A Travellerspoint blog

Looking back from afar.

Temples and gardens.

overcast

In the gardens of the Kun Iam Temple..

In the gardens of the Kun Iam Temple..

After breakfast the next day I decided to explore more of the Macau Peninsula. I was going to the northernmost and largest district of Macau, which is the district of Nossa Senora de Fatima. In particular I was going to the area around Mong Ha.

Before the Portuguese came to Macau, a large group of Chinese villagers fled from Xiamen in Fujian Province, because their area had stayed loyal to the old emperor, but a new emperor had defeated him, ushering in the start of the Yuan Dynasty. The new emperor sent out orders that everyone who had supported the old emperor should be beheaded. The fleeing villagers had been farmers and they settled in an uninhabited area in the south of China, where they founded the village of Mong Ha and began growing rice. The name of the village may have meant looking back towards home from afar.

Later the Portuguese settled nearby in the colony of Macau. Mong Ha was at that time between the Border Gate of China and the city walls of Macau. When the seventy-ninth Portuguese governor of Macau, João Maria Ferreira do Amaral, was in charge from 1846 to 1849, he managed to upset a lot of people. He refused to pay the Chinese authorities ground rent for Macau and he refused to pay them harbour dues. He also insisted the land between Macau's city walls and the Border Gate belonged to Macau. He started having roads built here and in the process disturbed lots of Chinese ancestral graves. One day when he was riding his horse in the Mong Ha area near the border gate, he was seized by a group of Mong Ha villagers, dragged off his horse and beheaded.

A statue of Amaral used to stand in the centre of Macau. It showed Amaral on horseback brandishing a whip. It was erected in 1940. Amaral was considered a hero by the Portuguese, but a tyrant by the Chinese. The statue was dismantled and sent back to Portugal in 1992. Nowadays the site of the statue is the main bus station in front of the Hotel Lisboa.

I was heading to the Mong Ha Area, because I had heard there was a lovely old Chinese temple dedicated to Kun Iam here, which had beautiful gardens and I wanted to see that. I worked out that if I took the number 19 bus from directly outside our hotel and got off at Esc. C. S. Jesus that I should be very close to it.

On the bus journey, I passed by some interesting looking buildings and decided I might walk back to see them later. When I got off the bus, I saw some lovely old green colonial building next to the bus stop. I later learned that these are the Mong Ha Villas. They were built as dormitories for Portuguese civil servants. Nowadays they are used to hold visual arts exhibitions.

The Mong Ha Villas.

The Mong Ha Villas.

Directly across the road I saw a temple and was pleased that it had been so easy to find. Outside the temple I read the sign Kun Iam Tchai and Seng Wong Temple. I wandered around. It was smaller than I expected and there were no gardens. I felt a bit disappointed. When I came out of the temple, I saw a sign for Pou Chai Kun Iam Tong Temple further along. I was feeling a bit confused, but I followed the sign and thankfully this second temple proved to be the correct one. In my head I had been searching for the Temple of Kun Iam, goddess of mercy, I hadn't noted down the full name that's why I got mixed up.

Anyway let's start with the first temple. The Kun Iam Tchai Temple was built by a Chinese shepherd on the site of a small pagoda around the year 1821. The adjoining Seng Wong Temple dates from 1908 and was built to protect the residents of Mong Ha Village from fire and war.

Kun Iam Tchai and Seng Wong Temple.

Kun Iam Tchai and Seng Wong Temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Incense coils.

Incense coils.

Incense coils.

Incense coils.

A few minutes walk away I arrived at Pou Chai Kun Iam Tong Temple. This temple was founded in the thirteenth century, though the present buildings date back to around 1627. This temple is one of the oldest, largest and wealthiest temples in Macau. There is a large entrance gate and in the courtyard next to it there is a very impressive old banyan tree. In fact there are four trees, but their branches have intertwined making them look like one tree with four separate trunks. They are known as the Lovers' Tree.

There are always incense shops next to temples.

There are always incense shops next to temples.

Entrance to Pou Chai Kun Iam Tong Temple.

Entrance to Pou Chai Kun Iam Tong Temple.

Door guards.

Door guards.

Incense burner in front of the temple.

Incense burner in front of the temple.



Lions guarding the front of the temple.

Lions guarding the front of the temple.

Part of the temple.

Part of the temple.

The temple was really huge.

The temple was really huge.

The Lovers' Tree.

The Lovers' Tree.

Doorway and trees.

Doorway and trees.

Bonsai in the temple courtyard.

Bonsai in the temple courtyard.

Inside the temple, there are three main pavilions, which are dedicated to the Precious Buddhas, the Buddha of Longevity and Kun Iam. There were many different rooms and and lots of shrines.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

The three pavilions also had several courtyards.

Courtyard.

Courtyard.

Courtyard.

Courtyard.

Dragon Courtyard.

Dragon Courtyard.

Dragon Courtyard.

Dragon Courtyard.

Temple bell.

Temple bell.

Temple bell.

Temple bell.

There were also lots of beautiful wall paintings inside.

Painting.

Painting.

Painting.

Painting.

Painting of Kun Iam.

Painting of Kun Iam.

I saw a sign for the gardens, which was what I really wanted to see. Just before entering them I passed lots of very cute little Buddha statues.

Buddha with fish.

Buddha with fish.

Smiling Buddhas with dog.

Smiling Buddhas with dog.

Sweeping up Buddha.

Sweeping up Buddha.

Happy Buddhas.

Happy Buddhas.

There was a pavilion in the gardens where the Treaty of Mong Ha was signed in 1844. This was an agreement between the Chinese and the United States, which granted American companies and individuals the same rights that the British had obtained in the First Opium War.

Pavilion where The Treaty of Mong Ha was signed.

Pavilion where The Treaty of Mong Ha was signed.

Next to this there is a second pavilion containing the statue of a monk.

Statue of a monk.

Statue of a monk.

Statue of a monk.

Statue of a monk.

Also in this area there is a pagoda and a little fish pond filled with water lilies. The pagoda has its very own statue guards. Nearby there's a lovely old tree in front of a moon gate.

The pagoda.

The pagoda.

The pagoda.

The pagoda.

One of the pagoda guards.

One of the pagoda guards.

And the other one.

And the other one.

Water lilies.

Water lilies.

Water lilies.

Water lilies.

Tree.

Tree.

Tree.

Tree.

From here I went round to the back of the temple. I was amazed at how large the temple gardens were and there was almost no-one else there. They were so peaceful and quiet. There were lots of statues of Buddha, and lots of statues of the Chinese New Year Animals.

Buddha.

Buddha.

Buddhas and a turtle.

Buddhas and a turtle.

Close up of the turtle.

Close up of the turtle.

Buddhas and the Chinese Zodiac.

Buddhas and the Chinese Zodiac.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

There were statues surrounding little ponds.

Statues and pond.

Statues and pond.

Statues and pond.

Statues and pond.

Fish in the pond.

Fish in the pond.

There was a large archway and on the other side of it there were lots of inscribed rocks surrounded by flowering bonsai trees.

Rabbit and archway.

Rabbit and archway.

Archway.

Archway.

Rocks.

Rocks.

Rocks and bonsai

Rocks and bonsai

Rocks and bonsai.

Rocks and bonsai.

Bonsai and lantern.

Bonsai and lantern.

Bonsai.

Bonsai.

Bonsai.

Bonsai.

To get to some of the gardens I had to go up a small hill. I followed a mossy path up to a pavilion.

Mossy path.

Mossy path.

Pavilion on a small  hill.

Pavilion on a small hill.

This was one of many different pavilions. There were good views over the gardens from these.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

View.

View.

There was a monument with stone lanterns. Perhaps it commemorated some of the monks who have lived here.

Monument.

Monument.

There was a statue that I am guessing depicted Kun Iam disguised as a beggar. In some stories she did this to see who would offer her help and she would later reward them.

I think this is Kun Iam.

I think this is Kun Iam.

I think this is Kun Iam.

I think this is Kun Iam.

I found a dragon fountain where a turtle lived.

Dragon and turtle.

Dragon and turtle.

There were some strange mythological creatures around.

Strange creature is he also a lion?

Strange creature is he also a lion?

This one could be a dragon.

This one could be a dragon.

There were lots of flowers and a huge old bell.

Bell

Bell

Yellow flower.

Yellow flower.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

I spent way longer in the temple gardens than I had intended to, because I loved them so much. When I finally did come out, I walked up to the nearby Fortress of Mong Ha.

The Fortress of Mong Ha is the youngest of Macau's three fortresses. It dates back to 1866. While the Gaia Fortress and the Monte Fortress had canons pointed out towards the sea to fend off attacks from other European nations seeking a trading base in China, the Mong Ha Fortress had its canons facing towards Mainland China. It was built at a time when tensions were running high between China and the Europeans who wanted trading bases there. Mong Ha stayed in use as a military fortress until the 1960's.

As I climbed up the hill, the first place I came to was a training institute for those who want to work in the tourism and hospitality industry. Attached to this there's a hotel called The Pousada De Mong Ha. This hotel exists to give the students at the institute a chance to practise their skills.

Pousada de Mong Ha Hotel.

Pousada de Mong Ha Hotel.

Pousada de Mong Ha.

Pousada de Mong Ha.

Pousada de Mong Ha.

Pousada de Mong Ha.

I should have arrived at a fountain next, but it wasn't working during my visit. There are couple of ponds here. The notice boards describes them as artificial lakes, but they are tiny. I'd definitely describe them as ponds rather than lakes.

This should have been the fountain.

This should have been the fountain.

Water lilies.

Water lilies.

Water lilies.

Water lilies.

Pond.

Pond.

Between the ponds there's a path that leads up to the fortress. There's not that much to see here. There's an entrance gate, some canons and a viewing platform.

Entrance to Mong Ha Fortress.

Entrance to Mong Ha Fortress.

Looking back through the fortress door.

Looking back through the fortress door.

Canon.

Canon.

Canon.

Canon.

Inside the fortress.

Inside the fortress.

Inside the fortress.

Inside the fortress.

The viewing platform overlooks residential areas and the canidrome. The canidrome was built in 1932 to stage greyhound racing. At one point over a hundred dogs took part in races five days a week. The canidrome was forced to close in 2018, as the government wanted the land for sports grounds and educational facilities. The dogs were taken in by a greyhound adoption charity and sent off to new homes in Europe.

View from the fortress.

View from the fortress.

View from the fortress.

View from the fortress.

View from the fortress.

View from the fortress.

Canidrome.

Canidrome.

Canidrome.

Canidrome.

Walking back down from the fortress.

Walking back down from the fortress.

I had a look at a few other things in the park.

Mong Ha Park.

Mong Ha Park.

Mong Ha Park.

Mong Ha Park.

Mong Ha Park.

Mong Ha Park.

I also walked to an old watch tower and a cave. There's a fitness trail running all the way round Mong Ha Hill.

At the watchtower.

At the watchtower.

Canon near the watchtower.

Canon near the watchtower.

Cave.

Cave.

Cave.

Cave.

I had originally intended to visit another old historical temple located on the other side of the fortress but I was running out of time. I decided instead to walk back past some of the interesting sights my bus had passed.

Walking between sights.

Walking between sights.

Walking between sights.

Walking between sights.

Walking between sights.

Walking between sights.

The first sight I came to was Zhulin Temple. This is a Buddhist temple and although it looks old, apparently it only dates back to 1991. It's dedicated to the heavenly king of medicine. The thing I liked most about it were the huge trees that seemed to be growing out of parts of the temple. There's a very nice statue of Kun Iam here, too.

Entry of the Zhulin Temple.

Entry of the Zhulin Temple.

Entry of the Zhulin Temple.

Entry of the Zhulin Temple.

Shrine inside the Zhulin Temple.

Shrine inside the Zhulin Temple.

Kun Iam.

Kun Iam.

Trees inside the Zhulin Temple.

Trees inside the Zhulin Temple.

Trees inside the Zhulin Temple.

Trees inside the Zhulin Temple.

Trees inside the Zhulin Temple.

Trees inside the Zhulin Temple.

Paintings inside the Zhulin Temple.

Paintings inside the Zhulin Temple.

Paintings inside the Zhulin Temple.

Paintings inside the Zhulin Temple.

Water lilies inside the Zhulin Temple..

Water lilies inside the Zhulin Temple..

Next I passed a very striking yellow building which dates back to 1920. This used to be the Fire Services Building, but is now home to the Museu dos Bombeiros or Fire Services Museum. I didn't have time to go inside, but the museum is free entry and has two exhibition halls. Among other things on display there are fire engines and water pumps.

Fire Services Museum.

Fire Services Museum.

The Fire Services Museum.

The Fire Services Museum.

The final building I wanted to see was the Kiang Wu Hospital building. I was interested in this because it came up when I was reading up on the Saint Lazarus District last trip.

The Kiang Wu Hospital was founded in 1871. It started out as a centre for Chinese medicine, but in 1892 Doctor Sun Yat Sen began working here and introduced Western medicine. There's a statue of him outside the building, but I didn't photograph it as I was in a hurry.

Kiang Wu Hospital.

Kiang Wu Hospital.

Kiang Wu Hospital.

Kiang Wu Hospital.

I had only intended to walk part of the way back, but suddenly I started to recognise things and knew I was near the Cameos Gardens and Saint Anthony's Church. Since I knew the way, I walked all the way back.

Saint Anthony's Church.

Saint Anthony's Church.

We had afternoon tea and then a swim. The swim was very pleasant and not that cold though cold enough that it wasn't that busy.

Afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Sunset over the river.

Sunset over the river.

We had a lovely dinner in the hotel as always then decided to have a restful relaxing evening.

Next day was the usual breakfast, swim, check out and bridge back to Hong Kong.

Selfie by the pool before leaving.

Selfie by the pool before leaving.

Selfie by the river before leaving.

Selfie by the river before leaving.

Selfie by the river before leaving.

Selfie by the river before leaving.

Bus journey back.

Bus journey back.

Posted by irenevt 13:03 Archived in Macau

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

The baby Buddhas look very happy and no wonder the gardens are really beautiful. I’m really enjoying your trips to Macau with the famous Peter Lee

by Catherine

It looks like a lovely day. It's always fun to see the Eiffel Tower tea set.

We often take the bus to a sight and then walk to something else followed by another something else until we find ourselves walking all the way back. It takes a while but you see a lot more and spend a little less.

by Beausoleil

Hi Catherine, the famous Peter Lee says we aren't going back until spring.I really did love those gardens.

by irenevt

Hi Sally, I'd have walked both ways, but I thought there was a high chance of not finding it. The bus ride allowed me to note what was around and I enjoyed my walk back. All the best.

by irenevt

nice read and may I add, I loved your pool pictures with a view! :)

by Ils1976

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

by irenevt

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login