Reminiscing in Kowloon Park

In the depths of the concrete jungle known as Hong Kong, there is a renowned green space known as Kowloon Park, which began its time as an army base.

The old Kowloon Walled City, now in ruins
The old Kowloon Walled City, now in ruins

The history of the Kowloon area is very impressive. There was once a notorious Walled City here, home to gang lords and criminals, which was demolished in the 1990s. Nowadays, only ruins remain, but the area has been converted into a nice park, known as Kowloon Walled City Park. This is not the only park in the Kowloon vicinity, as the water features and manicured gardens of the more abruptly-named Kowloon Park nearby provide a beautiful contrast to the tall glass skyscrapers on the horizon. When you are in the Kowloon area, it is nice to visit both parks and reminisce of bygone days.

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It was a very bright day when I arrived at Kowloon Park. The locals had taken the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and were sitting with their mates playing mah-jong and card games, some were even playing backgammon and chess. I noticed some women performing tai chi under the shade of the trees, and I was reminded that this park was very much a place for the locals to relax and enjoy the greenery in what is a very urbanised city state. The other two major city parks in Hong Kong are Victoria Park and the aptly named Hong Kong Park, but Kowloon Park remains steeped in history and sure seems to be the favourite among Hong Kongers.

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While perhaps not as impressive as gardens in Japan or in Beijing, Kowloon Park still has many great things about it, including its tropical foliage. In that sense, it may be better to compare it perhaps to such gardens such as Taman Tasik Perdana in Kuala Lumpur, or even Bang Krachao in Bangkok.

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One of the things that surprised me most about Kowloon Park was that there is an aviary in the centre of the park. It is not all that large, but nevertheless it still provided a nice little look at some exotic birds that aren’t native to Hong Kong. Everywhere you look there are little details of how nature is claiming the man-made aspects of the park, and in many ways this represents the way the glass skyscrapers of Hong Kong is continuing to claim the nature. Maybe this is where nature fights back?

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