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Pak Tai Temple Review

In the 19th century, Cheung Chau Island was a haven for pirates like the notorious Cheung Po Tsai, whose name translates as Cheung Po the Kid, and whose treasure cave is reportedly on the island's southwest tip. The temple here is dedicated to Pak Tai, the god of the sea, who is supposed to have rid the island of pirates. He's thanked during the weeklong springtime Bun Festival, filled with parades of the island's deities, huge towers of buns, and lots of color. The renovated temple originally dates to 1783, when an image of Pak Tai was brought to appease the spirits of people killed by pirates, thought to be the source of bubonic plague outbreaks. Apparently he did the trick: he remains the island's favorite deity. Beside the main altar are four whalebones from the nearby sea. Make a full day of your trip to Cheung Chau. It's a gorgeous island with several temples. Kwan Yu Pavilion, the biggest, is dedicated to war god Kwan Tai. There's also a Kwun Yum temple and four shrines honoring sea goddess Tin Hau. A walk takes in most places of worship as well as the pirate cave. New World First Ferry sails to Cheung Chau twice hourly from Central Ferry Pier 5. Normal ferries take 50 minutes, fast ones 30. Turn left from the Cheung Chau ferry pier and walk ½ km (¼ mi) along waterfront Praya Street, until you see the temple to your right, over a playground.

Updated: 06-17-2013

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