Oasis In A Concrete Jungle

Recently, The Princess and I decided to dust of the SLR cameras and take a day out in Hong Kong to shoot some photos.  It had been some time between photo shoots with the larger cameras and spring here in Hong Kong means some great days are available for outings.

We had heard about the Nan Lian Gardens in Diamond Hill – a “suburb” of Hong Kong located on the “Kowloon” side of the harbour.  These famous gardens are a must see for tourists and locals so we decided to make the short trip to Diamond Hill and take in the landscaped beauty that is Nan Lian.

The trip from where we live on Lantau Island is very straight forward – a bus from outside our apartment complex to the nearest MTR railway station (Sunny Bay) then a comfortable ride across the expansive Tsing Ma Bridge and on into the Lai King MTR station.  A walk across the platform to the waiting “red line” MTR train then several stops to the Prince Edward MTR.  Another change of train to the “green line” train then a short trip to Diamond Hill.  You can follow this route on the Hong Kong MTR route map here.

We arrived in Diamond Hill around 10.30 and took time to sniff out the local Starbucks – one can’t start a day of “shooting” without elevated caffeine levels in the bloodstream!

We were barely able to warm our legs up on the very short walk from Plaza Hollywood to the entrance of Nan Lian Gardens but we did get a sense of how bizarre it was that there were these acres of gardens inside a concrete jungle.

The entry into the gardens is free (a nice touch considering Hong Kong is very focused on making money!) and it wasn’t long after entering the garden that we were snapping away with our cameras.

The beautifully landscaped gardens meticulously maintained and the well laid our pathways allow visitors to get up close and personal with the plants, ponds and buildings.  We enjoyed finding vantage points that offered us framed views of the bridges and temples and the fish filled ponds.

Fortunately the temperature was in the low 20′s (centigrade) because there was not much opportunity to escape the sunshine.  We would suggest a visit in Spring or Autumn unless your acclimatized to the heat and humidity.

After an hour or so of taking photos and enjoying the views we headed for the vegetarian restaurant that was located in the garden complex.  The restaurant is set under a man made waterfall – a nice feature to observe when dining.  The dishes on offer were very tasty and we enjoyed sampling some new cuisine.

From the restaurant we continue along the meandering pathways and across the bridge to the Chi Lin Nunnery – a sprawling complex that adjoins the Nan Lian Gardens.

The Chi Lin Nunnery is the site of some very large temples, stunning statues and beautiful lotus ponds.  We enjoyed taking our time to capture some of the nunnery and reading about the history of the complex’s buildings.

After several hours of touring the gardens and the nunnery we made our way back to the MTR station and headed home to Lantau Island.

We both agreed that the visit to Diamond Hill was worth the effort – it only took us 7 years of living in Hong Kong to find it!  We would highly recommend a visit to this beautiful location – you won’t be disappointed.

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