Hong Kong: Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Going off the beaten track isn't really that hard in Hong Kong. Actually, that's true for pretty much every city and country in existence. But what I mean here is that public transportation is so good that it's really not so hard to get anywhere in Hong Kong. So while most people don't head out to see the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, it's easy to get to and worth the time.
 Speaking of getting there, I had a bit of difficulty following Google Maps, mainly because the road mapping here (and actual roads themselves) is a bit sketchy. Sha Tin Station is the closest MTR station. At the gates, turn left, and head back to the pedestrian ramp seen above.
 This old building can be seen from that ramp; head down the ramp toward the square.
 When I visited in 2014, the square was under construction, but that didn't affect pedestrian traffic much.
 Head back towards the cluster of buildings with storefronts. you're going to head to the corner.
 In the corner of this shopping area, there is a flower shop and a restaurant (those could change by the time you visit, but the buildings will probably remain). Head back in there to the path between the buildings.
 Here is the path you want. Note the "stone" building on the left.
 That path is mildly twisty; keep heading back. Note the pagoda way off in the distance. That isn't the monastery but can help guide you for a while.
 Note the sign here leading the way. Follow the arrow to the left.
 The path will continue for a little while. Just keep going. I believe there were tennis courts or something like that behind the dark green fence.
 Eventually you'll reach some modern buildings. Again, keep going straight down that road. (Note: if you turn left here you'll end up at Po Fook Ancestral Hall with its own pagoda; admission there is supposedly free to and I've heard it's nice.)
 The modern building is the Sha Tin Government Office. Head past its main entrance and keep going back.
 And you'll eventually see this sign. That path will lead you to enlightenment. Or at least ten thousand Buddhas.
 This isn't where the 10,000 Buddhas are. But your trip up the hill will take you past over 500 large Buddha statues, all in different poses. Note the white and red signs here. You should also see at least one sign warning against giving money to beggars who prey on the tourists. Note that the monastery is free and that the beggars are not part of the monastery; they might not even be Buddhists and beggars are not considered true believers. Save your donation money for the top and give it directly to the collection boxes.
 Be sure to enjoy the Buddhas on your way up. If I'd had enough time I would have probably photographed each one to admire later. As it was, I probably shot about 50 pictures.
 It's not an easy walk, especially if you're out of shape!
 While the monastery is quite nice, as you'll soon see, I think I enjoyed the hike up more than the top.
 Ahh! Stairs! My mortal enemy! These steps do mark the final battle in your march to the top.
 The statues up here are a little bit different, too. If you pay enough attention, you'll notice the differences in statue detail and quality as you compare older and younger statues.
 Finally, the top. This is the main building, inside which is the 10,000+ Buddha statuettes.
 There are a few other structures, including a nine-story pagoda you can climb.
 More interesting statues await you at the top.
 This is Kwun Yam Pavilion.
 Various statues and a collection box. I encourage you to donate to support the upkeep of all the fantastic statues.
 The monastery was built fairly recently (finished in the 1950s) and the Buddhas were finished in the '60s. However, flooding and landslides damaged the area in 1997 and I believe it's now finally repaired.
 The pagoda and the statues in the pavilion.
 Looking out from the pagoda.
 Behind the pagoda is another pavilion.
 The main building, which houses around 13,000 mini Buddhas.
 There are a couple large Buddhas inside.
 Each of the 13,000 little guys are unique.
 A staircase leads down to a small area. There are more statues here.
 There are other things to be found further into the complex, but unfortunately my time was too short to fully explore. This is one of those places that I'd really like to visit again - both to see what I didn't have time for and to spend more time enjoying that which I've already experienced.
The monastery is open 9:00-5:30 every day, and admission is free. Plan to spend a good bit of time here, both for the journey up and down the hill and to take time to explore the grounds. And extra time for the Po Fook Ancestral Halls.

Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence (Defense)

 Located on Hong Kong Island at the far east end, this museum traces the history of Hong Kong's maritime protection. It's converted from the old Lei Yue Mun Fort, high on a hill.
 After buying your ticket, an elevator brings you to the top (the structure seen in the first picture), where it's a short stroll a bit more uphill to get to the redoubt, where the main exhibits are held. Along the way you'll see some existing structures.
 Almost every old battery and other structure remaining is accessible and explorable, unless it's just unsafe.
 You can go inside the storage areas, and walk out and see the view from where the cannons once sat.
 A small town across the water makes for a nice view now.
 The redoubt has been modernized, in that it is covered with a nice roof and a second floor and air conditioned. The basic structure remains, though.
 Hong Kong is still a major shipping port, and the occasional views of the waterway afford the opportunity to see barges moving in and out.
 You can "explore" one of the guns near the redoubt (seen in a picture above). The old leather pouch remains as well as instructions and engravings for setting the gun.
 Inside the main structure, the old passageways around the outside hold a permanent exhibition outlining the 600-year history of maritime defense.
 All of the rooms are accessible from the central area, now covered.
 The forts were used through World War II, when new fighting techniques rendered them obsolete.
 A series of tunnels leads out and around the grounds, allowing access to the batteries.
 You can go both inside and outside the batteries.
 Some exhibits can be found outside, including this "opened up" torpedo.
 The gun mount is visible in at least one place.
 Continuing with the exhibits inside, mannequins and artifacts help tell more recent stories, including the Japanese occupation during Word War II.
 Old books always fascinate me.
 The second, modern floor of the redoubt has lots of open space, but I didn't see anything up there that interested me as a solo visitor. There is a restaurant/cafe of sorts near the redoubt but not inside.
 After visiting the redoubt, it's a good idea to follow the route down the hill where the other old structures remain.
 Some areas are off limits for obvious reasons.
 One particular trail leads down to the water and the torpedo room. There, you'll learn about how the torpedoes were stored and how they would have been launched.
 All of the old buildings look like they'd be really cool little places to live. I'd totally live in here!
 One of them even has a skylight!
 Back towards the bottom, one of the ruins has a collection of monuments.
 This building was built right into the mountain and stored ammunition far from everything else for safety purposes.
 The monuments come from around the world.
The museum is open at 10AM (closed Thursdays), closing at 5PM or 6PM depending on the time of year. Admission is only HK$10. Access is easy from Shau Kei Wan MTR Station, though it is about a 15 minute walk. The museum's website has all the details you'll need.