If you’re craving a quick escape from Hong Kong’s sardine-packed sidewalks with its copy-watch hawkers and awe-struck tourists, scan your Octopus Card and squeeze your way aboard the MTR bound for Diamond Hill. Destination: Nan Liang Garden. Nan Lian Garden is a classic Chinese garden designed in the Tang Dynasty style. Every plant, every pond, and every rock in the 8.5 acre garden has been placed precisely according to the rules of Tang style. Nan Lian Garden is an oasis for the senses and soul with its simple beauty and openness, something that most city-dwellers and tourists alike need.
While you can hire a taxi to reach your destination, Hong Kong’s MTR is undeniably convenient and cost-effective. As such, take the MTR green Kwun Tong line to the Diamond Hill MTR station, exit C2 to the massive Plaza Hollywood Mall. Follow the well-marked signs to Nan Lian Garden around the outside of the mall and under several freeway flyovers. Five minutes later, you will come to the Garden’s unassuming entrance. In fact, I had to look twice for confirmation that I was indeed in the correct place. Note: Nan Lian Garden is open 7am-9pm daily, and admission is complimentary.
Allow yourself several hours to leisurely stroll and to absorb the serenity. Make sure to take in the big and small: the details in nature and the entirety of views especially the contrasts of East and West, and old and new.
Nan Lian Garden’s winding path will take you on a relaxing tour through artistic layered rocks, cypress trees, flowering plants, pines, and ponds. Additionally, Nan Lian Garden offers a souvenir shop, Chinese tea house and small vegetarian restaurant. Of course, don’t miss the stunning gold Pavilion of Absolute Perfection with its red Wu and Zi Bridges located in the center of the grounds.
Directly adjacent to Nan Lian Garden is the Chi Lin Nunnery, a Buddhist complex which was built in 1934 and renovated in 1990. In addition to its additional elements of respite and beauty, this wooden structure was constructed entirely without the use of nails. Make sure to savor the lotus ponds, bonsai, and incense wafting through the air which make wandering this area feel like meditation.
While there are many things to do in Hong Kong, RudiGourmand recommends this quick and easy trip to experience calm and culture. Enjoy!