The second part of my weekend was spent with Paul doing a little bit of exploring. We took the MTR to Diamond Hill and visited Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery.. I now like to call in chillin’ nunnery, because it was very quiet and very relaxing as you’d expect a Buddhist nunnery to be.
Nan Lian Garden was beautiful, we would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t for the cackling women that seemed to follow us around. The gardens are designed in Tang Dynasty style (according to Wikipedia) which is basically hills -which all had names- beautifully groomed trees, rocks and water features.
Walking around in the sun was lovely and relaxing, there was lots of little museums in the gardens for things like rocks (I guess they were special rocks) a really interesting museum about Chinese woodwork, there was intricate models of actual buildings built to scale. Some of the building would have been absolutely massive – unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed, as was touching, which didn’t stop one man from grabbing a section of a display and firmly shaking it. I almost had a heart attack expecting it all to fall down, however the ancient Chinese construction techniques were very strong and the structure held up well!
Heading towards the nunnery we passed through the Lotus pond garden, I attempted a panoramic shot because it was gorgeous, however the other tourists had other things on their mind and just walked straight through – resulting in clones, clones everywhere!
The ponds were lovely however there was no fish in them! I was expecting giant Koi, but no, they were just full of stones. Every couple of minutes the water features on the sides of the ponds just stopped spewing water out, we had no idea why bit it was a lot like the scene in Austin Powers…
We carried on into the nunnery which was so peaceful and beautiful, there was huge statues of Buddha and other bodhisattvas, again photography wasn’t allowed and unlike certain tourists I adhered to the rules. They were amazing though, huge golden statues on thrones with fruit offerings. There was the sound of chanting and apart from that it was silent. There was Buddhists praying and giving donations whilst we watched (I’m not sure if it’s rude to stare at somebody whilst they are praying but it was interesting to watch). There was a few nuns walking around, heads shaved wearing basic loose pants and wrap around tunic/coat things, they were tending to the temples.
You can get to the park and nunnery by taking exit C2 from Diamond Hill MTR – I recommend it for a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon, there’s a ton of restaurants opposite in Hollywood plaza as well, make a day of it like we did.