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Hutchison Park
Photograph: Courtesy cc/wikicommons/Wpcpey

Hidden gardens and green spaces in Hong Kong

Escape the urban jungle and go for a breather at these green spots

Jenny Leung
Fontaine Cheng
Written by
Jenny Leung
&
Fontaine Cheng
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It's no secret that Hongkongers love exploring the city's countryside – be it a hiking trail or an outlying island – but we're also blessed with plenty of verdant spaces hidden within the metropolis. From extensive lawns by the waterfront to secret gardens tucked away in commercial districts, keep reading to discover these green spaces where you can get away for a quick bit of mother nature.

RECOMMENDED: Need a breather but also looking for a bite to eat? Do both and head to Hong Kong's best restaurants with hidden terraces.

The best urban green spaces in Hong Kong

  • Attractions
  • Tuen Mun

A serene oasis located in Tuen Mun, this Taoist temple is surrounded by bonsai trees, an intricate rock garden, pagodas, pavilions, as well as fish ponds, making it one of the most peaceful spots in town. The temple houses many of its former community members' remains, but one of the highlight features of Ching Chung Koon is the lanterns gifted by Beijing’s Forbidden City. Don’t miss the popular annual bonsai festival, which is usually held during April or May, to view spectacular and artistically shaped trees.  

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Causeway Bay

Located along Fortress Hill's harbourfront sits the East Coast Park Precinct, which officially opened to the public on September 25, 2021. One main feature of the park is its 100-metre-long breakwater, which is the first in Hong Kong to open to the public within Victoria Harbour. Visitors can enjoy the sea breeze on the benches along the breakwater and enjoy a panoramic view of the harbour by the Central-Wanchai Bypass East Vent Shaft. Aside from a slammin' view, the park also boasts various outdoor installations, a lawn area, shelters, slides and a balance bike track for the little ones. The park is open to the public 24/7, including pet owners and their fur kids on leashes.

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  • Things to do
  • Hung Hom

Hung Hom is a quiet neighbourhood with numerous hidden gems to be discovered, including Hutchison Park, a Chinese-style garden complete with pavilions, a small lake, children’s playground, and rest areas. The park is basically wrapped within a shield of greenery, making it the perfect spot for some much-needed peace and quiet.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Cheung Sha Wan

Nestled amongst the leafy hillside of Lai Chi Kok, the Jao Tsung-I Academy is a tranquil historic compound built in honour of professor Jao Tsung-I, a renowned scholar of Chinese culture. The academy was one of the first revitalisation projects that the government took on, turning what was formerly a customs station in the late 19th century, an accommodation for Chinese labourers in early 20th century, and eventually a psychiatric rehabilitation centre, into the museum and heritage lodge it is today. 

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  • Attractions
  • Kowloon City

A nod to Kai Tak Airport, the sky garden is designed with various aviation elements that resemble an aircraft’s body and wings. The sky deck is composed of three elevated plazas – the Garden Plaza, Lawn Plaza, and Fountain Plaza – filled with diverse species of trees and plants. Visitors can enjoy the sweeping views of Victoria Harbour from any of the garden's three viewing porches, or go around the garden and walk along the Ground Plaza located at the southern part of the sky garden, which features a water play area, an amphitheatre, a multifunction lawn and auditorium that may be utilised for leisure and recreational activities. Click here to find out more about the space.

  • Attractions
  • Kowloon City

Once the most densely populated place in Hong Kong, the Kowloon Walled City was a labyrinth of illegally-constructed buildings and a breeding ground for various criminal activities. Hence its nickname, the 'City of Darkness'. The city was eventually torn down in the 1900s and reopened as a Jiangnan garden-style park boasting impressive water features and traditional gardens, with remnants of its dark and exciting history preserved inside the park.

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  • Things to do
  • Wan Chai

With many enjoying Lee Tung Avenue for shopping and dining purposes, the thought of a hidden area of green garden bliss doesn't really cross the mind. However, for those of us looking for a temporary respite from the city, you'll be pleased to know that a hidden rooftop garden sits just above on the podium of level five. The entrance is right next to the Vivienne Tam store, where there is a lift to take you up. The garden is fairly spacious, quiet and quaint, but lovely all the same. Plus pets are allowed up too!

  • Things to do
  • Wong Tai Sin

Though not quite what you would call 'hidden', this famous Hong kong attraction looks like an illustration taken from the page of a Tang Dynasty artwork. Wander around through calm waters and rocks as you head towards the unmissable red Zi Wu Bridge and stunning gold Pavilion of Absolute Perfection. Just a short walk away from the garden sits the famous Chi Lin Nunnery and vegetarian restaurants worthy of a visit. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

Spanning 2,000 sq ft, the Nature Discovery Park is a hidden green haven perched on the 8th floor of the brand new cultural retail shopping centre K11 Musea. Home to a rare and tropical range of biodiversity, as well as an aquarium, the park even has guided tours that allow visitors to immerse themselves in art and nature. Giving everyone a chance to experience nature first hand in workshops such as Urban Farming Experience, ‘Farm-to-Face’ beauty product making, mindful meditation, and a certificate course in German floral design, the natural discovery park makes for a perfect green getaway for all city dwellers.

  • Things to do
  • Sha Tin

Located inside the Sha Tin Racecourse and managed by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, this beautiful green park is open to the public on non-race days. Penfold Park covers more than 20 acres and features luscious green lawns and man-made lakes that have become home to many of our city’s wild migratory waterbirds such as egrets. Your pets can freely roam around, paddle around the lakes and race other dogs in the area – you know, like the horses. 

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  • Things to do
  • Sha Tin

While Sha Tin Park isn't exactly hidden, its massive eight-hectare space means that you'll always be able to find a spot away from the crowds. There are more than 400 species of native and exotic plants, creating a tropical oasis for those looking to find some peace from the modern world. You can take a gentle stroll along Shing Mun River, but it can get quite busy during the weekends. For somewhere tranquil, head to the North Gate or Western Hills inside the park where you'll be greeted by beautiful ponds, traditional Chinese-style garden pavilions, a mini waterfall, and plenty of greenery.

  • Things to do
  • Taikoo Shing

Just a stone’s throw away from the Instagram-famous Monster Building is this serene little park. The public park is dotted with sculptures, benches, and water features, making it a haven to escape Quarry Bay’s busy main streets. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot during your lunch break or a cure for office cabin fever, Taikoo Park is your answer. 

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