A few days ago, CNN posted a list of the World’s Most Visited Cities. I have been to 13 of the Top 25, and it is no surprise that the city I
loosely currently call home is number 1.
Hong Kong had a whopping 25.6 million people visit in 2013. That is basically the population of Shanghai visiting Hong Kong (a
nd heck, majority of tourists probably were from there!) To this day, it still shocks me that I live in this crazy, ridiculous, packed, wonderful, frustrating, cultural city/country/SAR whatever you’d like to call it.
While images of the amazing Victoria Harbo(u)r skyline, the Peak, Big Buddha, etc. are what most think of when Hong Kong is mentioned, many believe HK is a city that never sleeps nor ever “shuts up.” While this is mainly true, it is easy to escape the city and noise without truly leaving the city. This is where Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden come into play.
A short walk from the Diamond Hill MTR exit C2 (Kwun Tong line) you can enter urban bliss and serenity when you visit the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Gardens.The Nunnery is a large Buddhit temple that, whilst built in the 1930’s, was completely renovated in the 1990’s. While one can tell it is “new,” it still is quite the sight and you can see relics from long ago. Be careful, it can be absolutely scorching on a hot day, as there is not a lot of shelter!
After visiting the Nunnery, you must stop by the Nan Lian Gardens. It is a large, beautiful, and extremely well-manicured garden that is attached to the Chi Lin Nunnery (which I only found out the second time I visited after attempting to run through a four lane street to get to! Oops.) Hong Kong is the epitome of a concrete jungle, with high-rise apartments surrounding both the Nunnery and the gardens, however, they both are designed so well, you don’t even notice!
There are several paths you can take, all leading you to the same spots in the garden and in the middle is a lovely gold “mini temple” and two red-orange bridges. Unfortunately, the bridges are blocked, believe me I tried to get to the temple, but it still makes for some pretty pictures. Throughout the garden, there are benches, shaded areas, and koi ponds where you can stop and rest and read a good book. If you’re hungry, there is a nice little vegetarian restaurant that has a great set lunch deal!
So next time you are in the most visited city in the world and you need a break from the staggeringly tall skyscrapers, the crowds of people, and city-noise, stop by Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden!