Explore the city of Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Directly North of Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui is Sha Tin. The city is one of Hong Kong's fastest growing. While rice paddies are being replaced by housing projects, those things that the city is famous for - incense, temples, mountain trails and horse racing - are all still there. While you won't likely find the newer parts of town terribly fascinating, anyone who appreciates culture will simply adore the older sites.
One of these is the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. The temple is built on the top of a hill and can be reached by either an escalator or the much more traditionally, by climbing roughly 400 stairs. On the inner walls you will find shelves covered with about 13 000 tiny golden Buddha statues. Each of them are of a similar height but they have slightly different poses. Ancestral worship halls are the first things you will find on the upper level. The walls of these halls have hundreds of small niches in which there is a small urn covered with a tablet and sometimes a picture. The tablet contains the name of the deceased. Outside you will find small stoves where paper representations of real life items such as money and food are burned in favor of the dead. On the first level you will also find a pagoda with beautifully decorated pavilions. If you venture on to it, you will find an amazing view of Sha Tin and the surrounding mountains.
The Che Kung Temple is another wonderful attraction. It is a Taoist temple dedicated to the deified general Che Kung. According to legend, Che Kung was a general of the Song Dynasty. After saving the inhabitants of the Sha Tin Valley from a plague, the villagers constructed the temple in his honor. At the heart of the temple you will find a curious copper windmill. It is said that you can grant yourself good luck by rotating the sails once after worshipping Che Kung. The Che Kung Temple is not only a tourist attraction - it is still actively used by the locals. Every third day of the lunar New Year, the supposed birthday of Che Kung, the townspeople crowd into the temple to pay homage to him. They pray, burn incense and rotate the sails of the windmill, hoping that their efforts will grant them the good luck they seek.
So if you visit Sha Tin, you will not find a masterful modern city. More likely you will find an eclectic hodgepodge of old and new architecture, smiling, pleasant faces and impressive, graceful temples. Sha Tin is the perfect place to experience the old face while still enjoying a few modern comforts. Sha Tin is all yours to discover for yourself.