The incense spirals of Man Mo temple, Hong Kong

In our discovery of Hong Kong’s perfumed places, it is a small Taoist temple that truly fits like an olfactory destination not to be missed. Located on the slopes of Victoria Peak, among the huge buildings of the city stands the traditional and discrete Man Mo Temple 文武庙.

Built in 1847 in colonial times by the Taoists, the Man Mo temple is the oldest in the city. Despite having been renovated several times, it still retains its original appearance and reminds visitors of Hong Kong from another time. Two deities are worshiped there: Man, the god of literature and Mo, the god of war.

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The flower market of Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Facing the north coast of the island of Hong Kong is Kowloon Peninsula. As the second region to have been urbanized, Kowloon is now recognized for its high residential density of above 30,000 inhabitants per square kilometer. One of its main areas, Mong Kok, is one of the densest in the world, with numbers of up to 130,000 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Numbers like these can make us dizzy, but it is here, in the heart of this popular overcrowded neighborhood, that I discovered the images I had imagined I would find in Hong Kong: huge buildings with blinding signs, crowded streets of people jostling and pushing for space, all bathed in various odors and vapors in a deafening hubbub!

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Hong Kong, the fragrant harbour

Situer HK sur une carteOn the South coast of China, between the Pearl River and the South China Sea, lies the island of Hong Kong. Nicknamed the “fragrant harbor”, Hong Kong certainly does not actually lack flavor. This vibrant city of 7 million inhabitants, is surprising and sharpens the senses.

The perfume found in Hong Kong, is not necessarily that of flowers, spices or even opium. Let’s face it, it is more of a perfume of concrete, exhaust fumes and light sea aromas, much less salty and somewhat foul at the hottest hours of the day. As in many Asian cities, we can nevertheless feel a mix of tasty scents of all kinds: soup vapors, freshly cooked meat and dried fish… expertly mixed with the burning incense that smokes on small doorstep altars. A well existing Hong Kong olfactory environment, but much less charming than the Cantonese translation lets imagine.

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