Hong Kong #1: Diamond Hill

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April 5th 2018
Published: May 22nd 2018
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A pretty short, but at times quite turbulent, flight had me arriving in Hong Kong around lunchtime. I was gutted to see that they no longer stamp your passport at immigration. I love collecting passport stamps. The atm as soon as you exit the baggage collection area was great, as it meant I didn't have to faff on looking for somewhere to get some money. A quick purchase from Seven Eleven meant that I had the correct change for the bus. There was a bus already there, but it looked pretty full and the line was still quite long, so I decided to wait for the next one. The journey took about an hour and deposited me on Nathan Road. After getting a little lost, the map on my phone had the guesthouse's location wrong, I found where I was staying. The lift up to the guest house was pure ghetto and I was worried it would break down. Check in was quick and painless and I was shown to my room. Now that I could sump my stuff, I was eager to explore. The subway station was just along the street, so I headed there and took the train to Diamond Hill. I liked how streamlined the subway was, I had to change trains, and the transfer station was at different station depending on which way on the line you were going. This as great as the other subway train line was jut across the platform, no running up and down stairs.

I have been to Hong Kong a couple of times before, so had seen a lot of the major sights. I was looking for things to do on TripAdvisor and the Nan Lian Garden looked like a pretty good spot to spend a couple of hours. Also the Chi Lin Nunnery is just across the road. I exited the subway station, I was shocked to see so many people sprawled out on mats on the ground as I walked around the side of the mall. I decided to visit the nunnery first so crossed over the road and headed there. Both the garden and the nunnery were only a couple of minutes walk from the subway station. I love that Hong Kong is very tourist friendly with lots of signpost pointing you in the right direction. Chi Lin Nunnery was founded in 1934 as a place for Buddhist nuns to do retreats at. This buildings that are there now are not the originals as the nunnery was rebuilt in the 1990s. It was rebuilt in the style of the Tang Dynasty, which ruled China from 618 to 907. The temple was built entirely from cypress wood and without the use of any nails. I entered the temple via a side entrance and took a walk around the outer part first. I was quite surprised at how busy it was. The nunnery is really beautiful and pretty peaceful despite the many tourists. I headed into the inner part of the nunnery, which was even more peaceful than the outer part. I enjoyed walking around in there, before heading back to the outer courtyard. I spent some time looking at the ponds which contained newly bloomed lotus flowers, very pretty.

Next to the nunnery, there was a small park, Hammer Hill Park, so I took a walk through there. To be honest, it wasn't very exciting but it was worth a quick stroll through. From there I headed back across the road to Nan Lian Garden. The nunnery and the garden are connected by a bridge over the road, but I was feeling too lazy to tackle the stairs so opted for the more boring street crossing. I wandered into the garden and didn't really know which way to go. I decided to head left, as I knew there were exits on the right side that would lead me back to the subway station. Pretty much as soon as I had turned left, there was a doorway leading to a small courtyard. I went in there and saw lots of Bonsai trees in tubs. There was also a building behind thrm, which I entered. The building was filled with lots of old stones, I'm not sure if their significance but I did think that the tourist that were using them for seating probably shouldn't be. There were also lots of quotes written in traditional Chinese calligraphy, withb one quite attached to each set of stones. The quotes were beautifully translated, too. I headed back outside and over to the fake waterfall, which housed a restaurant beneath it. It must be cool to be in the restaurant and look out at the park, which is being obscured by the filing water. The park's Japanese theme continued as I wandered around. The building in the centre were all replicas of ones, I had seen in Japan. I took some time out and say reading my book and watching the world go by. The park was pretty busy and it seemed to me like there was a mix of tourists and locals. It was a beautiful day, the sun was a gorgeous shade of blue. There was not a bit of pollution in sight, I felt like I'd left it behind in the mainland. I wandered around the rest of the park. There was a group of Buddhist nuns there. I was surprised to see so of them carrying fancy mobiles or DSLR cameras to take pictures in the park. Before exiting they park, I came across another smallish building, this one contained small wooden replicas of the Chi Lon Nunnery and other temples in the mainland. It was quite interesting describing the construction of these temples.

Since I had only had a small snack for lunch, I was totally starving by this point. Since the subway station was located underneath a large shopping mall, I headed there to look for something to eat. I had been daydreaming about sushi and hoped I would find a place there. The mall's directory boards were no help, so I just wandered up a few floors looking for something that looked good. As I was walking around I spotted a sushi place, it was a Genki sushi, my wish had come true. I got a ticket from the machine and waited to be seated. Luckily, it was still early, so the restaurant wasn't too busy. I was quickly shown to my seat and left to abuse the touchscreen menu. I ordered a tonne of food, which was all delivered to my place by the little trains that speed up and down. I was a bit gutted that this place didn't have any sushi going around on the conveyor belt, I love watching it go past and choosing what I should have to eat. The food was cheap, I was surprised when I went to pay my bill that it wasn't a lot more. I took the train back to where I was staying and rested up in my guesthouse for a bit. I went for a bit of a wander around later. The place I was staying at was on one of the streets off of Nathan Road and enjoyed exploring this section. I was happy to see that there were plenty of restaurants about, so I wasn't going to go hungry. I also headed down to the waterfront to take in the view. Luckily, I had missed the light show. I saw it years ago when I came to Hong Kong for the first time and really wasn't impressed with it. I had a walk along the front looking at the big buildings across the water. The view is nice, but I feel that the Shanghai skyline looks better at night, sorry Hong Kong! However I do prefer the Hong Kong skyline on the daytime. Later, I chilled back at the guesthouse, while waiting for my friend to arrive.

Additional photos below
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13th July 2018
Chi Lin Nunnery

Chi Lin Nunnery
I've never heard of this nunnery, but it looks like a fabulous little oasis in that hectic city! :)
31st July 2018
Chi Lin Nunnery

Yes, it was a lovely place and a lot less crowded compared to the gardens across the road.

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