This tour introduces the Chinese philosophy of feng shui (literally "wind water"). Feng shui has become a worldwide phenomenon in recent years, but it has been a part of the culture of Hong Kong since its early days. It aims for harmony, and when this is achieved good luck, synonymous with health and wealth, will follow.
A feng shui master looks to align the flows of energy called chi (considered to be the breath of nature) in a space or building using a special compass called a lopan. This determines the energy characteristics. Complex mathematical calculations are also involved. Hills, water and buildings can all affect the flow of chi, as everything in the universe has an energy force - in Hong Kong that force is associated with the Dragon. The first villages built in the New Territories were located in sites that captured the chi, and today feng shui continues to be an accepted part of many aspects of life in the city.
We start our guided walk in the Central business district, taking in the environment of the HSBC bank building and its location on a Dragon's pulse. Moving along we visit the new China Bank Tower, (the masterpiece of architecture, designed by IM Pei) which has an interesting slant on feng shui ( NB on weekdays we go inside this building, and up to the 43rd floor - but only if you bring your passport with you).
From here we use public transport and take ourselves northward, to the foothills of Lion's Rock, to a perfect feng shui location for the Wong Tai Sin temple (Sik Sik Yuen), the home of the 'great god Wong'. Here, people worship Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, all under the same roof - famed for the statement, "What you request is what you get".
This is one of Hong Kong's busiest temples, with most visitors coming to the temple in search of a spiritual answer via a practice called Kau Cim. They light incense sticks, kneel before the main altar, make a wish and shake a bamboo cylinder containing fortune sticks until a stick falls out. A ritual follows and eventually a stick is exchanged for a piece of paper bearing the same number, whereupon the soothsayer will interpret the fortune on the paper for the worshipper.
This is a very busy place, particularly during Chinese New Year, with worshippers waiting overnight to get to light their incense as early into the New Year as they can.
From here we move onto the peaceful Nan Lian garden and through the Buddhist temple at the Chi Lin Nunnery. This beautiful building was constructed without using any iron nails, as it would have been in the Tang dynasty. It is the only such building in Hong Kong.
We finish the tour here, by sharing lunch at the vegetarian restaurant in the garden.