Burn Incense at Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong

There was a lot of burning incense wafting through the streets of Hong Kong. And I wasn’t sure why. Not only were the fragrant sticks seen sporadically on the stoops of businesses, but when we visited the Man Mo Temple a layer of smoke filled the room. Coiled incense hung from the ceiling, as well as random incense burning throughout the room. Peter didn’t last more than three minutes inside before he needed the relief of fresh air.

Burning incense is done by worshippers as an offering with the belief that it attracts attention from the Gods or, in some cases, is food for the spirits that have passed prior.

Incense at Po Lin Monastery

Immediately after learning the significance of burning incense, I wanted to make some incense wishes too. Unfortunately, we were never near Man Mo Temple again.

Luckily, there was a second chance.

While visiting Tian Tan, Big Buddha, on Lantau Island we spotted smoke in the air, burning incense was within the immediate vicinity. We followed the cloud to Po Lin Monastery where worshippers were waving their enormous joss sticks making well wishes.

Burning Incense at Po Lin Monastery

This opportunity at Po Lin Monastery to make an incense offering of my own would absolutely not be passed on.

It was purely a bonus that it would be done outdoors, where there would still be plenty of room to breath.

We purchased a bundle of incense at a nearby booth for 20 HKD ($2.50 USD) and divided the bunch amongst the two of us. Was sharing one bunch bad luck?

I distributed my burning incense throughout all the acceptable containers, hoping to spread out the wishes

Now I can’t tell you what my wishes were, you know the rule. But, I can say they involve family, friends and an airplane.

Have you ever burned incense at a Temple or Monastery?

You Might Also Enjoy

Hong Kong Bucket List: 60 + Best Things to Do
3 Day Hong Kong Itinerary. The Plan.
Ride the Longest Escalator in the World. Mid-Levels in Hong Kong.
Fodor’s Hong Kong Travel Guide (book)
Take a Junk Boat Ride Through Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour
Slurp Chinese Snake Soup in Hong Kong
Visit an Offbeat Asian Market. Hong Kong’s Goldfish Market.
Eat Dessert First at Hong Kong’s Dessert Kitchen
Eat Squid Jerky in Hong Kong’s Tai O Fishing Village

8 thoughts on “Burn Incense at Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong”

  1. It's been 16 years since I've been to SE Asia, and yet, still I can't smell incense without thinking of that trip… 

  2. This looks amazing – such gorgeous colors!  I would love to be a part of an incense-burning ceremony; what a fantastic opportunity you had.  For me, incense always brings back memories of traveling around British Columbia as a child, particularly some of the little towns on Long Island.

      • You should come visit us, here in BC. One of the founding groups of BC as a province were Chinese immigrants – a major group of some of the earliest immigrants to this area. Also, with the cross cultural fun stuff that happens here, and how marijuana has been a major crop for decades, lots of people burn incense!

  3. This is interesting as I saw a similar ceremony while visiting my brother in Singapore. I can totally relate to Peter having to go outside. I remember the air being so thick with incense that I became desperate for a breath of fresh air. Great pictures!

    • It was really thick at Man Mo Temple, but a lot better at some of the other ones we went to. Peter liked those ones a lot better ;)


Leave a Comment

Annette White the Owner of Bucket List Journey
Hey Bucket Listers!
I'm Annette.

I’m a goal obsessed mid-lifer, traveler, experience collector, fear crusher, digital marketer and author with big bucket list dreams. Let's Connect!

GET MY 2,000 free bucket list ideas

Jump right in and you will get your printable ideas by email: