The Nan Lian Garden is situated at Diamond Hill and is easy accessible by the MTR. Right beside is the Chi Lin Nunnery and you can do both on a half day trip.
The garden is built in the Tang Dynasty style (618 AD to 907 AD). Hills, rocks, ponds, plants and trees are arranged according to the Tang style and rules. It is a tranquil place surrounded by skyscrapers and roads.
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist temple complex and also built in the Tang Dynasty style. It was built without any iron nails and uses special interlocking systems cut into the wood to hold everything in place.
There is no entry fee and a must-see if you visit Hong Kong.
The National Orchid Garden which is located on the highest hill in the Botanic Gardens is a must see for flora lovers and photographers.
The Botanic Gardens were built along a 3-Core concept. The three cores are
- Tanglin which is the heritage core retaining the old favourites and charms of the historic Gardens
- Central which is the tourist belt of the Gardens
- Bukit Timah which is the educational and recreational zone
The Orchid Garden is located in the Central Core along with the also very interesting Ginger Garden.
Identifying these flowers isn’t so easy for a beginner. I just managed to find the category of each orchid but I’m still not sure if everything is correct. You have to take the shape, color, pattern and size of the bloom into consideration. Further more there are many mixes and hybrids which makes it even harder to find the correct names.
The Yu Garden is a pleasant private garden with many small lakes, ponds and bridges. It is a very nice place to visit, however it is very very crowded. Actually I never saw so many people on a small bridge like the Jiu Qu Qiao Bridge (Watch the video). It is a famous zig-zag bridge and a so called ‘Bridge of Nine Turnings’. A zig-zag bridge may have three, five or more zig-zags.
Although the lake is only about thirty metres wide, the bridge winds more than a hundred meters because of its nine twists. In the middle of the lake is a pavilion in which visitors may have a cup of tea or enjoy the view all around.
A nice day trip is a visit in Richmond and on the way back Kew Gardens.
Richmond sits on the south side of the river Thames. If you have a 7-Day Travelcard for zones 1 and 2 (and I remommend to buy one if you stay that long) the return ticket only costs about 3 pounds. Famous is the Richmond bridge which was built in the 18th century. 1937 they widened the bridge due to increasing traffic.
In Kew Gardens you have to walk he Rhizotron & Xstrata Treetop Walkway. This walkway gives you the opportunity to walk high above the ground through the tree canopy of sweet chestnuts, limes and deciduous oaks. If you are lucky you see birds, insects, lichens and fungi that rely on these huge organisms. The walkway is about 200 meters long and is really thrilling.
You also have a great view of the vast 300 acres of Kew, as well as the London skyline. It is designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the architects of the London Eye. The pioneering structure of the Xstrata Treetop Walkway is an ingenious design based on a Fibonacci numerical sequence, often found in nature’s growth patterns. And if you have forgotten what the Fibonacci numbers are, here the reminder : 0,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,…
The central part of the Temperate House was designed by Decimus Burton and finished in 1861. It was very expensive and because of financial constraints the construction of the two side-parts was delayed until 1899. It is the largest glasshouse at Kew and the world’s largest surviving Victorian glass structure. It contains plants from Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands and Africa. You can even walk up and view the trees and plants from above.