For a traveler there are many paths to follow, but the most rewarding one is to travel off-the-beaten track and randomly fall in love with atmospheric hidden gems.

Hong Kong is a gripping city, the kind that grabs you and never leaves your mind until you finally get the chance to come back and enjoy its unique vibes some more. Every traveler has various degrees of expectation but Hong Kong definitely has it all.

From its lush nature taking possession of every inch of the city, its pungent smells at every corner, its blend of colonial and Cantonese heritage, the city is mesmerizing. But most of all, it has a soul and so does the Fat Jong Temple.

The worn-out but still majestic cream facade of the temple.
Fat Jong is a paradox, looking both shabby and majestic.

There is something strangely fascinating in this city, in the sense that it allows its visitor to escape from within. One second you stand in the middle of a busy crowd and a few minutes later, all is gone and you find yourself wandering around a seemingly-abandoned temple on the edge of the jungle.

Fat Jong Temple does not benefit from the same popularity as its counterpart, the Wong Tai Sin Temple. The latter plays in a league of its own, courted by hordes of tourists and locals alike coming en masse to take selfies in front of the Chinese Zodiac Animal statues that populate its courtyard or to light a fortune stick in front of its large main hall.

Locals praying in front of the main hall at Wong Tai Sin Temple.
Visitors’ favourite Wong Tai Sin.

Fat Jong has no such things on display. Instead, it captures the core magic of the city, though the magic is hard to reach. The visitor needs to be deserving and climb the steep Shatin Pass Road before they can finally take a glimpse of the outline of the temple.

Colourful Olympics' mural at the entrance of Shatin Pass Road.
A vivid mural shows the way to the mountain on Shatin Pass Road.

There is no architectural wonder to gaze at here, simply one serene building, full of appeasing spirituality. The temple in itself has seen better days and its decrepit facade now stands uncertainly at the end of the passage, bordering a luxuriant yet inviting jungle but it doesn’t need to force its nature as its aura goes way beyond sheer beauty.

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Loneliness is a virtue when reaching this part of the city where no tourist seems to wander. . So is silence. A few motorbikes may break the calm but there will usually be no disruption other than the singing birds. It has been said that nature was everywhere in Hong Kong and it cannot be more true than here in front of Fat Jong, where the green of the trees harmoniously underlines the red and beige compound.

Behind the building, a  flight of stairs awaits peacefully its next visitor when it is not a monkey that ventures upon its worn-out stones before heading back to the jungle. Upon walking away from Fat Jong on a concrete road that winds through the mountains, the high residence towers below look closer than ever. However, they seem to belong to a different universe.

A monket standing on a fence next to the temple.
A monkey takes a casual stroll near the temple.

One last look at Fat Jong before it is time to walk down the road towards the animation of the city, where many more hidden treasures are to be unveiled.

Closest Station: Wong Tai Sin

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