When I booked our holiday to Hong Kong, I was honestly most excited about the shopping aspect of our trip, and that aspect did not disappoint! There were Topshops (yes, plural!), Marks and Spencers (so many!), and funky Hong Kong-born brands like 2% HK (where I managed to grab some pieces from their Miffy collaboration ♥ON SALE♥) and Ki.La.Ra (which sells Sanrio-licensed clothes for fully-grown adults; I’m not sure if it’s a Hong Kong brand, but I’ve never seen it or heard of it anywhere else.) Anyway, I wasn’t expecting to do much historical or natural sight-seeing, but I’m so happy we did, cuz these places were gorgeous!
Serenity in the City: Chi Lin Nunnery
Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden (the two are located right next to each other) are the most pristine, well-maintained, and highly-guarded gardens / temples I’ve ever visited. There was not a speck of gravel out of place, and there were SO many guards and gardeners (guardeners?!) patrolling the grounds, ensuring that nobody was touching anything they shouldn’t be touching or stepping anywhere they shouldn’t be stepping (we got sternly waved at for getting too close to a tea house…)
A bonsai orange tree (one of the only ones that wasn’t in a cage!) I was totes impressed that such a tiny tree could still produce regular-sized oranges, and had to get a pic with it. Luckily nobody came rushing over to reprimand me for getting so close to the oranges (and I seriously hope that this innocent lil tree wasn’t subsequently caged cuz of me!)
The immaculate Chi Lin temple grounds.
Pretty pink petals.
A lily pond with lilies in bloom! Pretty purple ones as well; certainly a sight I never thought I’d see in late December.
The most gorgeous koi pond I’ve ever seen, on the Nan Lian Garden grounds. Check my Instagram for a video of the whole pond ♥
Gorgeous golden pagoda (of course you couldn’t step foot onto that perfectly vermilion bridge!)
We headed from the exquisitely trimmed Nan Lian Garden to the Kowloon Walled City Park: a place with a pretty unsavory history!
The Yamen building, which used to sit in the center of the Kowloon Walled City.
You can see the teensy Yamen building in the center of this model of the Walled City. It seemed so unbelievable that those crammed clusters of buildings used to surround it on all sides. Kowloon Walled City used to be an ungoverned haven for criminals, prostitutes, and all sorts of other illicit characters, where dilapidated buildings were constructed so closely to each other that sunlight couldn’t even reach the ground.
Uncovered remnants of the Walled City’s South Gate, left as they were found.
Broken stone tablets which marked the entrance to the South Gate of the Kowloon Walled City.
We loved those bat designs! I wish there had been more historical remnants from the Walled City, but it was a pleasant enough park, funnily filled with bird-watchers!
Speaking of birds…
A cutie little Bali Myna goin’ for a stroll in Hong Kong Park’s aviary! We entered Hong Kong Park through Hong Kong Zoo, which was pretty depressing; it was mostly birds and tortoises, but there were some howler monkeys, lemurs, and gibbons all housed in pretty small, ugly metal cages. So, the zoo enclosures made the aviary look super spacious in comparison.
It was pretty nice, and very clean. We saw so many posters warning about Bird Flu in Hong Kong, so the railings here were regularly sanitized, and anytime bird poo got onto the walkway, masked staff would suddenly appear with buckets and hoses.
I don’t know if the aviary was just filled with Bali Mynas, or if they were just the least skittish birds there, but we saw loads of them.
A colorful little parrot enjoying some fresh fruit!
More cutie fruity friends!
Watcha lookin’ at?!
I know it will probably seem hard to believe, but as soon as we exited the aviary, we saw wild cockatoos flying back and forth between some palm trees! I seriously could not believe it at first, and was completely entranced! Later on, we found a sign with pictures of local birds, and lo and behold, cockatoos were on it! They’re of course not native to Hong Kong, but had been released into the park at some point and had reproduced and multiplied! UGH I’m missing those sunny skies and gorgeous palm trees so much now; I definitely need a tropical holiday someday soon!
There’s (at least) one more Hong Kong post coming soon~!