Chi Lin Nunnery
Good for: meditation, peace and quiet, serenity, contrast to rest of HK, photographer's dream
Not good for: hustle and bustle
- 5 Chi Lin Dr
- 2354 1888
- admission free
- nunnery 9am-5pm, garden 6.30am-7pm
Lonely Planet review for Chi Lin Nunnery
One of the most beautiful and arrestingly built environments in Hong Kong, this large Buddhist complex, originally dating from the 1930s, was rebuilt completely of wood (and not a single nail) in the style of the Tang dynasty in 1998. It is a serene place, with lotus ponds, immaculate bonsai tea plants and bougainvillea, and silent nuns delivering offerings of fruit and rice to Buddha and arhats (Buddhist disciples freed from the cycle of birth and death) or chanting behind intricately carved screens. The design (involving intricately interlocking sections of wood joined without a single nail) is intended to demonstrate the harmony of humans with nature. It’s pretty convincing – until you look up at the looming neighbourhood high-rises behind the complex.
You enter the complex through the Sam Mun, a series of ‘three gates’ representing the Buddhist precepts of compassion, wisdom and ‘skilful means’. The first courtyard, which contains the delightful Lotus Pond Garden, gives way to the Hall of Celestial Kings, with a large statue of the seated Buddha surrounded by the deities of the four cardinal points. Behind that is the main hall, containing a statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha flanked by two standing disciples and two seated bodhisattvas (Buddhist holy people). Below the complex is a cafe selling vegetarian snacks and dim sum for $14 to $25.
To reach the nunnery, take exit C2 of Diamond Hill MTR station, walk through the Hollywood Plaza shopping centre and turn east on to Fung Tak Rd. The nunnery is a five-minute walk away.