Asia Editor's Blog HK Events

Finding Peace in Bustling Hong Kong

Written by Daniel Otero

After all, this had been my fifth-consecutive trip to Hong Kong in 27 years. And don’t get me wrong, I love Hong Kong, but I was never one for the fashions on Causeway Bay or admiring the skyscrapers on King’s Road. Hong Kong is and always will be in my heart of heart, “The Pearl of the Orient”. To be enjoyed in the contemplation of its history [for us nerds], food and for those who enjoy to beauty in an ancient or contemporary temple.

Optimized-Towards HK's Hill Tops

Optimized-HK's historic tram and functioning for over a century

What made Hong Kong special for me were the explorations up Kennedy Road and walking and admiring the views in solitude. Another treat, and it’s been overdone by me, is to get on the historical tram (running for 112 years and counting) and ride it out.

I’ve been one to avoid tourist traps like Disneyland and have been in love with visiting temples, meditating or praying to the Buddha. This made me happier in all my memories of memories.

From the simplistic temple in Tin Hau, it was more of a reference to complete in reverence and meditate. This previous experiences gave me joy!

Optimized-Tin Hau Temple

Although, Hong Kong can be expensive to travel too, and this fact has never changed; what makes me fall in love with this place [all over again] is finding something new. Or a site long in existence which I can see for the first time.

When I come to Hong Kong, I usually stay on Hong Kong Island. Few times due I cross into Lantau or follow into the over-commercialised sector of Kowloon.

But this time, I was being called to Diamond Hill. With all the stresses and pressures of life, I needed to feel inner-peace within city.

This was when I got off and walked five minutes into the Chilin Nunnery and Nanlian Garden. The garden just drew me in and yes, it was a hot day and it didn’t matter. I was happy dealing with something I’d done few times. Visiting a garden or temple to feel relaxed, sit and meditate.

From the Nunnery, with its gorgeous gold and red-coloured pagoda, hot springs and pond in which the fish are fatter than the people. This place is an easy distraction to find. The architecture is representative of the Song and Qing Dynasties, although the area was established in 1934. The wood from the Garden smells of yellow cedar, inspired and representing the Tang Dynasty.

It felt good coming here, even if it was only to sit and relax for a couple of hours. I was trying to avoid the swamped areas like The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, which would be drowning with tourist; especially during the summer months.

I knew I had made the right choice. So should you, if fashion or high end places aren’t your thing. One thing to consider is the majestic temples of Hong Kong across the Islands and peninsula. Some are simple and others can leave you breathless with beauty and peace. This is what travelling is all about, exploration and finding your nirvana.

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.