Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is located in Wong Tai Sin of Kowloon area in Hong Kong. The name of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is a combination of the Taoist organization (Sik Sik Yuen) who currently administer and runs the temple and the person who this temple is dedicated to (Wong Tai Sin). As one of Hong Kong’s most famous and popular temples, Wong Tai Sin Temple is not only famous among locals, but also very well-known among Chinese from all around the world. This has mainly to do with the history and myths behind this unique temple.
The Story and History of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
Wong Tai Sin Temple is dedicated to the “Great Immortal Wong” who was born around 328 AD. Wong Tai Sin original name was Wong Cho-ping, a young shepherd-boy from Jinhau Mountains in Zhejiang Province. At the age of 15 he decided to follow and dedicate his life to Taoism. Around 40 years later, he achieved enlightenment and became immortal. From this day on, people started to call him Wong Tai Sin that literarily in Chinese means Great Immortal Wong. Due to his immortal power, it is said that he was capable of healing the wounded and sick, rescuing the dying and punishing evils. Stories about his actions, mercy and power spread from the Guangdong Province to Hong Kong and it was said and strongly believed that he will grant whatever is requested.
In 1921, the Taoists obtained the divine guidance from Master Wong Tai Sin to relocate and move the shrine to another location. A new temple was built near Kowloon City and the Taoist organization Sik Sik Yuen was established to run and administer the newly built shrine. The newly built Wong Tai Sin Temple remained a private shrine and could only be accessed by the “Pu Yi Tan” Taoists and their family members in the first few years. It wasn’t until the Chinese New Year in 1934 that the government opened the temple to the public. Permission to open the temple completely to the public was obtained in 1956. Wong Tai Sin Temple is nowadays a “Limited” company of charitable nature. Interestingly, they are one of the few institutions who are allowed to delete the addition of the word “Limited” in their company name.
Already in 1915, two Taoist priests (Liang Renan and Liang Junshuan) set up a small shrine to worship Wong Tai Sin in Hong Kong. The shrine basically just had a portrait of the immortal master himself and was located on Hong Kong Island (Wan Chai).
What can you do/see in Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple?
Wong Tai Sin Temple can be regarded as typical or traditional Chinese style temple. Grand red pillars, blue friezes, multi-colored carvings, yellow latticework and the magnificent golden roof are admired not only by historians and architects, but also by visitors and worshippers. The complete Wong Tai Sin Temple covers approx. 18,000 square meters and besides the main altar and grand hall there are several other “attractions” worthwhile to have a closer look such as the Three Saints Hall (dedicated to Lu Dongbin, Guan Yin and Lord Guan), the Nine-Dragon Wall (modeled after the famous Nine-Dragon Wall in Beijing), Confucian Hall (dedicated to Confucius), Yue Hing Shrine (Buddha of Lighted Lamp), the Bronze Hall (please note: only accessible for males), the Early Fountains or the colorful Good Wish Garden. The Good Wish Garden is set into a tranquil environment with a traditional Taoist garden pond.
Besides that there are several other halls and shrines you can discover such as the Tai Sui Yuenchen Hall, Yao Wang Shrine, Caichen Shrine, Fuk Tak Shrine or the Wang Ling-guan Shrine.
Please note that Wong Tai Sin Temple charges an entrance fee for the colorful Good Wish Garden (small donation of HK$ 2 or above) as well as the Tai Sui Yuenchen Hall (HK$ 100 for adults and HK$ 50 for seniors). We highly recommend paying the small donation fee to experience the peaceful walkways and beautiful designed garden with waterfalls, Koi-ponds, small bridges and interestingly formed stones.
One of the main reasons that Wong Tai Sin Temple is the most visited and worshiped temple among all the Hong Kong Temples is because it is said that if you make a wish here, the chance that it will come true is very high. Fortune-telling is another main reason the temple is well-known. It is said that the accuracy of the fortune telling in this temple is very high and accurate. When you visit this temple, you will notice people light up worship sticks, kneeing in front of the altar, praying and making a wish and/or shaking a bamboo cylinder containing fortune sticks until one falls out (this procedure or ritual is known as “kau cim (求签）”, literately means “Request a stick”). The worshiper will exchange the fortune stick for a piece of paper with a number on it. With this piece of paper the recipient will find one of the many soothsayers next to Wong Tai Sin Temple who will interpret the fortune for the worshiper. The whole procedure is quite interesting to watch and make you think about traditions, fate and the probability of the fortune-tellers predictions.
Besides telling the fortune by the fortune stick, you are able to find booths which offer palm reading or face reading as well. For all of you who interested in a fortune-telling experience don’t expect this service will come in cheap. Prices depend which soothsayer you will pick and ask to tell your fortune. Similar to pop stars and movie stars, certain soothsayers reached celebrity status due to their accuracy of fortune telling and charge high prices. You can expect on average around HK$ 300-800 for a basic consultation (usually 20 minutes), but it also depends if you ask the fortune telling service on a busy day. Most of the fortune-tellers are able to speak multiple languages (Cantonese, Putonghua, English and sometimes even Japanese).
Btw…did you know that Wong Tai Sin Temple is a temple in Hong Kong allowing and offering weddings inside the temple?
Insider Tips: The probably best time to visit Wong Tai Sin Temple is around 9:00am in the morning or late in the afternoon during a weekday. Then most of the (Mainland Chinese) travel groups are gone and you have enough time and space to take a closer look at all the different halls and shrines. In addition, please note: The busiest and most crowdie days are on Chinese New Year’s Eve & holidays, Wong Tai Sin’s birthday (23rd day of the 8th lunar month) and the days from January 1st to 15th. Unless you love to be in a crowd of thousands of people, we would recommend avoiding these days. In addition, we also would avoid the typical weekends due to the fact that Wong Tai Sin Temple can get pretty crowed on these days as well.
Last but not least, we would like to point out some nearby Attractions so you can maximize your stay and time in Hong Kong. For all of you who need something to eat, drink or some place to sit down and cool down there is a shopping mall just above the Wong Tai Sin MTR station. In close proximity to Wong Tai Sin Temple are the Kowloon Walled City (take the MTR to Lok Fu), Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden (both located at Diamond Hill MTR station). Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden is another great place that worthwhile to pay a visit. Although it is not as well-known as Wong Tai Sin Temple, it is not less spectacular.
Above the Diamond Hill Station is Plaza Hollywood shopping mall which is also a good place to grab some food or drinks. For all of you like Vegetarian Food you can have a look. Please refer to our itinerary suggestion who to combine these attractions in the best way. You can refer to our ariticle of Hong Kong Two-Day Tour.
The Bottomline: Is it worthwhile to visit Wong Tai Sin Temple? Well, if you are interested in things like fortune telling and getting to know more about different religions such as Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, or different culture in China, then you definitely will enjoy this temple. For all of you who are not so keen about religion and fortune-telling it might still quite worthwhile to have a look. Wong Tai Sin Temple is located right in-between high-rising residential buildings. The mixture and contrasts of the skyscrapers and the old temple architecture is what makes Hong Kong a place where East meets West.
Wong Tai Sin Temple 7:00am-5:30pm (daily)
Good Wish Garden 9:00am-4:30pm (daily)
Tai Sui Yuenchen Hall 8:00am-5:00pm (daily)
Official website of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple:
How to Get to Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple :
Take the MTR to the Wong Tai Sin Station. Leave the station through Exit B2 and walk directly towards Wong Tai Sin Temple. Traveling time from Tsim Sha Tsui is approx. 18-20 minutes and expect to pay around HK$ 10 for a single journey ticket.
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