Nan Lian Garden

From all the tourist sports I've been to in Hong Kong, this is the one I love the most. It's very peaceful, serene, quiet and relaxing. It feels like a magical forest at the center of all the tall buildings. Every time my friends ask me about Hong Kong, I'm too excited to tell them about this garden. I can't stop my self showing them the pictures I took while telling them how I would love to go back. I can stay there all day reminiscing or just taking in the classical beauty of the place.
Lands & Seas Rock Arrangement
Shadow Wall as seen through the entrance inside the Garden
Garden's registration area
Nan Lian Garden is a beautiful escape from the busy day in the city. Although it's at the center of the city, once you're inside you won't remember that you're still in the city. Unless of course, you look up and see the tall buildings around. But still, even when I saw the building every time I look up, I don't mind at all because I feel at ease in this garden.
Trees just beside the registration area and along the path going to the Garden
I'm really thankful that I found this site when I was looking for things to do in Hong Kong. I'm not very much into shopping, which is the most popular thing to do there. I'm not into rides too, because I have a motion sickness, so I searched for things like this. My friend has no choice to come with me since she hasn't seen these places before even though she visited Hong Kong many times.
 Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery
This classical Tang-style gardens covers an area of 35,000 square meters. It's surrounded by a total of 260 pieces of sound-proof panels to maintain a peaceful & quiet environment. medium mounds were also built higher from northwest to the southwest to help block the noise of the outside traffic. And with a lot of plants and trees around to filter the dust around, the wind stays fresh and clean in the garden. This Tang-Style classic elegance was built based on the blueprint of the famous garden in Shanxi Province, the Jiangshouju Garden.
The Nan Lian Rock Arrangement
Chinese Gardens are not meant to be seen all at once and always features the four main elements of a Tang-Style Garden: hillocks and rocks, waters and ponds, plants and timber structures. Visitors are presented by perfectly arranged and designed rocks or pond or pavilion or pagoda. In this garden's case, visitors are greeted by rocks arrangement from the path after crossing the street to the Garden's main entrance. And from there a lot of different trees and more rock arrangements along the way.
The rocks displayed in the Garden are mostly from Red River of Xijiang. These rocks include the petrified wood rock, Sanjiang rock, faience rock, and rocks from the north of Guangdong province and rocks from the local sites. Rocks of different shapes and outlooks are arranged and placed in groups or isolation, enhancing other feature elements in the Garden. There are 6 types of Rock Arrangements in the Gard, they are the "Lands & Seas", "The Spring Hill", "Cloud Rocks", "Semeru Vision", "The Nan Lian Rock", and "The Host Rock". I was able to see 3 arrangements only because the others are located in a then closed areas. These rocks stands as the bone of the Garden.
The Pavilion of Absolute Perfection or Golden Pavilion
Precious old trees throughout the garden are well maintained by the staff. When we visited we saw few of them checking the trees and plants and even taking pictures to document them. There are a total of 59 types of trees or a total of 3000 trees in the Garden. The majority of the trees are Buddhist Pine, & Japanese Black Pine. Other types of trees that can be found in the Garden are Pagoda, Cypress, Common Crape Myrtle, Chinese Elm, Sago Palm and Penjing plants. These trees serve as the fence along the way, creating a one-way route based in traditional Chinese techniques. These techniques are the borrowing, concealing, sheltering and penetrating scenes.
The Garden offers a variety of structures like pavilions, terraces, towers, veranda, halls, watermill, a thatch-roofed cottage and bridges.  The the first timber structure you will see, when you visit the Garden is the "Shadow Wall" or "Light Wall" located at the main entrance. Shadow wall was built to protect the entrance. It's usually built a little far from the main gate, asserting the identity and ownership of the interior space.
Cloud Rocks Arrangement
The most notable of them all is the is the "The Pavilion of Absolute Perfection", and the "Zi Wu Bridge". It's surrounded by a pond and a man-made small waterfall. I wanted to go inside and check the pavilion and take pictures but it's not allowed. Even crossing the bridge is not allowed during normal days. There are fences that block the path indicating that no one is allowed to enter. Actually, a lot of paths were blocked when we were there. We were told that these paths are open on special holidays. I wonder if the view are more beautiful if you're in one of these structures.
Cloud Rocks Arrangement
There are a lot of beautiful pavilions and bridges that I saw but they are all closed for public. We asked one of the old woman we saw and she explained to us that the Garden was built for people to enjoy from a distance. She said, nature is meant to be enjoyed from afar. And you can actually see the beauty of the garden from afar.
The Garden's Toilet
Water is actually the main there of the Garden. It represents the skin and the flesh of the Garden. It has a waterfall, a spring, a brook and two ponds. My favorite of them all is Blue Pond with Koi and rock features and the Pavilion Bridge as the background.
View of the Tea House from the view deck of Blue Pond
Combining the cool wind blowing and the sound of the waterfall nearby, it will make you so relaxed and sleepy. I wished we had more time to sit and just enjoy the scenery. The reflection of the Lunar Reflection Terrace and Pagoda Tree Pavilion on the water is really spectacular.
Blue Pond with the Pavilion Bridge as the background
 Pavilion Bridge
Not far from the Blue Pond is a man-made waterfall called "The Mill and Silver Strand Waterfall". This is yet another relaxing area in the Garden. The water mills is not on when we get there but it's probably amazing when it's running. You can enjoy listening to the waterfall while enjoying the green view near. Just above the waterfall, there's a beautiful pavilion with flowers around it. I asked the old lady if we can go there, but she said its one of those structures that are not open for visitors. That all we need to do is enjoy the beauty of it from afar. But it's really beautiful I wish I can see it from outside.
The Silver Strand
The other water features in the Garden are the "Spring Hill", "Lotus Pond" and "Pine Brook". The Spring Hill is located just beside the "Golden Pavilion" and not accessible for visitors. The Pine Brook and the Lotus Pond are also located around the Golden Pavilion.
The Water Mill just beside the Silver Strand
Adjacent to the Silver Strand lies Long Men Mou, a 3-storey building housing the Chi Lin Vegetarian Restaurant. It's still closed when we went there so we just content ourselves with the Snack House, that serves the best fresh Juice I had ever tasted. It's really fresh with a lot of pulps and doesn't even taste bitter. I wanted to buy one for take out but the staff said it's not allowed. The Garden needs to stay clean and eating or drinking while exploring it is not allowed.
Local & imported products available at the Tang Gallery Snack House
Opposite the Snack House is the Tea house, it's the Tang-style timber quadrangle that can be seen from the viewing bridge of the Blue Pond. It's still closed when we get there so we're able to go inside. If you want to visit he Tang Gallery, it's beside the Snack House. If you want to check this and the restaurants, make sure to go there at noon onward when they open.
Path going to the Chi Lin Nunnery - Tang Gallery on the right side
From the snack house walk the path leading to the bridge connecting to Chi Lin Nunnery. The beauty of this place seems never ending. I really love this place and I would love to go back there soon. This is the only place in Hong Kong that I've been that I want to go back to.
Oh and when you ascend that stairs to the bridge connecting the Garden and the Nunnery, make sure to look back and see the Golden Pavilion. It's even beautiful up there. If only I can take one pictures of everything to complete my photo collection, it would be a dream come true for me.
View of the Golden Pavilion from the Brdige connecting the Garden & the Nunnery
In front of the bridge is the perfect spot to see the Golden Pavilion up close. You still can't cross the bridge, but at least you can see the very detailed design of it. I wonder it's really made of gold, though.
This really a must see tourist spot in Hong Kong. For me it's better than the Giant Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. Make sure to visit this place when go to Hong Kong.

For a a guide on how to get there, please click here. For more details about the garden, visit their website:

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  1. i really like your blog, very helpful for first time to travel in hongkong! upon reading your blog on about Nan Lian Garden i immediately include this in our itinerary and i cant wait to explore this place! the way is half day already enough to go around this place? pls. let me know thru my email @ you very much!

    1. Hi, thanks for vising my blog and I'm glad I could be of help. Half day is more than enough to explore this garden. We've been there for I think 2 hours only and we had enough. If you have extra time, drop-by the Wong Tai Sin Temple. It's only 1 station away from Nan Lian Garden and a walking distance from Wong Tai Sin. I can email you how to get there. I will be posting about it soon.


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