My next day off came around quite fast; time flies when you’re having fun, plus, finally worked a 6 day week 🙂 The weather has become decidedly misty and cloudy so my plan of catching the tram up to the Peak, once again had to be put to one side. Hong Kong Park it shall be.
I had made a plan to meet Jasmine for dinner in the evening and she suggested that I try out the trams. As she said, even though she’s a local, she still loves riding the tram. It’s very traditional and a great way of seeing Hong Kong. You can stay on until the end of the line which apparently takes about 2 hours and a couple of dollars. Hong Kong park is in Central, so, after an older man pointed me in the right direction of the tram terminal, I jumped on one heading to Happy Valley.
Apparently nicknamed “ding dings” by locals, they’ve been working on the island since 1904. Jasmine’s instructions were go to the top and enjoy the ride. It’s a great way to get to grips with Hong Kong, similar to travelling around London on the buses. Rather than popping out, every now and then, like a rabbit from its hole, you get to see how close everything is; I thoroughly recommend it.
After about half and hour of weaving through the next few towns, we got to parts that I started to recognise. I jumped off by the Bank of China Tower and started walking uphill, following signs to Hong Kong Park.
The 8 hectares house a fountain plaza, conservatory, waterfall, playground, tai chi garden and viewing tower and is surrounded by mountains and skyscrapers.
I headed in, past the Edward Youde Aviary (which made me think of Jurassic Park 3). I was aiming for Flagstaff House, Museum of Tea Ware for some appreciation of tea and teapots.
It was a shame that it was such a foggy day as I’m sure the view would’ve been spectacular.
I then headed off to Flagstaff House, bypassing the artificial lake, which had carp and terrapins lazily swimming around.
The House was built in 1846 and was originally the home to the commander of the British forces. It’s also the oldest colonial building in Hong Kong, still standing in it’s original spot. Now it’s a museum, housing a collection of antique Chinese tea ware. Unfortunately, when I got there, it was under a mass renovation. Parts of the building were boarded away from view and only the top floor was open. Undeterred I climbed the steps and admired all the different styles of teapot through the ages. Tea has an extremely close relationship to Chinese culture and is an important part of Chinese tradition. According to legend the original idea is credited to Emporer Shennong, who is said to have lived 5000 years ago. The story goes that one sunny day, he and his court stopped to rest, whilst visiting a distant part of his realm. The servants began to boil the water and dried leaves from a nearby bush fell into the boiling water. The Emporer was a scientist and interested in the new liquid. He drank some and found it refreshing. And so, tea was created. I had read that there is usually a bit of tea tasting going on, but unfortunately, this wasn’t on either.
I wandered back, after my (bad choice) of lunch through the aviary. It’s 3,000 square-metre and has within it a collection of 600 birds and 90 species. It was opened to the public in 1992 and is the largest in Southeast Asia. Edward Youde was the Governor of Hong Kong in the 1980’s.
It’s a bit like a rainforest that has been planted in the city. Inside is a wooden bridge that’s suspended above the ground and so on eye level with the branches.
Lots of brightly coloured birds fly around with staff aiming a hose pipe at the leaves to give the impression of a rainforest. Have you ever seen Jurassic Park 3 (I think it’s that one), with the massive aviary that housed the pterodactyls? That’s what came to my mind as I weaved my way through.
Hong Kong Park was explored enough, I decided it was time to head towards Wan Chai…..