On my second day in Hong Kong I really began the sightseeing. I started the day with a quick stop at Choi Hung Estate where they have a very Instagram-famous basketball court. It is famous for its pastel coloured buildings and photogenic palm tree-lined edges. I had researched it in advance so I knew the exact address of the court and how to get there as it is on top of a car park. I did struggle initially as I exited the train station as I had no idea how to get across the busy highway to where it was, but I found it eventually after wandering around looking pretty gormless. I really liked the atmosphere on the basketball court, there were a handful of people dotted about taking photos, some were having full blown photo shoots, others were just taking a couple of standard shots. I set up my gorillapod tripod and took a couple of snaps on self timer. No need to feel self conscious here as everyone looks at each other and gives a small chuckle as we all acknowledge that we are all there to take photos. There were also a lot of school kids on the court playing volleyball or football, so you had to duck from the balls occasionally whilst snapping your photos!
Once finished at Choi Hung I made my way on the MTR Kwun Tong to Diamond Hill, which is the gateway station for Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery, which are just across the road from each other. Nan Lian Gardens is a beautiful classical Chinese garden. I was surprised that admission was free as it is so stunning. It was a beautifully sunny day as I was walking around and I felt so peaceful. They have quiet, relaxation music playing everywhere and it reminds me of when you have a massage or those people who like to play zen music to help them fall asleep! Throughout Nan Lian there were various shrines and pagodas sitting by large Koi lakes and little waterfalls. Around every corner there was something else to admire it truly was beautiful. They also had little museum exhibits here and there, some for different type of rock, timber and potted Bonsai plants.
After Nan Lian you can literally walk right across the road and up a little bit and there is Chi Lin Nunnery. This is a pretty large Buddhist temple complex where a lot of people come to pray. The complex originally dates from the 1930s, but it was rebuilt in the 90s following traditional Tung Dynasty architecture, meaning it was constructed by using cypress wood alone, swithout a single nail. This currently makes it the world’s largest hand made wooden building! Everybody is forbidden to take any photos of the actual shrines inside the temples, as they are obviously considered sacred. Although I did see a couple of people being told off for trying to sneak one! The complex was gorgeous, very ornate and oriental. They had little lotus ponds with koi in them everywhere with water features that attracted lots of dragonflies. I tried to sit down on the steps to take it all in but was told off for doing that! They take their Buddhist temples very seriously and I can respect that!
After my jaunt around the gardens and nunnery I began feeling that twang of hunger (that I usually feel every minute of the day but hey ho). So I hopped back on the train to the station nearest my hostel and walked to a restaurant that is famous for it’s very cute dim sum – Yum Cha. Table for one please! When I arrived it was way posher than I was expecting, it was actually inside a hotel, so I was thinking oh god they’re not going to let me in without a reservation and looking like a backpacking scruff ball. But I breezed in no problem and got myself a table. They do a little lunch time deal that is supposed to be for two people, but I asked if I could have a smaller version for just me, to which the waiter replied yes… but when it arrived I realised he thought I just wanted the whole thing for myself as he gave me a full size of everything. It wasn’t too expensive so I didn’t mind! Dim sum, if you don’t know, is basically the Chinese version of tapas. It is a lot of small dishes which the Chinese (or Hong Kongese in this case!) usually have with tea. Kind of like their version of an afternoon tea! My dim sum consisted of lots of little buns with different fillings in, some honey chicken wings, eggplant and noodles. The dim sum were very cute, some of them I liked more than others! The shrimp one for example (the pink bun) I had a little smell of then put it straight down, no thank you (fish hater here!). The honey chicken wings however, oh. my. gosh. Probably the best things I have ever tasted. It was that kind of crispy/crunchy chinese chicken but with a sticky, honey sauce. Nomnomnom, I will dream of those forever. All in all I think it only cost me about £25, which I would say is a fair price for a fancy restaurant!
After my yummy lunch I was pretty knackered, so I wandered back to my hostel for a little relaxation time in my bunk. After a while of doing nothing I realised it would be dark soon, and I wanted to go and see Kowloon Park and the flamingos they have in the aviary there. So I dragged myself away from my bed and walked round the corner to Kowloon Park. I wandered around following the signs to the aviary, and passed a few cute fountains and pretty parkland along the way. They also had a tiny little McDonalds kiosk there that sells ice creams and drinks etc! I thought that was really cool and unusual. The flamingos were awesome, as flamingos always are. It’s so random to see them in the middle of a park in built-up Hong Kong, but it makes for very pretty viewing and a stark contrast – urban jungle!
So that was the end of my second day in Hong Kong! My feet still haven’t recovered from all of the walking, and probably never will seeing as I keep adding to it every day! On to the next sights!