The Tang Dynasty was a major era in Chinese history due to the many measures that were taken that led the country into one of its most prosperous chapters. With that came the iconic Tang style of architecture and landscape design, both of which are best exemplified at Nan Lian Garden. This beautiful garden is a top attraction in Hong Kong because it still resonates the best Tang details. As well, its location just across from Chi Lin Nunnery makes for a perfectly paired visit and allows visitors to experience the religious and cultural aspects of Hong Kong in addition to its more serene and natural face.
Despite Nan Lian Garden’s historic style, the garden itself is rather modern since its foundation was in November 2006. Over a total of 3.5 hectares, you will find rockeries, flowers, plants, trees, bridges, bodies of water, and wooden structures all perfectly situated according to the concepts of feng shui and Tang Dynasty construction. Altogether, the elements of the garden hum along harmoniously when seen as one complete entity.
Nan Lian Garden is a place to take a step back from the noise and tension of Hong Kong and retreat to a more peaceful and even spiritual corner of the city. Manmade pieces such as the wooden pavilions, terraces, tower, bridges, and more combine well with the fragrant pine trees, flowers, ponds, statues, rockeries, and waterfalls on the premises. In addition, the garden was designed with the intention that visitors follow a one-way route in order to best observe the classical layouts. With the tall, impressive city skyscrapers in its background contrasting with the tranquility of the natural elements in the garden, such landscapes make this destination a popular place for photography.
After a gentle stroll around its grounds, you may want to refresh yourself. Be sure to stop by the vegetarian restaurant, classic Chinese style teahouse, and the souvenir shop for some delights. The teahouse is named Song Cha Xie and it proudly serves the top popular teas. Many of them are organic and locally grown, some cultivated using ancient techniques which are hard to find these days. Each table is equipped with the necessary utensils for tea-making so you can learn about the parts and flow of a traditional tea ceremony. Of course, you can also purchase some tea afterwards to take home with you.
And of course, Nan Lian Garden is an ideal pairing with a visit to Chi Lin Nunnery very close by. This is a large Buddhist temple complex with elegant wooden structures and priceless Buddhist relics. The lotus pond is a particular favorite aspect of the visual landscape. Open for almost 100 years, the local people still come here to pray and pay their respects on a daily basis; should you wish to take photos, remember to be respectful of the sacredness of the temple and nunnery.
A visit to Nan Lian Garden should take about 1 hour, with a total of 2 hours if you also visit Chi Lin Nunnery.
Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes as well as some water if visiting during the hot summer months.
Close to the garden is also Wong Tai Sin temple which is one of the most famous and important Buddhist temples in Hong Kong. It is a site not to be missed!