, you might have prepared an itinerary which includes all these amazing malls and marketplaces where you can shop for titbits and take back home memoirs. But as they say, memories are worth more than memoirs. You should take back something more with you, a bit of Hong Kong to help you remember what a fabulous trip it was. The city, which was once occupied by the British has a rich history hiding behind every building, every monument.
You just need to keep your eyes and ears open to imbibe the rich culture all around you. These are rare gems which you need to uncover to truly understand their essence. There are plenty of temples, museums, Chinese gardens and places of historical and cultural interest which would surely mesmerize you. Before you go ahead and jot down that itinerary of yours, maybe you should go through this list of the cultural sights in Hong Kong.
1) Po Lin Monastery:
This monastery is located on the Lantau Island. One of the major attractions there is the Tian Tan Buddha. It's not just the monastery which forms the prime attraction; when you reach the place, you will be greeted with a stunning view of the South China Sea and the surrounding mountains. The statue of the Buddha is about 34 metres tall which makes it the largest in the world at present. One of the most fascinating things there is the six-tonne ball- it rings about 108 times in a day. Imagine that! Plus, the entire monastery is adorned in gold!
2) Wong Tai Sin Temple:
The temple is technically a Taoist one; however, you will still find Confucian texts and Buddhist relics here. As the legend goes, if you pray at the shrine by paying your respects, your prayers would be answered. According to the devout worshippers there, this is the place you want to go to if you want to confess your sins and reflect upon them. Here's another fascinating feature- kau cim is practiced here. It is an ancient art of fortune telling and as the people of Hong Kong say, the predictions do come true. But most people visit the temple for its stupendous architecture and also its cultural significance.
3) Lam Tsuen:
Now this is an interesting one. Two huge banyan trees are the main focus of the community here which is said to be at least 700 years old. Traditionally, the people would write down their wishes, tie the paper to an orange and hang it from the branches of the tree. That was said to usher in good luck. However, the growing age of the trees doesn't allow that anymore. Yet, the story alone is enough to make people flock to the tree to pay their respects. The trees have a majestic charm which you'll surely admire. Don't you want to try your luck at the wishing tree?
4) Hong Kong Heritage Museum:
If you want to get an idea about the rich culture of Hong Kong and its surrounding areas, the museum should be your next destination. The museum happens to be centrally located; you could stroll down to the beautiful place one evening and spend your time looking up and studying the ancient artefacts on display. The Hong Kong Heritage Museum contains artefacts and valuables related to the fields of history, arts and culture. There is a Cantonese Opera Hall in there, which is really interesting. However, you must check out the traditionally designed shed theatre made of bamboo for a rustic feel.
5) Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre:
Now you might come across the names of these museums and temples frequently, but you would seldom come across this creative arts theatre. This is a delightful little place. It allows all creative arts lovers to assemble and share opinions and pieces related to their art. For instance, if you love classical music, you could attend one of the sessions there and make the most of the experience there. This is not just an amazing cultural experience that few places will offer to you, but also an educational one. You’ll know much more about creative arts by the time you leave.
6) Yim Tin Tsai Village:
This is a quiet, peaceful little catholic community located on the island which goes by the same name. If you’ve spent the last few days exploring the city and touring the museums of the city, you would love this little place. What seems like an ordinary little village has a special history behind it which dates back to the late nineteenth century. During the late 1870s, all the members of the village were baptized. Strange and yet so very fascinating! Today, you would find all the inhabitants scattered all over the city, but back in day; it used to be an orthodox and largely closed off community.
7) Dragon Garden:
Talk about an interesting name! However, before you actually conjure up images of fire-breathing dragons, you should know that there’s nothing of the sort here. This is a privately owned and maintained park in Hong Kong, and surprisingly, not many people know about it. There are ornate pavilions, water features, stone sculptures and towering archways everywhere you look. This would be the perfect place for a lazy afternoon with your loved ones. Also, for the click-happy people out there, the beauty of the natural garden is sure to make you quite popular on social media.
Apart from these 7 places, there are a plethora of options if you’re talking about cultural sights in Hong Kong. It is really rare to find a city that is so bustling with life, yet nurturing such a beautiful culture inside. If you’re planning a visit to Hong Kong, you should certainly make it a point to visit these places.