Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin temple is a colorful and busy slice of local life in Kowloon.
We recently took a trip to Hong Kong midway through Chinese New Year. We stopped by Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin, a temple we’ve enjoyed visiting in the past, on the seventh day of Chinese New Year. The seventh day on the lunar calendar is called Renri, which translates to “Human Day”. Sometimes referred to as “everybody’s birthday”, Renri is believed to be the day humans were created. Naturally, this is a busy time at temples, with devotees coming to give offerings, pay respect to the gods, and have their fortune told.
What I like about Sik Sik Yeun Wong Tai Sin temple
The main thing I like about this temple are all the statues. The grounds and temple themselves are beautiful in their own right, but the statues are what stand out for me. On the patio in the front are all of the bronze zodiac animals portrayed standing upright like humans, with human hands and accessories, while wearing robes.
In addition to the statues, I also like how I feel that I’m visiting a temple that is both popular with locals and well-known throughout the Chinese diaspora. The temple is popular with tourists too, but many of those tourists, as well as the locals, are using these grounds in the manner intended, and that’s a part of traveling that I enjoy seeing and participating in.
Many worshipers visit Wong Tai Sin to have their fortune told. The method is very similar to the fortune telling done at Japanese temples, with a shaker canister from which you pull a bamboo rod that corresponds to a paper fortune. However, at Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin, the fortune is not written out for you on the paper. You must take the paper to one of the many fortune tellers on site and pay for a reading. The temple’s fortune tellers reportedly have a reputation for great accuracy so fortune telling is very popular here. I have also heard the fortune tellers can be quite costly. We didn’t purchase a reading.
There are numerous pavilions and halls here, but not every area was accessible to us during the Chinese New Year, I’m sure in part due to a ceremony that was going on while we were there.
Visiting Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin temple
While I do think it’s worth seeing, I really don’t recommend visiting Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin temple during the Chinese New Year unless you’re really keen or don’t have any qualms about crowds. I’m pretty used to big crowds at this point, but making your way through a huge crowd visiting a famous Chinese temple on Renri or other major Chinese holiday can be overwhelming no matter how crowded your daily life is. Additionally, you are routed through the grounds by ropes and small metal fences when there’s a large crowd so I think it is more enjoyable to visit when you can do so at a more leisurely pace and without the restrictions on your movement. I recommend visiting on a weekday if possible.
The temple is free, though you can leave a donation in a number of well-marked places throughout the grounds and there is a MTR station next to the temple called Wong Tai Sin. On your way out of the grounds be sure to rub the dragon for extra good luck!