As the weather finally begins to get cooler, we can turn off the air conditioning and venture outside. But if we live in the centre of town, parks can be difficult to find, and some are nothing but concrete surrounded by a few trees. Luckily, amongst the bad parks, there are a few well designed areas that are worth visiting. Here are five of the best parks in Hong Kong:
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
While it has a large indoor sports centre and other sports facilities, the main highlight of this park is its large circular and well-kept lawn. There are very few open grassy places in Hong Kong, so on a sunny day, this is a great spot to lounge on the grass and have a picnic. The park is by the waterfront in Sheung Wan, overlooking Victoria Harbour and Kowloon.
The park was built in memory of Sun Yat-sen, the first president and founding father of the Republic of China. There are several sculptures and monuments honouring Sun Yat-sen, and the design of the park is meant to reflect aspects of his life in Hong Kong. A large statue of Sun Yat-sen stands on a plinth in the centre of the lawn.
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Jordon Valley Park
You might be surprised to learn that Jordon Valley Park sits on top of a former landfill site - but it has been redeveloped, turning the past dump into one of the best parks in the city. Apart from its large central lawn, this park should appeal to flower lovers, as there are several gardens and a greenhouse.
It also has one of the only public spaces in the city where people can race remote-controlled models cars. Even if you don’t have a go yourself, it can be fun watching watch other people racing around.
The park’s location at the top of a hill makes it a nice escape from the dense city below, but this does make it harder to get to than other parks.
Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong Park isn’t known for its vast lawns, but it does boast many free attractions that are scattered between its dense trees, and is a treat for nature lovers.
Be sure to visit the Forsgate Conservatory, which has exotic plants from around the world. There is a huge range of plants, flowers and cacti from both tropical and arid climates on display.
The Edward Youde Aviary is another attraction worth visiting. Once you enter the massive, 30-metre-high dome, you cross an elevated walkway that leads you right through the canopy layer of the trees. Around 70 species of colourful birds from across South-East Asia live in the aviary, which is designed to feel like a rainforest environment.
Located in the middle of Sha Tin Racecourse, this park is massive, and has a good mix of trees, lawns and lakes.
This is one of the few parks in Hong Kong where you are allowed to bring dogs and other pets and let them run freely. You will often see dog walkers and their pooches making the most of the space and fresh air. The park’s lakes and trees are also an important habitat for many wild egrets and other types of birds found in Sha Tin, making it great for bird-watching.
The park’s opening times are limited, and it is closed on days when there is a horse-racing event.
Kowloon Walled City Park
This park rests on the site of the infamous Kowloon Walled City, a lawless settlement that at one time was home to more than 50,000 people. It was demolished in 1993 and the park has taken its place.
It’s a great place to learn more about the walled city and Hong Kong history, as the park is dotted with ruins from the original site. There is also a small museum with displays which show what life was like inside the settlement.
Take some time to explore the park and find these monuments, and make sure to have a look at the miniature model showing what the settlement once looked like from the sky above.
The design of the park is based on a type of garden popular during the early Qing Dynasty, and the Chinese-style pagodas and lakes make the area perfect for relaxing on an autumn afternoon.