With the arrival of spring and, we hope, with less rain, it is possible to walk around the city. This is the perfect time to spend an afternoon in one of the city’s parks.
Here you have some ideas for the weekend.
- Kowloon Walled City Park
Originally used as a maritime defence station in the 15th century, the semi-lawless space later became a slum of poorly built high-rises and a breeding ground for various kinds of criminal activity. The city was torn down in the late 1980s and reopened as a Jiangnan garden-style park boasting impressive water features and traditional gardens.
- Victoria Peak Garden
Easily missed off of the Morning Trail, the Victoria Peak Garden is small but perfectly formed. The space was previously used as a summer residence for the Governor of Hong Kong but the building has since been demolished to make way for this park full of lush trees, perfectly manicured bushes and, believe it or not, real green grass. Enjoying breathing in the clean air, fresher and less polluted than the traffic-laden streets below, while you rest in one of the European-inspired pavilions and gazebos at this hidden gem – if you can find it.
- Tsing Yi Park
At Tsing Yi Park you’ll notice a touch of Europe. There are pavilions, statues and an amphitheatre, but the jewel of the park is the ornamental lake adorned with a waterfall. Sit by the lake, watch the tortoises swim and listen to the birds hum and sing. The peach blossoms and lotuses are simply too pretty to miss.
- Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park
Take a short trek from Happy Valley to Wong Nai Chung Road and you’ll find yourself in a reservoir-turned-park in the heart of the city. Take a pedalo out for a spin, or some bread crumbs to feed the carp.
- Nan Lian Garden
If you can ignore the camera shutters snapping endlessly around you then this is a wondefully calm and tranquil place. A wander through the rock-lined paths takes you past a spectacular gilded pagoda, Koi pond and watermill as traditional Chinese music plays around you. Be sure to stop by the Song Cha Xie (Pine Teahouse) for a cup of fine Chinese brew.
- West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade
One of the city’s newest parks, the promenade features modern facilities for park-goers to enjoy the stunning Hong Kong Island skyline which provides a breathtaking backdrop to a leisurely walk. A slick timber boardwalk runs along the waterfront next to the cycling track, and although small and slightly tatty, a landscaped area with real grass means only one thing: summer picnics.
- Tsuen Wan Park
Aside from the obligatory playgrounds, elderly fitness stations and gardens, this park has a quirky nautical theme. The children’s cycling area features a giant sandcastle-shaped tunnel and the lookout tower serves as a lighthouse watching over the park. There are flying fish and dolphin sculptures throughout, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch an impromptu karaoke session under the sail-shaped structures.
- Lai Chi Kok Park
This multi-level park offers what most don’t: a seamless mix of sporting facilities and relaxation areas. On the lower level lies a small yet effective Lingnan-style garden with an impressive pond in the centre featuring a waterfall and fountain. Climb the stairs up to flyover level to reach sporting grounds which stretch as far as the eye can see. Here you’ll find tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a skateboard arena and a roller-skating rink.
- Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens
Located within spitting distance of Hong Kong Park, this is the ideal spot for lovers of flora and fauna. A wide array of mammals, birds and reptiles have made their home here, and the space is made all the more impressive by the fact that it’s free, and usually quiet. The orangutans and gibbons are a particular highlight for those interested in monkey business.
- Hong Kong Park
One of the region’s most well-known parks, this 80,000 sqm green space showcases the city’s innovative use of urban space. Mixing elements of the traditional (tai chi garden), environmental (bird aviary and conservatory), artificial (water fountain) and the unexpected (Museum of Tea Ware), the park embodies the very idea of Hong Kong – in all of its bustling beauty and artistry.
- Victoria Park
As the largest park on Hong Kong Island, Victoria Park epitomises the multi-purpose mindset and economic use of space common to Hong Kong. The park’s football fields, when not being used for the city’s annual celebrations, are also one of the main attractions here. A short walk into the park proper reveals a fish pond, jogging track, roller-skating rink, radio-controlled-boat-racing pond, swimming pool and tennis courts, among many other facilities.