Not many people talk about Nan Lian Garden when they reel off a list of highlights from the city state, yet I thought it was a nice little walk around amidst tranquil scenery, with the imposing backdrop of Hong Kong’s concrete jungle looming large over the manicured foliage.
Just adjacent to Diamond Hill MTR Station, Nan Lian Garden is a public park built in the style of the Tang Dynasty. Among its 3.5 hectares, there is also a vegetarian restaurant and a traditional Chinese teahouse.
Wherever you look there are water features, rocks, wooden bridges over koi ponds, and incredibly well-manicured plants and shrubbery all around you. I thought Nan Lian Garden was very photogenic, and it was hard to believe that despite it looking as though it had been around for centuries, the gardens were only designed and opened to the public as recently as 2006.
The golden pagoda at the centre of the gardens was very impressive. It was hard for me to get some good pictures of the pagoda as there always seemed to be other tourists in the way of my camera, so it took a little patience and some clever positioning to get the shots I wanted. In fact, later during my visit to Nan Lian Garden, a coachload of Chinese tourists turned up and completely obscured the view, so I was glad I had some quiet time to reflect before they arrived.
When I researching Nan Lian Garden I didn’t really know there was a nunnery here too! It was a nice bonus and an unexpected surprise – although I didn’t see any nuns! The Chi Lin Nunnery must be a nice place in which to meditate; I can imagine it is very calming and helps the nuns go about their daily routine. The Chi Lin Nunnery also has a Buddhist temple in its compounds, and much like at the adjacent Nan Lian Garden, there are beautiful gardens and water features here as well. The temple here is free to enter and inside there are statues of the Sakyumani Buddha.