If you are looking for a budget-friendly activity and if you wonder what to see and what to do in Diamond Hill, be sure to head to The Nan Lian Garden and the Chi Lin Nunnery. In between buildings, discover a quiet place, dedicated to spirituality, feng shui, and nature. A temple, a tea house, wooden craft arts and incredible bonsai trees are among the wonders you will discover there.
What Is Nan Lian Garden?
If you want to find a place that is serene and calm, Nan Lian Garden is the ideal place to visit.
Amidst the bustling crowds in Hong Kong, the attraction is a beautiful garden complex. The motif of the entire garden was made according to the style of the Tang Dynasty. A collaboration between Chi Lin Nunnery and the government, the garden is home to flowers, trees, ponds, geologically fascinating rocks and gorgeous wooden structures like bridges occupying over three hectares of land.
The Pavilion of Absolute Perfection (Golden Pavilion) and Zi Wu Bridge
The Pavilion of Absolute Perfection or Golden Pavilion is located in the middle of a lotus-shaped pond, symbolizing absolute perfection and fulfillment in all of life’s aspects. The Pavilion is connected by two bridges, Zi and Wu, meaning North and South.
The Zi and Wu bridges are considered twins, dividing the Lotus Pond on the north and the south. They were inspired by the Tang Dynasty style as well, which is why the color of the bridges is bright red. These two bridges bring even more depth to the serene ambiance offered by the Golden Pavilion.
Xiang Hai Xuan
The Xiang Hai Xuan, or The Hall of Fragrance, is found in the south part of the Nan Lian Garden. This area of the garden is considered as an exhibition hall. It usually has special exhibitions, special musical performances, or even seminars.
Blue Pond and Pavilion Bridge
Water being one of the main themes of the garden, it is also home to many ponds. The Blue Pond is one of the two ponds found in the garden. It is another beautiful sight, featuring red, gold, and pearl koi and rock formations. You can take many good pictures, having the Pavilion Bridge as your background.
The view of the Blue Pond is so calming it will make you feel relaxed, seemingly washing off all the worry away from the world. The Pavilion Bridge, on the other hand, is located towards the east end of the Blue Pond. You can walk into the bridge for cover or shade while you enjoy the view of the surrounding garden.
Once you cross the Pavilion Bridge, you will reach the Silver Strand waterfall. It is found streaming along the side of Long Men Lou, a structure that houses a vegetarian restaurant called Chi Lin Vegetarian. The view from inside the restaurant is relaxing, seeing the garden from within the sheet of flowing water. You will find yourself enjoying the view around the garden while listening to the calming sound of running water.
Song Cha Xie (Pine Tea House)
Adjacent to the Pavilion Bridge, you can also find Song Cha Xie, an exquisite looking teahouse overlooking Blue Pond. It can also be referred to as the Pine Tea House. This teahouse has wooden corridors and intimate looking nooks, which are just perfect for enjoying some Chinese tea and light dim sum dishes. If you do want to drink tea, you will have to order and pay, but it is still a beautiful area where you can enjoy the view of the garden.
After looking at the beautiful trees and beautiful ponds and waterfalls in Nan Lian Garden, you can also find a variety of interesting rock formations as well. There is a rockery exhibition inside the garden, where you can find fascinating rocks and read about where they came from inside a zen-looking room. This can be found near the Light of Enlightenment statue, near Chi Lin Nunnery.
What is Chi Lin Nunnery?
Just adjacent to Nan Lian Garden, connected by a bridge over the freeway, you will see Chi Lin Nunnery.
The Nunnery houses several halls, courtyards, and lotus ponds, all beautiful and still inspired by the Tang Dynasty architecture and design. Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist temple complex that was built as a retreat for Buddhist nuns, and it is home to many deity statues such as Guanyin and many others.
The Nunnery gives off a peaceful vibe, being full of bonsai trees.
The Mountain Gate
The Mountain Gate serves as the entrance to the Nunnery, as it is commonly used in Chinese Buddhist temples. The gate signifies that you’ve entered the mountains and have left all worldly distractions behind you.
The First Courtyard or Lotus Pond Garden
Walking inside the gate, there are ponds off to the sides of the main courtyard. In this area, you can see plentiful lotus plants dotting the tranquil water. It gives off a Japanese zen garden vibe, being surrounded by bonsai and many rock formations.
The Hall of Heavenly Kings
This part of the Nunnery can also be referred to as The Hall of Heavenly or Celestial Kings. It is home to statues of deities that represent the four directions of the compass. In the Buddhist religion, these sacred figures serve as protection against evil and should be placed near the entrance of temples.
Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, Wong Tai Sin
Chi Lin Nunnery, 5 Chi Lin Dr, Sheung Yuen Leng
Featured image credits: AdamHillTravel via Pixabay