5 Religion

If you are the mystical type or are looking for serenity, these few suggestions for hikes dotted with monasteries, temples and churches in Kong Kong will delight you.

The route of the monasteries on Lantau

The Big Buddha is certainly one of the must-sees of any visit to Hong Kong for tourists and newcomers alike. For initiates, however, it is possible to access the spiritual by a little used path, that of the monasteries. From the road that crosses the island between Tung Chung and Cheung Sha beach, a route called Tei Tong Tsai Country Trail departing from Shek Mun Kap bus stop. Going up towards the Po Lam monastery, you will be surprised to pass through small Buddhist sanctuaries, places of life for many monks such as the Lo Hon or Fat Lam monasteries. On arrival on the plateau, you will complete your quest on the path of wisdom then a climb of the steps to the Buddha.

hong kong monastery and gate
On the Tei Tong Tsai Country Trail Photo@Didier Pujol

The Buddhist descent to Tai O

From the road leading to Ngong Ping, go down the path at the hairpin in the direction of Sham Wat. From there, go due west towards the Yin Hing monastery which is signposted at the first bend. Arrived at the monastery (open to the public only in the morning), turn left following the path between the bamboos. Immediately to your right, a courtyard is filled with colorful deities that seem to protect the surrounding religious dwellings. Continue the path in the direction of the descent, opportunity to follow on your left an international retreat center enjoying a calm and an extraordinary view of the valley which leads to Tai O. Tai O old trail will then take you past a series of inhabited monasteries to the main road, following a river. From there you can choose to discover the red pagoda on the hillside starting on the left or to continue your mystical quest at Tai O which has many temples to the ancestral deities of Hong Kong, goddess of the sea, of wisdom or god of force and war.

hong kong monastery
Entrance to the Yin Hing Monastery Photo@Didier Pujol

In search of French missionaries

In the south of Hong Kong Island, the Pok Fu Lam road takes you to the former sanatorium of the Missions Etrangères de Paris, Béthanie. Now transformed into a film school, this magnificent site overlooks the China Sea, reminding us that the residents came here to seek rest and tranquility after many years in contact with Asian populations and the harsh conditions of the evangelization of lands still inhospitable. Men of action above all, the religious who resided in Bethany set up all kinds of activity to maintain the awakening, a printing press, formerly the most famous in Asia for the quality of these characters and where La Condition Humaine was printed of André Malraux or even an animal farm allowing the collection of milk for Hong Kong. This establishment has since become the “Dairy Farm” brand distributed throughout Hong Kong and beyond. The hike that starts from Bethany, makes the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Tourpassing in front of a small riding school with the good smell of stables and warm horsehair, to join the Hong Kong Trail to Aberdeen.

Other Christian Hikes

Other suggestions for walking in the light of Christ: the Trappist monastery between Discovery Bay and Mui Wo is known to local residents and weekend walkers, offering on its promontory, a well-deserved rest for a two-hour family walk on a false flat or a real climb, depending on the point of view. Spectacular arrival on Mui Wo Bay for those departing from DB.

In Sai Kung Bay, I recommend visiting theYim Tim Tsai Island, also a Christian community in the early years of Hong Kong, the Portuguese missionaries having erected a small church there in the middle of the village dedicated to the harvesting of salt. Departure from Sai Kung by boat or canoe for the bravest and a one-hour historical walk in the abandoned village.

yim tin tsai church
Church on the island of Yim Tin Tsai

If you wish to complete this list, do not hesitate to share your suggestions, there is no shortage of good hiking ideas in Hong Kong.

5 Religion-Themed Hikes in Hong Kong