Wong Tai Sin is a Taoist temple located up a hill in north Kowloon. It is popular among both the Hong Kong Chinese and expatriates from China, many of whom come here looking for answers to life’s problems.
The worship of Wong Tai Sin spread in the early 20th century, when Leung Renyan, a proponent of Won Tai Sin, set up an altar in his Chinese medicine store during the same time period. Customers visiting the shop got double the value for their money, as not only could they seek remedies for their ailments but could also pray at the altar of Wong Tai Sin. This combination seems to have been potent, as with the healing of many an ailment, the worship of Wong Tai Sin spread throughout the territory. After his medicine shop was destroyed by a fire shortly afterward, Leung Renyan revealed that he had received a message from Wong Tai Sin to build a new temple 3,000 steps north of Kowloon pier. Using his apparent divine connections, a site was marked with a bamboo stick in Chuk Yuen Village. According to local beliefs, once the deity had approved their choice of site, instructions followed as to how to orient the building and construction went ahead and was completed in 1921. The temple remained a private place of worship for many years until in 1934, when it was opened to the public.
The temple’s architecture in the traditional Chinese style features tall red pillars and a gold-painted roof with blue friezes, yellow lattice works and multi-hued sculptures. Within the premises, there are three halls dedicated to various deities and one featuring a portrait of Confucius. You will also come across some beautiful memorial archways, stalls for soothsayers, a nine-dragon wall modeled on its counterpart in Beijing and a “Good Wish Garden” that is a miniature of the Summer Palace in Beijing. The temple’s busiest times are in January when devotes return to the temple on Wong Tai Sin’s birthday to express gratitude for wishes granted and to honour the deity during Chinese New Year. The temple is open daily until the early hours of the evening but stays open late on the eve of the Chinese New Year to allow for the performance of various rites. The temple is also a favourite wedding destination, as it is the only temple in Hong Kong that allows wedding ceremonies.
For visitors looking for a convenient Hotel in Kowloon with modern amenities and a central location, the Cosmo hotel Mongkok is a prime choice, as its allows guests to shop in famed street markets and eat in some of the more traditional areas of Hong Kong. As one of prominent Mongkok hotels, visitors are offered relaxing, comfortable and contemporary accommodation that can be the ideal base to explore one of the busiest areas in Hong Kong.
Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.