Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets: the Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei
Once a spot for sailors to pray for safe sea voyages, this temple, now hundreds of metres inland, has stood its ground for over a century and a half
What is a sea god without a sea to rule over? Stranded hundreds of metres from the ocean by successive land reclamations in Kowloon, and sandwiched between the dried seafood stores and butchers of Yau Ma Tei, the area’s Tin Hau Temple stands today where it has for more than 150 years.
Built in about 1864 to honour the Chinese goddess of the sea, Tin Hau, the temple originally almost faced onto the waterfront. Nowadays it is visited for its large square, cool under the shade of enormous, overgrown banyan trees.
Inside, worshippers pray at the ornate shrines to Tin Hau and Bao Gong, the god of Justice, while clouds of incense fill the air.
In 2000 it was rated as a Grade I historic building, defined as providing “outstanding merits of which every effort should be made to preserve if possible”.
The temple is worth a look if you’re ever passing through Yau Ma Tei – don’t expect to see any water, though.
Find it on the corner of Temple Street and Market Street. If you’re going by MTR, leave Yau Ma Tei station via exit C.