Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 26, 2011

A temple, a nunnery and a very orange bridge

I’m in Hong Kong with my lovely friends Anup and Poorna. They have lived here for almost 10 years and know lots of fun things to do. Sunday was overcast and drizzling, but we headed off anyway to Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon. They led, I followed.

The Wong Tai Sim temple was crowded with people out and about on a damp Sunday afternoon. You can buy bundles of incense, light them, put them in trays in front of the temple and perhaps have a wish granted. It was worth a try.


I love the red lanterns hanging overhead. They look so cheerful.

We wandered under colorful arches on the way out.

There were stalls outside the temple selling incense and various other interesting things. There was one selling only tassels. What a good idea, you can never have too many tassels.

It was then back on the train to go one stop further to Nan Lian Garden.
The garden features artificial hillocks, ornamental rocks, water features and some wonderful old trees as well as the Chi Lin Nunnery.
The distinctive timber structures, including pavilions, terraces, a tower, bridges and the Black Lintel Gate were built in the Tang architectural style. Unlike the temple, the gardens were almost deserted and we were able to wander along the serene winding paths alone. The drizzle only added to the atmosphere.

The gardens are beautifully manicured and well cared for.

The garden is completely surrounded by high rise buildings. It must offer a beautiful view from above.

Please find below the promised orange bridge.

I did warn you that it was orange.

The Nunnery is a beautiful wooden building with lovely pools in front.


The pools were full of water lilies.



I love the wooden architecture and the angles on the buildings.

There is a beautiful gift shop, of course. We made our selections and came out to quite heavy rain.

This looks like a bucket, but it is in fact part of a chain which carried water from the roof to the drain, very effective.
To escape the rain we went into the traditional tea house. The Song Cha Xie is a beautiful timber building beside Blue Pond. The tea leaves are processed according to traditional ancient methods under the supervision of the Chi Lin Nunnery. The tea is sipped from tiny cups and is delicious.

Photos were not allowed inside, but Anup and Poorna made their way onto my camera anyway.
By the time we left it was dark. The gardens took on another atmosphere entirely.






The garden is free to enter. I suggest you do just this when you are in Hong Kong.
Go to 60 Fung Tak Rd Diamond Hill, Kowloon.
There are some rules you must abide by when entering the garden. I read them on the back of the brochure. Please note, you must not litter, shout, frolic or run, release birds or aquatic animals or wear special costumes. There are other rules, but this should be enough for now.


  1. Wow, how incredible. Looks amazing. Dang girl you have the most amazing of adventures. I know I say it often, but I reckon if there is even the tiniest amount of room left in your suitcases, you must pack me in them. I want to see all these incredible things for real. Although, I’m grateful your sharing your experiences here on the blog. 🙂

    • Hong Kong is a great place to visit. Having my good friends here makes it even better.

  2. Reminds me of Dixon St Sydney.

  3. Your photos are amazing…I really enjoy your blog, thank you for entertaining us all.

  4. You guys keep making my list longer and longer. My husband went on a music tour to China for five weeks (Hong Kong too), but I have never been. In fact, he bought my engagement ring while in Hong Kong, and when we had it appraised for insurance, he had gotten a fantastic deal on a great diamond. Absolutely stunning pictures.

  5. It’s great to see another side of Hong Kong. Fabulous photos as usual!

  6. Thats looks soooo beautiful! And your friends are lovely!
    See you soon!

  7. Beautiful. I love the orange bridge. And what a lovely couple that wandered into your camera.

  8. Beautiful! Great photos! I love Hong Kong, it is so interesting and surprising.

  9. The garden looks beautiful – I love the water lilies. I hope your wish comes true.

    • The garden was lovely. You never know with wishes.

  10. gorgeous night photos, Deb.

    • Thank you ! I will see you soon in BdL.

  11. I have always been interested by the Far East. the pictures are beautiful.

    • Thank you. Hong Kong is a very interesting place to visit.

  12. Nan Lian Garden looks stunning Deb!! Ironically I’ve never been, it opened fairly recently while I was living abroad. It’s a shame we couldn’t meet this time, I’ve been working on shift for the past two months – including weekends – so that explains the inactivity on my blog. I love how you’re discovering more and more hidden corners of Hong Kong with each stopover; it’s a lot more than your average concrete jungle!

    • You will have to visit soon! I come to Hong Kong fairly regularly so perhaps we will meet one day. I fly out tonight for Helsinki and on to Paris and Italy.

  13. Am an arm chair traveler today. Fantastic photos and post. I hope to visit one day, in real time. 🙂

    • Hong Kong is a fun place to visit. Go in winter!

  14. I love the red lanterns in their different shapes, Deb – they brighten up the dullest day. The Nan Lian Garden look amazing in the different lights. I reckon the trees (in the last picture) inspired Dr Suess when he drew some for his famous books. What a beautiful couple Anup and Poorna are, they look so happy.

    • Anup and Poorna are the main reason I call into Hong Kong.

  15. Have to say; more stunning photos. In particular: the tassles!!, the orange bridge, those fabulous trees by night; Adding the ‘punch’ from day to night was just the icing on the cake! Oh yum!

    • I love tassels, ever since I saw Omar Shariff ride out of the desert on a camel in Lawrence of Arabia many years ago.

  16. What a wonderful post, Deb! Truly. Makes me homesick for SE Asia. We had a red bridge in Hanoi very similar to the orange one you share above. Stunning photos!

    • The orange bridge was quite unexpected. I haven’t seen a lot of orange in oriental design.

  17. Wonderful photographs you captured, the orange bridge is amazing. The colour of orange is so precious and so positive. Thank you, with my love, nia

    • The bridge was beautiful, and the gardens enchanting.

    • The bridge was beautiful, and the gardens enchanting.

  18. Great post! I’d love to go to Hong Kong….

    • Hong Kong is full of great things to do.

  19. An ipad triumph – well done

  20. Your pictures are great, and Hong Kong looks absolutely stunning! We’ve never been, but it’s on our bucket list! Thanks for sharing.

  21. I made it to the Temple, but not the nunnery. Looks wonderful! But if I do get to visit, I’ll make sure not to wear a special costume or release any aquatic animals 🙂

    • Who knows what would happen if you were to do such a thing.

  22. Never been to Hong Kong. I would prefer to go there some day.

  23. So, Debra do you always fly through Hong Kong on your way to Bagni di Lucca? It is very close to us and I have thought that it might be the way for us to go, but the beaches of Thailand might be what we do instead. We can go direct from here, but it is a long day with little kids and just fun to have a short vacation on the way. I was just curious about the Hong Kong route and what makes you go that way? Rene

    • I have good friends in Hong Kong, which makes a stop there very appealing. I find the city very interesting as well. I usually fly Finnair which stops in Hong Kong then Heksinki. In love to stop in Helsinki. From there Finnair connects to most European cities.

  24. […] love to stop over in Hong Kong to visit my friends Anup and Poorna. The view from their living room is amazing. They are high above […]

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