Countryside-Like Sanctuary in Hong Kong – Beyond Shopping Spree and Commercialized Entertainment

Countryside-Like Sanctuary in Hong Kong – Beyond Shopping Spree and Commercialized Entertainment

Despite the notoriety of being highly urbanized, having an unusually high population density and very small in size, one can still find a green sanctuary to soothe the fatigued soul that has been wrecked by the hurly-burly of the city in Hong Kong. After a shopping spree, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, Nan-Lian Garden that offers free admittance daily from 7am to 9am is a must-not-miss tourist destination. It is an ultimate attraction for garden and greenery lovers in this highly urbanized city. For food gourmets, they can find MSG-free cuisine here. Visitors will also have a chance to enjoy tea-drinking and this is a good way to revive one’s mental energy.

The Nan-Lian Garden is easy to get to. First, get to the MTR Diamond Hill Station. Take Exit C2. The garden is about one minute of walk away after crossing Sheung Yuen Street.

It is a garden built on an area of approximately 35,000 sq m following the architectural and landscaping style of Tang Dynasty (618 – 906). In the garden, one sees unusual looking rocks specially imported from mainland China. Each of these is from a famous mountain or rock formation. The whole area is laid out with winding paths, ponds, little hills and waterfalls. One will also experience the tranquility of a Japanese garden as there is a collection of ancient bonsai trees. The Chinese likes to describe such a conducive, comforting environment to be ‘As pretty as a poem, as beautiful as a scroll painting’. Then, strolling about in such a conducive environment, one is an assimilated part of the pretty poem and the beautiful painting.

The Tang-Dynasty-styled buildings in the garden is an amazing architectural wonder. The buildings are constructed completely without any nails. The superior workmanship is the masterpiece of a team of Japanese craftsmen who specialize in restoring historic buildings. They were in Hong Kong just to work on this garden!

Walking along the ponds, one will at a point come to a high waterfall. Discreetly hidden behind the waterfall is the Long Men Lou Restaurant. It is a restaurant that serves vegetarian cuisine. One point deserves emphasis here is that the food served here is guaranteed to be totally free of the food flavor enhancer called MSG – monosodium glutamate. Crispy beancurd rolls, preserved mushrooms of special formula and stir-fried asparagus are some of the highly praised items for their subtle and delicate tastes which are beyond description.

There is also a teahouse in the garden where one can learn the art of Chinese tea drinking. Tea drinking is a good way to make a lethargic person mentally energetic again. The legend says that the Chinese tea plants grew out of the great Zen Master Venerable Bodhi Dharma’s eye lids. Once, the Buddhist master Bodhi Dharma fell asleep during meditation. In order not to fall into the same mishap again, Venerable Bodhi Dharma pulled off both his eye lids and threw them on the ground. When the torn-out eye lids hit the round, tea plants grew from them.

After all the sight-seeing and resting in the Nan-Lian Garden, one can go on with one’s journey to the Wong Tai Sin’s Temple, either by MTR or walking.

Wish you a journey sweet in the beginning, sweet in the middle and sweet at the end, and be sweet forever in memory.