Po Lin Monastery is a Buddhist temple on the top of Lantau Island. Most of the visitors to Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha) and Ngong Ping Cable Car will also pay a visit to Po Lin Monastery and their vegetarian restaurant.

With over a century history, Po Lin Monastery has become the biggest Buddhist temple in Hong Kong.

Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

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Po Lin Monastery is the largest Buddhist temple in Hong Kong. The history of Po Lin Monastery can trace back to 1906 when three monks from China set up a site on Lantau Island for practice. It gains more and more members and now has developed to a world renowned monastery.

Surrounded by lush green and hilly mountains, Po Lin Monastery is located right on top of the Ngong Ping Plateau and is a beautiful way to enjoy the tranquil settings.

“Po Lin” in Cantonese means “Precious Lotus”. Lotus flower is considered as pure flower growing out of sludge. It has been widely used as thrones in Buddhism, which symbolises the purity of the Buddha. Another of my favourite temple in Hong Kong “bunny brooch” is also using the lotus in its name.

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    When you see the white Qin Dynasty-style Pai Lau, you are already close to Po Lin Monastery. Pai Lau (in Cantonese), also known as Pai Lou (in Mandarin), is a traditional Chinese architectural arch or gateway that some may associate and/or characterize with tranquility and solemnity. The Pai Lau of Ngong Ping Monastery also represents the Mountain Gate (Shan Men), which in Buddhism is regarded as main entrance.

    Pai Lau of Po Lin Monastery

    Pai Lau of Po Lin Monastery

    On the entrance of Ngong Ping Piazza there is another Pai Lau.

    New Pai Lau on Ngong Ping Piazza

    New Pai Lau on Ngong Ping Piazza

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    Passing the Pai Lau will unfold gradually the three major halls: Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva (韋馱殿), the Main Shrine Hall of Buddha (大雄寶殿) and the Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas (萬佛寶殿). Take your time to stroll around the different buildings and halls and you will encounter and discover various figures and gods of the Buddhism religion.

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      Walk through the Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva where the typical welcoming and jovial Buddha Maitreya welcomes each visitor.

      In front of Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva

      In front of Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva

      Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva of Po Lin Monastery

      Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva of Po Lin Monastery

      In addition, you can take a closer look at the figures or statues of the Four Heavenly Kings on each side.

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      The Main Shrine Hall of Buddha is behind the Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva with the Buddha Shakyamuni in the center and Buddha Bhaisajyaguru (Master of Healing) and Buddha Amitābha (Buddha of Unlimited Light and Life Spans) on each side. Sometimes there will be ceremony and services in this hall.

      In front of Main Shrine Hall of Buddha of Po Lin Monastery

      In front of Main Shrine Hall of Buddha of Po Lin Monastery

      Inside Main Shrine Hall of Buddha of Po Lin Monastery

      Inside Main Shrine Hall of Buddha

      Inside Main Shrine Hall of Buddha of Po Lin Monastery

      Inside Main Shrine Hall of Buddha

      Don’t forget the fine craftsmanship and ornate decoration around the buildings.

      Interior Design of Po Lin Monastery

      Lions on the windows

      Interior Design of Po Lin Monastery

      Dragons on the pillars

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      The Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas was built in 2014 with architectural concept of Song Dynasty covering 6000 square meters. It is a 5-floor and multifunctional building. However, only the ground floor is open to visitors. You will find ten thousand glowing buddha statues in the magnificent hall.

      Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas of Po Lin Monastery

      Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas

      Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas of Po Lin Monastery

      Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas

      Hong Kong has another temple “Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Shatin” with life-size statues of the buddhas, where you can walk close and take a clear look.

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    If you are interested in the typical life of a monk, you also have the chance to try some typical vegetarian dishes. Vegetarian dishes are served at the Dining Hall and Fat Ho Memorial Hall of the Po Lin Monastery.

    Vegetarian Restaurant of Po Lin Monastery

    Outside of Vegetarian restaurant of Po Lin Monastery

    Vegetarian Restaurant of Po Lin Monastery

    Vegetarian restaurant of Po Lin Monastery

    Dishes are prepared with natural materials and are supposed to be quite healthy. The vegetarian kitchen operates from 11:30 am till 4:30 pm. In case you don’t want to have a full course of dishes, you also can enjoy some traditional snacks just opposite the dining hall including steamed cakes, spring water bean curd, glutinous rice dumplings with mango filling, noodles and salty dim sums.

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    If you would like to visit the halls underneath Tian Tan Buddha, buying a meal ticket from the vegetarian restaurant from Po Lin Monastery can entitle a free entry.

Make sure to stop at the Reunification Cauldron on your way back out. This special cauldron commemorates the return of Hong Kong to China and if you take a closer look you will notice the bauhinia flowers.

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The access to Po Lin Monastery is free of charge.

The opening hours of Po Lin Monastery are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. The vegetarian restaurant opens from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm everyday.

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Po Lin Monastery is opposite Big Buddha and close to Ngong Ping Cable Car. You can take either Ngong Ping Cable Car, bus or taxi from Tung Chung Town Center to the temple. For more details about how to get to Po Lin Monastery, please refer to details about how to get to Tian Tan Buddha.

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Locations: On top of Ngong Ping, Lantau Island
Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (daily)
Ticket Fare: Free admission for the temple; Charge is applicable to the vegetarian restaurant
Official Site: http://www.plm.org.hk/eng/buddha.php

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Depending on your starting location and budget, you can get to Po Lin Monastery by the Ngong Ping Cable Car, taxi or bus:  See details above

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