- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Chinese Phrases
Fodor's Hong Kong
Chi Lin Nunnery
Chi Lin Nunnery Review
Not a single nail was used to build this nunnery, which dates from 1934. Instead, traditional Tang Dynasty architectural techniques involving wooden dowels and bracket work hold its 228,000 pieces of timber together. Most of the 15 cedar halls house altars to bodhisattvas (those who have reached enlightenment)—bronze plaques explain each one.
Feng shui principles governed construction. The buildings face south toward the sea, to bring abundance; their backs are to the mountain, provider of strength and good energy. The temple's clean lines are a vast departure from most of Hong Kong's colorful religious buildings—here polished wood and gleaming Buddha statues are the only adornments.
The Main Hall is the most imposing—and inspiring—part of the monastery. Overlooking the smaller second courtyard, it honors the first Buddha, known as Sakyamuni. The soaring ceilings are held up by 28 cedar columns, measuring 18 feet each. They also support the roof—no mean feat, given that its traditionally made clay tiles make it weigh 176 tons.
Courtyards and gardens, where frangipani flowers scent the air, run beside the nunnery. The gardens are filled with bonsai trees and artful rockeries. Nature is also present inside: the various halls and galleries all look onto two courtyards filled with geometric lotus ponds and manicured bushes.
Left of the Main Hall is a don't-miss hall dedicated to Avalokitesvra, better known in Hong Kong as Kwun Yum, goddess of mercy and childbearing, among other things. She's one of the few exceptions to the rule that bodhisattvas are represented as asexual beings.
Be sure to keep looking up—the latticework ceilings and complicated beam systems are among the most beautiful parts of the building. Combine Chi Lin Nunnery with a visit to Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, only one MTR stop or a short taxi ride away.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
With hot temperatures and sometimes poor air quality, visiting Beijing during the summer months can sometimes be miserable.
However, during our visit we were fortunate to have nice weather as we head from Read more
A short Beijing Metro ride and we surface in search of our destination to experience some more of for us amazing Beijing. Read more
My husband will be in Shanghai for a week and I would like him to bring something back.
I'm female, almost 65 and wonder what they have that you can't find here - . Not sure what's on people's shopping Read more
· News & Features
A member of the Design Hotels group, the new Mira Moon hotel flaunts cutting-edge design in Hong Kong's ... Read more
Come for the art and the views, but stay for the fantastic food, strong drinks, and swanky stays.... Read more
Behind Hong Kong's towering skyline skyscrapers is a world of unique, diverse downtown enclaves, from... Read more