Want to visit the new monastery? Check again in a month

April 16, 2015 13:05
This first-day crowd looks sparse but make no mistake about it. The new Tsz Shan Buddhist monastery is booked solid until May 15 for individual visitors and until Sept. 30 for group tours. Photos: Tsz Shan Monastery/Facebook

Talk about an instant hit.

Within hours of its opening on Wednesday, the HK$1.5 billion (US$193.5 million) Tsz Shan Buddhist Monastery in Hong Kong's New Territories had a month-long waiting list.

People who made online bookings on opening day will only get to visit the new tourist attraction on May 15, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

Group visits are closed until the end of September after 500 applications were received from non-profit organizations.

But if you're lucky, you could be among 12,000 people the monastery is planning to invite on May 24 and 25 to mark Buddha's birthday.

The monastery, entirely funded by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, sits on a 500,000-square-foot swath of mountainside, facing the sea, in Tai Po district.

It features the world's second tallest statue of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, and boasts bullet-proof VIP rooms.

The monastery began accepting online reservations on March 30, setting a daily quota of 400 visitors.

But bookings soared as its opening drew closer, quickly filling the quota. May 14 is already booked solid.

A massive opening-day crowd forced monastery officials to turn away visitors but nothing could stop them from worshipping Guanyin from a distance.

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