After seeing Pheeb’s photos of adorable baby orangutans and orange flamingoes, Ry and I popped over to the gardens in Central on our next day off.
Be prepared for an uphill walk though, as it’s based on the Northern slope of Victoria Peak.
Built in the Victorian Era, this is one of the oldest zoological and botanical centres in the world!
We took the Southern entrance to the gardens, greeted by a memorial arch dedicated to the Chinese who died assisting the Allies during the two World Wars.
There are over 1,000 species of plants in the gardens, mostly indigenous to tropical and sub-tropical regions.
The flowers around the park are gorgeous!
We were also pretty impressed with the view of all the beautiful flowers, fountains and high rises…although it was a tad foggy!
Apart from the plants, there are about 300 birds, 70 mammals and 20 reptiles housed in 40 enclosures.
Due to the small size of the Garden, there are no large mammal species such as giraffes or elephants.
However there is a varied collection of primates.
We saw this little fella munching on his bread as we began our trip around the garden and he was in the exact same position with his bread an hour later by the time that we’d made our way back round!
Not wanting to belittle the conservation efforts, we couldn’t help but notice the hypocrisy of a luscious tropic garden with a restrictive cage imposed on these guys. (That was Ry’s debut sentence on the blog!)
It was heartbreaking to see these gibbons reach from their cage toward a tattered branch.
Other primates included the Golden Lion Tamarin, Ring-Tailed Lemur and Black and White Ruffed Lemur, among many others.
We enjoyed the greenery that the garden offered…
…with high rises peeking through!
Our final primate visit was to the orangutan, the most solitary of the great apes (apart from brief periods when mating and when females are raising infants).
Another interesting fact that we found was that the name “orangutan” derives from the Malay and Indonesian words ‘orang’ meaning “person” and ‘huta’n meaning “forest” i.e. “person of the forest.”
Orang Hutan was originally not used to refer to apes, but to forest-dwelling humans!
Unfortunately the reptile house was just closing as we approached, but if you’re interested in visiting; it houses snakes, turtles, a Chinese Alligator and a Burmese python!
We moved onto the aviary, which housed birds including the Red-Crowned Crane, Peacock Pheasant and American Flamingos. As the cages had very narrow meshing, it was difficult to take any decent photos.
However we did manage to get a few shots of the orange flamingos!
Finally, we checked out the Bamboo Garden, with around 20 species from 7 genera of Bamboo family.
I also made some new friends 😉
So that brings us to the end of the Garden!
Personally, I’d say that if you’re in HK for a short period of time, I wouldn’t recommend it as there’s so much more to see and do here. However if you’ve just been to The Peak and fancy a spot of nature after all those high-rises, the garden’s worth a visit as it’s only up the road. Moreover, it would also be a great half-day-trip for those interested in learning about tropical flora and fauna!
Best part is that admission is FREE – find out opening times and access here 🙂
Walking back down to the MTR station, we passed the Hong Kong Park and decided to check it out since we were in the area.
The park has a lake, fountains, waterfall, large walk-through aviary (which was closed upon our arrival – we really need to start leaving the house earlier!), greenhouse, tai chi garden, SARS memorial garden, “Olympic Square” amphitheatre, childrens playground, restaurant and snack kiosks. It also houses the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre (which we would not recommend as it felt like an unimpressive GCSE collection).
The tai chi garden was my favourite 😉
We also went up the viewing tower, feeling quite dizzy by the time that we reached the top!
Despite the fogginess, the views were still pretty cool!
So there we have it, 2 parks/gardens for the price of one – we’re just too good to you! 😉