Parks and Gardens
Asia’s world city, is not just a place for great food and nightlife activities with all the bustles and hustles. It has serene parks and gardens that offer tranquility to those who seek some peace of mind away from the skyscrapers and busy streets. Do not assume right away that this city—with its neon-lit metropolis and preoccupied locals from everyday activities—does not have much nature. Here, you will realize that around three-quarters of the whole land (1,104 square kilometers) is both rural and pristine, graced with flora, fauna and wildlife.
The city does not disappoint as it has its lovely parks and gardens where one can wander, meditate and enjoy the sight of trees and other plants as well as the birds and the bees. The successful fusion of urbanization and preservation of nature is evident in Hong Kong; the well-known places considered by many as retreat spots have already established its respective reputations as places where one can unwind alone or with a friend or two. Moreover, these tourist destinations have cultural and historical value. This is why taking a camera is highly recommended.
Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park gives each visitor a perspective on the city’s history, nature and architectural preservation. This park has a colorful—both famous and infamous—history since the 15th century. Located in the Kowloon Walled City, it was known as a center of vice and crime until 1987.
The former Kowloon Walled City was once a lawless town before; both Chinese and British governments had abandoned this area because they could not control drug-related crimes and illegal gambling. Even prostitution and quackery were happening here before. Then during the nineties, the Kowloon Walled City was demolished and the native buildings and Chinese features were preserved to add character to this park.
You will be welcomed by the Jiangnan garden design, a famous garden landscape overall look during the early Qing Dynasty. The Qing government back then was responsible for building this walled city for military purposes. It also served as home for various soldiers and their families. Its transformation from an infamous place to a great park was finished on 1995, and the people behind its construction has made sure that the height of the structures found here was regulated for the park to have a better open view.
The park has eight landscape features. At the center, you will see Yamen, the only remaining old Qing building there. Hence, it is officially declared as a Hong Kong monument. Used for charitable purposes and home for the elderly after 1899, it has three rows and four wings of houses. The roof has cylindrical and flat tiles and the walls are made of bricks and granite.
The Old South Gate is also declared as a monument. To see unearthed and preserved relics of the walled city, you should check this out.
Moreover, the Garden of Chinese Zodiac has twelve Chinese zodiac sculptures. If you are knowledgeable on Chinese astrology, you will definitely find this part of the park fascinating. Another interesting site is the Guibi Rock and Fui Sing Pavilion. The Gubi Rock, a symbol of the hope of Hong Kong’s return to China, is famous because of its ancient-jade-like veins, while the Fui Sing Pavilion symbolizes the constellation of literature and wisdom.
To view the Lion Rock, a rock formation that resembles a sitting lion, go to the Mountain View Pavilion. If you have friends with you and want to play in the park, visit the Chess Garden where four huge chessboards built on the ground are situated. Visitors can enjoy a game of chess here with provided pebbles.
Last but not the least parts of the park, the Eight Floral Walks and the Garden of Four Seasons are truly a delight for lovers of colorful flowers and various kinds of bushes and plants. The Eight Floral Walks is a web of paths that leads you to the distinct landscape features of the park. On both sides of the path, enjoy walking beside different flowers and plants that have distinct looks in every season. The Garden of Four Seasons also has various flora and fauna distinct to Hong Kong and from other places. Potted plants will satisfy the nature lover side of you in this particular area.
Chai Wan Park
May it be jogging, playing basketball, opting for a tennis game and letting children be themselves, Chai Wan Park serves as an ideal place for all these activities. One of the largest parks in Hong Kong, its construction was completed in 1993 and is currently managed by Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong government. It has a total area of 17 acres (6.55 hectares) with various areas and facilities to provide fun for all ages.
The Chaiwan Campsite of the Boy Scouts Association Hong Kong Branch used to be located in the park site—once called as Scout Hill—in 1929. In 1970, the local government were planning to develop Chai Wan, so the hill was demolished after ten years and the park was then constructed for public use.
More than the multiple playgrounds and equipment for recreational activities, there is a peaceful lily pond in the middle of the park where one can sit down, gaze at the serene scenery and feed koi fishes. If you are with your family, you can check out the park’s model boat pool—its famous highlight because visitors can enjoy the splashes as the boat whizzes around.
Also, do not worry about hot weather as Chai Wan Park has plenty of shade. The facilities found inside are the following: 7-a-side football pitches, basketball courts, tennis courts, fitness stations for all ages (there is a special station for the elderly), children’s playgrounds, model boat pool, walking tiles, cascade waterfall, fountains, lily pond, terrace garden and a kiosk.
Victoria Peak Garden
Well-managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the city government, the Victoria Peak Garden is a vantage point that provides a stunning view of the Victoria Harbour and the distinct night scene of Hong Kong. The garden has a Chinese-style landscape that you will most likely love. Also, the former alternate residence for the Governor of Hong Kong called as Mountain Lodge was once situated here. Nonetheless, even if it has already been demolished, the beautiful park is one of Hong Kong’s treasured tourist attractions.
The preserved space, grassy lawn, and stream course at the site makes you feel how important heritage elements are for the people of Hong Kong. Simply called as the Peak, you will see winding paths and park benches as well as pagodas and features similar to classic Victorian gardens such as the iron railings. The old Gate House of the Mountain Lodge is also preserved and is currently called as the Gate Lodge. It is also interesting to note that compared to other parks and gardens in Hong Kong, the Victorian Peak Garden allows pets inside. Animal lovers will surely find this applaudable.
The breathtaking views of Hong Kong is the highlight of most travelers who have visited the Peak Garden, according to our research. Compared to the viewing areas located at the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria that only gives a view of North Hong Kong, the sights you will see here include the South and West sides of the island.
The fact that this used to be the gardens and grounds of Hong Kong’s governor and serves as his summer residence is already an assurance of beauty and quality this place can offer for every visitor. Not only that, the public restrooms are also kept clean and a light refreshment stand is found inside.
The Peak is also listed as one of the Top 10 must-see Hong Kong attractions. Read more about this great place here.
Located specifically in Tsim Sha Tsui, this 13.3-hectare public park has various features that cater to every traveler’s interests. Flora and gardens, museums, a “comic avenue,” lake and aviary, and even sporting facilities are found inside. Every year, visitors flock in this public area for its beautiful landscape and the various activities one can do here. Considered as a significant site in Tsim Sha Tsui, the park has both attractions and leisure areas that are beneficial for locals and tourists alike.
The site was once a British military base with an overlooking view of the Victoria Harbour. Its solid barracks and unearthed military equipment are moved to the Heritage Museum. Officially opened in 1970 by the British Urban Council, the park was redeveloped by the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club for $300 million HK.
Five main attractions in Kowloon Park await your arrival: the sports center, swimming center, fitness trail, Bird Lake, Aviary, and the Chinese garden. The sports center has huge volleyball and basketball courts, a fitness room, among others. These courts are also used for international competitions. On the other hand, the swimming center has an area of three hectares, which is amazing. It is also one of Hong Kong’s biggest outdoor pools.
Go for a jog or walk at the fitness trail which is also an ideal place for bird watching. After allotting time for recreational activities, relax and be one with nature at the Bird Lake and Aviary where around 100 different bird species can be found. The Chinese Garden is also located in this area for those who want to see various flora and fauna.
Apart from the main spots, the park also has the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Center and preserved buildings of the former barracks that also serve as museums. Block S58 is an example of a building used for preservation of culture as it serves as a godown of Hong Kong Museum of History.
Nan Lian Garden
This garden was opened to the public in 2006. A joint project of the Chi Lin Nunnery and the Hong Kong Government, Nan Lian Garden has a special Tang-Dynasty style landscape; it was designed with a one-way circular route. The style of the hills, water features, trees, rocks, and wooden structures all strictly follow this style. You must check this garden out because of its various areas that offer memorable experiences and a kind of tranquility that goes to the next level.
Nan Lian Garden is not a typical or your average go-to garden. First, it has a Lotus Pond and Blue Pond surrounded with various trees. These ponds are famous for the soothing feeling it gives to every visitor upon enjoying the sight of lotus and the overall serene look of these bodies of water. Exhibitions of Chinese timber architecture, rocks, and potted plants can also be found in the Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery and the Pine Path. The garden’s Pavilion of Absolute Perfection is another must-see area, as well as its two Zi Wu Bridges.
There is also a souvenir shop and a vegetarian food restaurant in Nan Lian Garden. If you want to hold events, there is a multi-purpose function room here too. For gatherings over drinks and snacks, the garden has a famous Chinese tea house where you can invite your fellow traveler for deep conversation and relaxation.
From MTR Diamond Hill Station Exit C2, you can follow the signs and walk for five minutes to reach Nan Lian Garden. Also, because the garden is just adjacent to the Chi Lin Nunnery, you may also opt to visit the nunnery. It is a large temple complex where you can see Buddhist relics and lotus ponds that can soothe weary souls in need of tranquil scenery.
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens is Hong Kong’s oldest park. It is also known as one of the oldest zoological and botanical centers in the world, earning a place in the Top 10 must-see Hong Kong attractions. These were constructed in 1860, had its soft opening in 1864, and was completed in 1871. With a total of 5.6 hectares, the gardens are divided into East and West Albany Road and are connected by a pedestrian subway. Here, expect to be amazed by various indigenous and foreign species of more than 1,000 species of plants and endangered animals.
In the Old Garden, the eastern part of Albany Road, you will find a children’s playground, aviaries, a green house and the fountain terrace garden. Birds such as the American flamingo, Hawaiian goose, and red-crowned crane are housed here.
On the other hand, the western part called New Garden is home to various mammals such as the Bornean orangutan, emperor tamarin and raccoon, among others. It is also home to reptiles like the endangered elongated and spurred tortoise.
Encounter rare plant species such as the Ailanthus and the dawn redwood in this garden. The Hong Kong orchid tree is also beautiful to look at, especially when it has already produced flowers. As for the animals, there are over 600 birds, 70 mammals, and 40 reptiles here. The young ones will enjoy this place with all these features—even the young at heart, because nature’s beauty is indeed for all ages.
The Memorial Arch, the Bronze Statue of King George VI, and the Pavilion are must-see structures situated in Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. The memorial arch was dedicated to the Chinese who died assisting the Allies during the two world wars and the bronze statue was built and placed here to commemorate the 100th anniversary of British colonial rule over Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Park
With an outstanding natural landscape in an urban setting, Hong Kong Park is a peaceful oasis for the busy city. It opened in 1991 and is located at the Central District of Hong Kong Island, covering an area of eight hectares. Fascinating buildings can be found here, from preserved garrison buildings to its lake, waterfall, conservatory, large aviary, viewing tower, among others. Upon visiting, various sights and a sought-after calmness of the place gives you a refreshing look at this serene side of Hong Kong.
Animal lovers should check out the Edward Youde Aviary of this attractive park. It is home to around 600 birds of 80 species specifically from the Malesian rain forests. The aviary is situated over an elevated artificial rainforest of the park where there is rich vegetation and a stream. There is an ascending walkway to the aviary for visitor to walk through the tree canopy and go bird-watching. In this area, you can also view various plants and trees from different angles.
More structures are accessible here. Flagstaff House, formerly the residence of the commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, is in Hong Kong Park. It is converted into a place housing the Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware. Other preserved buildings are the Rawlinson House, Wavell House, and Cassels Block. Inside the Wavell House is the park’s education center and the Cassels Block is home to the Hong Kong Visual Arts Center.
Its museum of teaware holds regular tea-related demonstrations, gatherings, lectures and programs. These are organized with the aim of promoting Chinese ceramic art and China’s widely celebrated tea drinking culture. Another highlight of the park is the Hong Kong Visual Arts Center with studios for various types of artists, may they be from the field of sculpture, ceramic-making, or print-making. It also has exhibition spaces for local artists who want to display their art works.
Moreover, if you are bringing young ones with you, Hong Kong Park has playgrounds and usually holds an art fun fair. They can learn calligraphy here; Victoria Park and Kowloon Park also holds fairs like this.
For those who loves to see skyscrapers, you can take great photos of these sights here because the park is an ideal vantage point for viewing different skyscrapers. Take snaps of the flowing water, too, as it is designed to be linked to the waterfalls, streams, ponds and cliffs made of artificial rocks formed beautifully for a scenic view.
Lovers, the park also has a marriage registry. Bring a ring, propose, and get married right away with a significant other here. It is one of the park’s features that has made it more famous and special for locals and tourists.
Hong Kong Wetland Park
Truly wold-class, the Hong Kong Wetland Park is an ecotourism park rich with unique flora and fauna visitors must not miss. Not only that, the park has diverse birds, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, and fish that give an impression to every wanderer that the wildlife here is well taken care of. Two main areas of the Hong Kong Wetland Park are the Wetland Interactive World and Wetland Reserve.
The 60-hectare Wetland Interactive World educates visitors about the available ecosystem in the park and makes their appreciation of the beauty of nature deeper—especially when natural resources and its creatures are not harmed by human activity. Themed exhibition galleries as well as a 3D cinema can be found inside. In the exhibitions held here, the concept of wetland conservation and its importance are introduced. Experience being a wetlands reporter in its hands-on educational area.
Visitors will also enjoy its trick art area, theatre and the Swamp Adventure indoor play area. These are great spots where you can take photos to capture the memories made in this beautiful park. A special note: watch out for the singing fish as well as other “wetland celebrities” that appear at unpredictable times. These creatures surely give pure fun and entertainment to anyone who encounter them.
On the other hand, the Wetland Reserve is a recreated outdoor wetland for wildlife animals. Wander around the Butterfly Garden as well as the tree bird hides around the park. For those who want to take a stroll around, the Stream Walk, Mangrove Boardwalk and the newest boardwalk that connects Fishpond Hide and Wild side Walk will definitely bring anyone closer to nature with all the surrounding greenery. Also, do not forget to visit the haven of Pui Pui, the park’s celebrity crocodile that is famous all over the world.
Tsing Yi Park
This European-style Tsing Yi Park is an attractive public area that opened in 1996. Situated near Tsing Yi MTR Station, it is an easily accessible space for various recreational activities. In fact, most visitors are drawn to this park because of its proximity to the MTR. Here, you can access seven tennis courts, a basketball court and a restaurant as well as beautiful sites such as three artificial lakes, its waterfall and a lookout pavilion.
Tsing Yi Park used to be a hillock at the town center of Tsing Yi where there are many scattered cemeteries around. Under the leadership of Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the area has been transformed into a multi-functional park for everyone to enjoy. Around seven hectares, it is indeed a well-maintained and clean park. There is a mall called Maritime Square across this park, so you and your co-traveler(s) can shop after a stroll around. Outside Maritime Square, you can see sailing ships and skyscrapers from a distance.
In its stadium, sporting activities are held. The stadium is also adjacent to a public swimming pool. Other facilities are the following: a mini soccer pitch-cum-handball court, a service block, a children's playground, a lookout point an amphitheatre and a garden full of plants and flowers.
You should check this charming park out because various locals would say that this public area is one of the main reasons why they love living in Tsing Yi. As a tourist, Tsing Yi Park is an ideal Hong Kong attraction where you can observe the lifestyle of locals and how they unwind in a vibrant city with various activities going on all at once.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park is the only park in Hong Kong that is named after a Chinese historical figure. Sun Yat Sen is the first president and founding father of the Republic of China. His contributions to China not just a revolutionist, but also as a physician, writer and philosopher has made him the subject for various memorials in Hong Kong as well as other Asian cities and countries. As for Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, this waterfront park is the perfect place for recreational activities such as jogging, playing sports, and learning about Chinese history under the famous leader.
It is a charming outdoor area situated near the Western Harbour Tunnel. The park is just on the water’s edge as the land was obtained from the reclamation area outside Sam Kok Mar Tou. Based from the city history, it is in the exact location of the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park where this influential leader would meet his friends and supporters aboard the boat he boarded upon traveling back.
The first noticeable features of the park are the recreational areas and the view of the sea and grassed areas. Truly, the park is an ideal place for relaxation, picnicking, photography sessions and walking. Here, you will also encounter locals who are having yoga sessions and going for a date. This place gives every traveler the opportunity to immerse himself or herself in Chinese outdoor culture.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park is also a well-known touristy place. It has various sitting areas that usually get full during lunch time. Workers whose offices are loated in Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pub—two places close to the park—usually eat lunch or snack here. Another reason to go here is the stunning view of Kowloon and Victoria Harbour from the park.