• Religion & Belief

Man Mo Temple – The most touristy temple in HK

February 14, 2020

Name(English): Man Mo Temple
Name(Chinese): 文武廟
Category: Culture and History
Address(English): 124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Address(Chinese): 上環荷李活道124-126號
Address Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/cLmx532qd2xbDRYa8
Address longitude and latitude: 22.284251611903727, 114.15018433293609
Nearest MTR Station: Sheung Wan Station Exit A2
Nearest MTR Station Google Map Link:
Nearest MTR Station longitude and latitude:
How far from the nearest MTR Station: 10 mins from Sheung Wan Station Exit A2
Opening hours:
MON 08:00 – 18:00
TUE 08:00 – 18:00
WED 08:00 – 18:00
THU 08:00 – 18:00
FRI 08:00 – 18:00
SAT 08:00 – 18:00
SUN 08:00 – 18:00
Recommended Time to Visit: Morning and Afternoon
Accessibility Note: Easy access

Speaking of temple, Man Mo, a Taoism temple, is probably the most popular among the tourists. So what do “Man” and “Mo” mean? “Man” literally refers to civil/literature, while “Mo” means martial art/war. Hence the two gods at the main shrine of the temple, representing the God of Literature and the God of Martial Arts. For years, both locals and travelers come to wish for their fortune: police may pray to martial god for promotion, and students may pray to literature god for being accepted to a good university.

This is a popular temple as evidenced by the offerings there

Man Mo Temple was not just about religion, it was actually the centre of Law and Order in Hong Kong 200 years ago. Since Hong Kong was only a fishing village in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t a court nearby to serve the Law and Order. In order to maintain Law and Order, the villagers built an assembly hall called Kung Sor (公所) next to the temple, which was used to discuss and settle community affairs and disputes. In the old days, people had to swear in front of Man Mo and drink FRESH CHICKEN BLOOD before they testified to the head of the village. This practice of course shocked the British so they setup their own Law and Order system in Hong Kong (See Tai Kwun). Nowadays Kung Sor has converted into a souvenir shop and an ancestral hall at the back.

Taoism as a Polytheism, the “Man Mo Temple complex” includes Man & Mo, Kings from Ten Courts of Hell, at least 60 guardian gods at Lit Shing Kung (列聖宮) and then some more! Even the local lost count of how many gods are actually there in one place……

There are more than just Man & Mo gods there

Taoism values much on one’s connection with God, so you will see a lot of incenses and offerings when you visit a Taoist temple. Most locals would liken offering to god as greetings when you visit someone’s home (入屋叫人 入廟拜神), so we highly recommend you to try it on your own even if you do not believe in god.

For first-time visitors, where to start? Here is a quick guide:

  1. There should be some free incense in the area. If no, you can donate HKD 20 at the service desk for some more incenses.
  2. Know which end you should light up the incense. You should light up the yellow part, not the red part!
  3. Light up exactly three incense using one of the burning candles there. Then stand in front of one of the urns, with the incenses, before the Man Mo god.
  4. Hold the incense with both hands and bring them up above your forehead, because gods live above you.
  5. Bow three times while you are thinking your wish.
  6. Finally, put the incense into the urn together, done!

Some locals may bring other offerings such as paper offerings, fruits, meat or even fake money (we called them joss paper) to show their piety, as some believe that the more offerings they give, the greater chance their wish will come true. Believe it or not, some temples in Hong Kong receive up to HKD 13 million worth of “offerings” (donations) each year!

Man Mo Temple is located in Sheung Wan which is the beginning of the Chinese district of the Old Town. There are plenty of attractions nearby like Antique Market, Graham Street Market, Dried Seafood Market. Our favorite is Tai Ping Shan Street and Sai Ying Pun which is only a stone throw away from Sheung Wan.

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Michael Tsang

Founder of Hong Kong Free Tours. Used to work in finance for 12 years as an actuary and quit his job to chase his passion.

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