Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hong Kong Day 4 - Appreciating nature at Nan Lian Garden

It’s out and about in Kowloon for the day. Wanting to experience something more close to nature, we paid a visit to Nan Lian Garden. It’s easily accessible via the MRT network - only one MRT ride away from the city center!

Nan Lian Garden gate

Not a staple tourist attraction of Hong Kong, this place gives visitors some space to take a breath of fresh air. It’s a very nice place to visit especially for those folks who are already tired of the city’s noise as it immediately gives a peaceful vibe once you enter. It felt like I just went to an oasis of calm within the bustling metropolis.

long winding paths

Designed in a Tang dynasty style, this garden covers about 35,000 square meters in Diamond Hill. The sprawling hills, bodies of water, large rocks, trees, plants, and wooden structures were all strategically placed according to specific rules and principles. This layout actually accentuates the nearby mountain range and towering apartment buildings very well.

pavilion bridge

We first visited the exhibit located near the main entrance. At that time, it featured some facts about wooden architecture and how this type of building was used throughout the history of China. It was fascinating to see the scale models of temples and palaces which are made from assembling wood pieces together – ingenious way of building without nails.

Before we explore further, here’s some trivia first. This garden was designed based on the Jianshouju Garden blueprint. It belonged to the governor of Jiang County in the current Shaanxi province. Similar to its model, Nan Lian Garden uses water as the main feature while all other things highlighting its beauty.

overlooking the pond

After we got our fill of that, we leisurely strolled around the garden to take in its natural beauty. I really enjoyed looking at the water features in this place. The ponds with koi fishes are really soothing to the mind. You can stare into the water and get lost in it. Seems like this place can make you forget that time is passing you by so fast.

rock path

koi in the pond

There’s also a vegetarian restaurant as well as a teahouse in here. Chi Lin Vegetarian serves visitors sumptuous meals of the no meat kind. Definitely not for me but I’m sure there are a lot of others who will love this place. The menu here seems to be quite extensive!

Chi Lin Vegetarian restaurant under the falls

At the center of the garden is a teahouse called Song Cha Xie. Here, you can get to experience Chinese tea differently – a more authentic way if you will. They serve some snacks that go along well with the tea. You’d really want to take your time here!

Song Cha Xie, the pine teahouse

Next part is the Tang Gallery. This building houses the souvenir and vegetarian snack shop. They sell a lot of good quality stuff so make sure to check this one out. Found some interesting things like small pieces of rocks excavated from the Red River in Guangxi, Chinese tea, paper artworks, ceramics, pottery, and Chinese medicine.  

Adjacent to this building is the Rockery and Penjing Garden. There’s a permanent exhibit of large rocks from the Red River of Guangxi province here. While at the Penjing Garden, another permanent exhibit of miniature trees or bonsai can be found. It’s actually a relaxing place where you can get some form of energy boost from these natural objects. 

some rocks from the Red River

miniature trees

Our visit here was a really nice experience as we were able to relax and take our time admiring the various hues nature has to offer. Also, I like how this place is well maintained and taken care of. All the plants here exude a sense of freshness while the wooden structures appear as if newly built.

It was really worthwhile taking time to visit this place while in Hong Kong.

Opening Hours: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm 

How to get here:
Take the Green Line until Diamond Hill Station and proceed to Exit C2.
Follow the marked signs that will lead you to Nan Lian Garden.

What are your thoughts on Nan Lian Garden? Did this post make you want to go and visit it too? Tell me about it by commenting below or using the Contact button on the right.

If you have some questions, feel free to ask. I’ll try my best to help you out.

Up next, Last minute shopping and grocery hunting at Causeway Bay.

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