The Chi Lin Nunnery, and the Nan Lian Garden are two neatly hidden gems in the tranquil surroundings of Diamond Hill’s myriad of high-rise apartments. The sites are sadly not visited by many foreign tourists, despite being listed as one of the premium tourist attractions in Hong Kong. Before the handover to the British in 1996, this part of Hong Kong was close the approach path into the former Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport, and so was frequented by the noise of low flying aircraft overhead. Nowadays the site enjoys the sounds of the kingfishers and other small birds that lurk around the surroundings, and is remarkably quieter compared to the noise of the traffic around Diamond Hill.
The Chi Lin Nunnery was established in 1934 and renovated in Tang dynasty style (AD 618–907) in 1990. It’s a large temple complex made up of elegant wooden architecture, treasured Buddhist relics and soul-soothing lotus ponds. The complex also includes a series of temple halls, some of which contain wooden statues representing divinities such as the Sakyamuni Buddha and bodhisattvas.
Occupying an area of around 3.5 hectares, and juxtapositioned next to the Nunnery, the Nan Lian Garden is a public park also built in the style of the Tang dynasty. There are some impressive permanent exhibitions of Chinese timber architecture, rocks, and potted plants. The park also houses an elegant Cantonese teahouse, and a restaurant, which is flanked by an artificial waterfall.
The best way to get here is to take the MTR to Diamond Hill, and the site is just outside the entrance of the station. There is no entrance fee.
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