Nan Lian Garden/Chi Lin Nunnery

map of the Nan Lian Garden

I actually visited just two places in Hong Kong during my last visit. I’ve visited the other tourist attractions in my previous trips including the nearby city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province of China. Okay, so the first one is the Tian Tan Buddha, the second one is this one, and the rest… well, they’re food discoveries! 🙂 And I’ll get back to you on that in a separate post.

The second place I’m referring to is a place that I love, love, love.  TRUST ME. It’s probably the most photogenic spot in Hong Kong ever! When I went there, I literally scanned all areas with my bare eyes and I couldn’t find a spot that is not beautiful.

Everything is beautiful, even the trash bins are beautiful! 😀

The garden is called  Nan Lian Garden and I found out about it as I was searching the Net for 10 must-see places in Hong Kong. I saw the photos online first and I was already dying to see it. When I made my itinerary which listed so many things, I made sure that Nan Lian Garden is there. When things didn’t go as planned and so many changes to the itinerary were made (I didn’t factor in fatigue from walking :P), I still made sure that I get to see Nan Lian Garden before I go.

Hence, on the day before our flight back home, I finally went to see the most beautiful garden I’ve ever seen which I’ll regret forever if I went to Hong Kong and didn’t see it.

HK's MTR map

Going there is no hassle. I took the MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui station all the way to Diamond Hill. When I reached our destination, I immediately realized how noisy Tsim Sha Tsui area is unlike Diamond Hill which is so peaceful and laid back. The station’s exit is just in front of Hollywood Plaza and when I stepped out of the station, I already spotted the directional sign to the Garden.

you'll see signs like this one going to the Nunnery

Let me now take you to there my humble photos:

The Chi Lin Nunnery is a large Buddhist temple complex located in Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong. It covers a space of more than 3 hectares and the entire complex includes a nunnery, temple halls, Chinese gardens, hostels and a vegetarian restaurant.

The Nunnery was founded in 1934 but was rebuilt in 1990 following the style of Tang Dynasty traditional Chinese architecture. There’s so much detail going on there which I particularly noticed from the steps on every stair I climbed, to the wood fences or garbage bins lying around. I later discovered that the construction was based on traditional Chinese architectural techniques dating from the Tang Dynasty that use special interlocking systems cut into the wood to hold them in place. True enough, the Chi Lin Nunnery was built entirely without nails and it’s the only structure built this way in modern Hong Kong today.

 

the Black Lintel Gate serves as the main entrance to the Nunnery

Inside is the Nan Lian Garden, a Tang-style garden characterized by four major elements: artificial hillocks and ornamental rocks, water features, timber features, and old trees. It is a serene and peaceful place and because of this, visitors are required to be properly dressed when they visit the Garden and are advised not to take group photos in order to respect the feelings of other people who want to enjoy the scenery with a peaceful mind.

Upon entering the Black Lintel Gate, one will already see the Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery to the left. It contains wooden models of traditional Chinese timber structures. Following the one-way route, visitors will be able to stroll along the Banyan Grove and Pine Path.

Pine Path view of the Perfection Pavilion

Further down the path is the Lotus Pond with the Perfection Pavilion in the center as connected by red-painted timber Zi Wu bridges but visitors are not allowed to access it.

Down south is a house called Xiang Hai Xuan which means a house embracing a sea of fragrances. Opposite it is the Blue Pond stocked with Koi and other rocks and water features. There’s a Lunar Reflection Terrace and Pagoda Tree Pavilion located at the edge of the pond and visitors can go there to relax and enjoy the reflections of the buildings on opposite sides.

Lunar Reflection Terrace

 

Pagoda Tree Pavilion

Upon crossing the pond, visitors can see another water feature, The Mill opposite the Silver Strand waterfall.

The Mill

Just past The Mill is Chi Lin’s vegetarian restaurant. We didn’t eat there because I’m a certified meat eater 😀 Further down the road though are the souvenir and snack shops.

There’s a gallery near this area but we didn’t go inside as we already headed to the rockery.

Around this area is the staircase leading to the Nunnery itself. The Chi Lin Nunnery complex is arranged around three courtyards but only two are open to the public.

 

Chi Lin Nunnery

There’s a different entrance to the courtyards so we had to take the exit opposite the main entrance and enter into another side gate to get inside. When we  went there, a ritual is on-going and we were constrained to leave to respect the people attending the ceremony.

 

ceremony/ritual inside the Nunnery

A Chinese poem says one would be content with one’s lot if he stayed still in his mind and is in harmony with nature. This is the same poem printed on the Garden’s leaflet.

Hong Kong is a very progressive city where everyone is on-the-go. Nan Lian Garden tempers this by offering serenity in the midst of urban hustle and bustle. Residents of Hong Kong should be thankful that they have something as beautiful as this.

Visitors who come to Hong Kong should not miss this attraction and should make time for their visit (about 2 hours to check the whole place out). It’s a great way to relax and to de-stress from all the shopping that you do 🙂

 

Nan Lian Garden

60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Open 7am to 9pm daily

Admission is free

 

Restrictions:

No littering, no pets, no shouting, no climbing, no tripods for photos, no video-shooting, no frolicking or running, no carving, no releasing of birds, no fish feeding, no plucking of flowers, no commercial photography. Visitors should not be in “special” costumes such as graduation gowns, ball gowns, wedding gowns, etc. No eating and drinking inside except water. Eating is allowed on designated places only.

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5 thoughts on “Nan Lian Garden/Chi Lin Nunnery

    • Jan says:

      Hi Dew, I don’t remember that there is a prescribed dress code but there certainly are restrictions. Visitors should not be in “special” costumes such as graduation gowns, ball gowns, wedding gowns, etc.

  1. monette says:

    thanks for a great review. I’m dying to see this place..will be traveling next month and this is going to be on top of my itinerary. much thanks!!

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