At first sight, Hong Kong may seem like just one big concrete jungle, but it does have its fair share of green and serene spots like this beautiful Tang Dynasty-style garden in Diamond Hill. Nan Lian is a tranquil landscaped garden, a sanctuary for silence with bonsai trees, a lily pond and a golden pavilion with a sprawling mountain range as an equally picturesque backdrop. The Chi Lin Nunnery, a Buddhist retreat, is also located in the grounds for a relaxing bonus.
Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Rd, Diamond Hill, Hong Kong, +852 3658 9366
People tend to think that Cyberport has little to offer, but if you’re looking for peace and quiet then it ticks all the boxes. Tucked away in the Southern District of Hong Kong Island, it benefits from not having a metro station nearby, and so it avoids getting overcrowded. Cyberport Waterfront Park offers one of the largest green areas open to the public and is generally quite peaceful during weekdays. Avoid coming on weekends, when it’s full of kids and family activities. The adjacent Cyberport Arcade offers Delaney’s restaurant, which has a nice outdoor terrace where you can sit and have a drink and a bite to eat when the weather isn’t too hot.
It’s a bit of trek to get to Tap Mun, which is accessible only by a kaito (a small motorised ferry), but you’ll find few places in Hong Kong as verdant and serene as this charming island. Tap Mun is only inhabited by around 100 people and generally free of crowds. The island is home to a small fishing village, a Tin Hau temple, and a breathtaking landscape. In fact, you’re likely to bump into more grazing cows than people.
This 500,000-sq.-ft. Chinese Buddhist monastery is located within the peaceful grounds of Tung Tsz in Tai Po. Visiting here certainly feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and you are struck by a sense of calmness inspired by the beautiful surroundings. It’s home to the second tallest bronze statue of the goddess Guanyin in the world, and its zen vibes and tranquillity are helped by the fact that visitors need to book to visit in advance, making it less crowded.
Tsz Shan Monastery, 88 Universal Gate Rd, Tai Po, Hong Kong, +852 2123 8666
This unassuming park in the centre of Kowloon City offers a tranquil escape in an area steeped in history. Originally a military fort and then a den of crime and iniquity until it was transformed into a beautiful public park in 1997. It is easy to spend hours here exploring the pathways, numerous gardens, architecture and remaining artefacts from the area’s colourful history.
This beautiful Chinese garden is just a short 15-minute walk from the Peak Tram stop. However, it’s often overlooked by the crowds of tourists, leaving it generally quite peaceful during the week. The lush gardens are well manicured and offer some stunning views over the city. You can always find a quiet spot here to enjoy the fresh air, stunning vistas and general sense of calm in what feels like another world.
This oasis of calm in the city centre offers a rare chance to enjoy a peaceful stroll amid the surrounding skyscrapers. The park features an aviary, with more than 80 species of birds in a well-designed tropical ‘rainforest’. At the centre of the park lies a waterfall and a lake that is home to a family of turtles. Generally, a great place to come for a spot of calm.
Hong Kong Park, 19 Cotton Tree Dr, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2521 5041
Like any shopping mall in Hong Kong, Pacific Place is no stranger to crowds. However, venture upstairs to the fourth floor, and you’ll find a pleasant little garden area and terrace. This less frequented area offers quiet little pockets where you can sit and grab a drink from nearby The Petit Café or the equally pleasant terrace adjoined to The Continental restaurant. Either way, it’s a lesser known little green area to enjoy a respite from the bustling crowds of the shopping mall beneath you.
4th Floor, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2844 8988
As beaches go in Hong Kong, this has to be a strong contender for the most beautiful. Better still, it’s far less busy than popular beaches like Repulse Bay, Shek O and Clear Water Bay. A great place to come to escape the crowds and enjoy its silky white sand and clear water – it’s even drawn comparisons to beaches in the Philippines and Maldives. It’s in quite a remote location, and you will need to hike in from the East Dam or take a speedboat from Sai Kung Pier for 150 HKD (US$19).
The hectic Tsim Tsa Tsui is one of Kowloon’s busiest shopping areas, and so this nearby park is a Godsend for those looking for the perfect escape. Generally, a great spot to find some peace and calm in the heart of the city. Here you can decompress and avoid the crowds amid a Chinese-style garden with a two-tier lotus pond, which is also home to a number of turtles. There are also kung fu and lion dance performances held every Sunday.