Monday, September 08, 2008

Two Chinatown Temples

Many visitors to Chinatown overlook some of the most fascinating sights -- the temples. Chinatown is home to a many Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist temples. Most welcome visitors; although, there may not be English speakers on staff to interpret what you are seeing.

Two that I frequently take visitors to see are Tien Hau Temple at 125 Waverly Place and Matsu Temple at 30 Beckett Street. They both honor and take their names from the same Goddess of the Sea; however, Matsu is Buddhist and Tien Hau is Taoist. Matsu is the more accessible of the two as it is on the first floor. Tien Hau is more ornate and visually interesting, but is on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator. There is seldom anyone who speaks English at Matsu. When Sally is at Tien Hau, she is happy to give you a quick explanation of the temple and its decor.

Both temples have handouts in English that tell about the life of Matsu/Tien Hau. You can also have your fortune told at both temples. It's a complicated process so you may need to ask for help.

You also can take a walking tour of Chinatown that will include a visit to one of the neighborhood's temples. I highly recommend All about Chinatown Walking Tours. Linda Lee, the owner, has been leading tours for more than 25 years. If you'd like to visit one of Chinatown's temples as part of a private tour of San Francisco, please call me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking here.

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