Posts Tagged 'mtr'

Sik Sik Yuen Temple

There’s a saying that “Once you’ve seen one temple, you’ve seen them all”.

An obvious generalization and unfair summary, but there is some truth in it. If you’re going to Hong Kong for 2 days or 2 months, the Sik Sik Yuen Temple at Wong Tai Sin is the one to go to. Why? It is everything you would picture a Buddhist temple having, and more!

It is right next to the Wong Tai Sin MTR station and dominates the area. In the same way why palaces like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are the most popular in Europe, Sik Sik Yuen Temple is one of the most popular because it is a living, working temple. Some temples you see here can be old, disused, boring-looking, or not tourist-friendly (i.e., they stare you out of the place). Then there’s a few which are catered to tourists – the Man Mo Temple in the Mid-Levels, or Tin Hau Temple at Causeway Bay/ Yau Ma Tei and Sik Sik Yuen is one of these.

Highly popular with locals, it promises to deliver and surpass your expectations of a working Buddhist Temple in Hong Kong. In a place where space is a commodity and so precious, they even have room for a large inner-city garden which you can visit (for a small donation of $2). The temple has statues galore, good wishes in Chinese writing, hawkers selling incense to burn and fruit to offer and masses of worshippers. It’s difficult to do the ambience of the place much justice, so make sure you check the temple out!

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Chinese New Year Lanterns

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Incense Sticks at the Temple

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The Inner-City Temple

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The Memorial Garden

How to get there:

Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, then it’s right there out of most exits. Would be hard to miss…

The Future of the MTR

The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) run as Hong Kong’s arteries, concentrated mainly in Kowloon and the island line on the north of the island, but extending to most places in Hong Kong. You can reach the border with China for $39 (about 3 quid) on it and it’s one of the most regular, cheapest and efficient transport methods in the world. Here’s a map of the current MTR at the beginning of 2013:

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They are currently expanding the MTR in a few places across the region and have released the map of what the MTR of a few years from now will look like, shown below. Click on it to expand it.

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It first intrigued me when we’ve been down to Aberdeen to check it out down there and saw the massive construction that’s going on there. Similarly, with our orientation hostel being further west than Sheung Wan, we asked why a place as populous as Kennedy Town didn’t have a MTR station. Don’t want to do a boring labelling of the map, but here are the big main features:

– The Blue Line is being extended at the West to Kennedy Town with stops at the HKU and Sai Ying Pun after Sheung Wan (the current terminus).

– There looks to be a new Lime Green line to Ocean Park, the region’s biggest theme park and tourist honey-pot. This continues to Lei Tung and South Horizons (big new fancy estates, presumably worth a lot of money if they’re connecting them to the line).

– The Blue Line will now terminate at Quarry Bay in the East, with the current Blue Line stations from Tai Koo to Chai Wan becoming a new Light Brown Line that will travel parallel to the Blue Line to Victoria Park and the Exhibition Centre and Tamar (named after the famous ship stationed in HK in colonial times). This would connect to the Hong Kong station built in 2010 underneath the huge ICC and ends up heading towards Lantau Island and the Airport.

– Recent news at the end of 2012 showed that China is investing massively in its high-speed networks. It looks like a new grey line from China crosses the border and terminates at Austin (good, cos there’s nothing there atm) as a ‘West Kowloon Terminus’. Don’t know what to make of this – probably good and easy to get to the mainland; but in a city already with its big prejudices with mainlanders and a lack of trust in the Beijing Government, is this a way China is trying to integrate itself with HK? Who knows…

– The Purple Line will go from a random Western LTR to a complete cross-Kowloon network from Tsuen Wan East to connect with the current Brown Line that can only be accessed from Tai Wai. This looks good. Don’t know who’d use it, but yeh, go for it.

-Extending the Green Line from Yau Ma Tei (current terminus) to Ho Man Tin and Whampoa (former dockyard, now property estate with a huge ship in the middle of it. Only in Asia…)

 

Anyway, I also came across this map – could be a sort of fan-fiction, guys with too much time sort of thing but looks like HUGE expansions. Could be the MTR of 2060 or something:

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That’s all well and good, but when will it end!???

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The plans look groovy for the next few years, connecting a lot of places. But some of the ideas I think people need to think very carefully on. Connecting little island south of HK Island seems like the ultimate mission, but what would become of the small Sampans, water taxis and Star Ferry if integration of the island and all of HK to China is what some people in the top jobs think is best for HK? I’m probably being a bit too sceptical of their intentions, but with only 35 years and counting until the end of the ‘One Region, Two Systems’ concept in place here, a full on Sinoisation is definitely on the table, whether it’s just not that in name here in 2013. Whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll be good for Hong Kongers generally but let’s see. Hopefully one day it won’t just end up like this…

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