The Nan Lian Garden is a beautiful and serene space literally in the middle of the concrete jungle of Hong Kong. Not precisely around the corner but easily accesible with the MTR, the Diamond Hill station is a five-minute walk from the gardens.
Most people come for the striking and quite photogenic Chinese pavillion with the surrounding pond and brightly contrasting red bridge, stunning on its own right, but do take time to admire the many other features you will find in this little breath of fresh air.
Not exactly an "ancient" traditional garden, this is a relatively "new" garden, built in 2006 and managed by the Chi Lin Nunnery which is located accross the street.
But it is a typical traditional Chinese garden built in the classical Tang Dynasty style with all four elements of a classical Chinese garden:
- and Architecture
And as in traditional Chinese gardens, all elements are carefully arranged to create a perfect balance with nature and the environment.
From the entrance of the garden, you follow a path that circles Nan Lian in an easy to follow one-way loop passing through all the main highlights and views of the garden... lily ponds, cascades, galleries, pavillions, terraces...
Rock clusters and intricately manicured bonsai trees are placed harmonically all along the path.
Chinese landscaping is heavily influenced by Daoist and Buddhist concepts, that is, simplicity and peace and to be one with nature.
Everything is placed along the path so that every step you take, presents a different world as you walk along, and every world presented will touch your soul in different ways...
Here is one of the first glimpses of the main Pavillion in the middle of the pond, calm, serene, hidden...
As you walk a few steps, the pavillion comes to life and unveils itself...
Keep winding around the path and a striking picture where East meets West emerges... traditional Chinese architecture and contrasting modern skyscrapers.
As you continue to follow the path, enjoy the many views of blissful cascades and waterfalls...
Terraces, bridges and the mountains to the north that become part of the Garden's backdrop.
The galleries and structures are built with original large timbers in line with the Tang style and are carefully integrated with the Garden's natural scenery.
Inside the many galleries are displays and exhibitions, one is the Chinese Timber Architectural Gallery with some fantastic models like this one...
There are also Bonsai and rock and mineral displays.
At the end of the path before you exit there is the tea house and a vegetarian restaurant, right behind this waterfall...
And you can easily combine a visit to the next-door Chi Lin Nunnery, which you can see here in the background, just head up the stairs and cross the street via the pedestrian overhead bridge which will lead you straight to the Nunnery.
Visiting the Nan Lian Gardens
Getting There: Take the MTR Kwun Tong Line (Green Line) to Diamond Hill Station. It should take about 20 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui and slightly more from Admiralty/Central. Follow the signs from the station, it is about a 5 minute walk to the gardens.
Hours: Daily including holidays from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. Restaurant and Tea House Hours vary, follow the link below for more info.
How Much?: FREE
Know Before You Go:
- Smoking, pets, food and drink, except water, are not allowed in the Garden
- Please dress appropriately so as not to disturb the serene ambience of the Garden, and specially if you will be visiting the Chi Lin Nunnery next door.
- Allow about one hour to go around, longer if you want to visit all exhibits and displays.
- Also convenient/nearby: Chi Lin Nunnery (next door), Wong Tai Sin Temple (One MTR station away), Saikung (not "nearby" but direct buses to Saikung depart from Diamond Hill station making it very convenient, trip takes about 40-45 minutes)
More Info: www.nanliangarden.org.
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