The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong is one of the region’s most unique sights. Perched high above a long steep hike, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a fantastically unique and ornate Buddhist site of worship. What makes it so incredible is the spectacular path that leads to it.
Upon exiting Sha Tin station in Hong Kong‘s Northern Territories, at first glance there’s very little to suggest at what’s in store. But tucked away behind a home furnishings mall and a government office building an unassuming alley suddenly reveals the incredible path to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
The steep route is lined by a bewildering array of hundreds of life size golden
The dazzling statues are a welcome guide on the steep trek up towards the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Hong Kong is a mountainous place, and the path to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is quite a climb – around 430 steps.
Each step is accompanied on both sides by a statue, and pausing to appreciate the hundreds of bright gold Buddhist saints helps to slow the arduous journey.
Each saint adopts a different pose; some meditate, others read whilst one cares for a young lion dog.
Towards the top of the climb near the foot of the temple itself, one statue stands out in particular, that of the Long Armed Arhat, the saint with the power to extend his arms to any length he required.
Once inside the complex of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery the gold theme continues. On the main level a giant bright beaming Buddha adorns the side wall of the temple’s main hall.
Inside the main hall are the Buddha statues that give the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery its name.
However, that name is something of a misnomer. No monks live at the monastery – it is solely a temple – and the main hall contains closer to 13,000 Buddha statues. The main hall is a riot of gold and red, and the four walls of the main hall are crammed with tiny Buddha statues.
The main hall, Buddhist statues and the pagoda at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Hong Kong
The resplendent red brick pagoda that faces the main hall houses a golden seated Buddha on each side of all of its nine levels.
The perimeter of the complex is lined with statues of female deities and housed in two pavilions are the elaborately painted statues of 18 arhats who, according to Buddhist teachings, have reached the state of Nirvana.
Just past the Main Hall to the right the statue adorned path continues uphill to the upper terrace. Here the route is flanked by female deities, who continue to line the edge of the upper section of the temple’s grounds. The upper level has another large hall featuring huge carved statues.
At the far end of the terrace a happy Buddha dozes beneath even more golden saints, overlooking wonderful views over the hills and mountains of the New Territories around Sha Tin.
Be aware of fake monks at the bottom of the path that leads to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. They’re out to scam you and will try to offer blessings or Buddhist trinkets or bracelets in exchange for money. Ignore them and move on (or call the police).
There are several signs warning of the fake monks around where they congregate. Sadly we saw a couple of tourists fall victim to this scam.
Monkeys are also commonly spotted along the route. Keep your eyes peeled and you might be able to spot them – they move stealthily around the forests that surround the golden Buddhas.
General advice: The walk to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is not to be taken lightly. It is a long and steep climb, usually in hot conditions, and there are over 400 steps to the top. Carry plenty of water with you and protect yourself from the sun.
It’s a fairly simple journey to get to The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
From Sha Tin MTR station take exit B and follow the exit ramp. Follow the pavement – there will be a row of historic buildings on your left – and then turn left on to Pai Tau Street when you get to the Home Square mall.
Continue walking on Pai Tau Street past the mall and spot the tall grey office building next to it.
Immediately after the office building there is a small alleyway that leads you to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. There should be a small sign on a traffic cone pointing you in the right direction.
Note that the white arched entrance gate nearby is NOT the entrance to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery – many people make this mistake. That is the entrance to the Po Fook Ancestral Halls, which is also open to the public.
Instead, follow the path immediately between the grey office building and the white arch – there should be a small sign pointing out the way, or you can see its exact location on Google Street View here.
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