One of the highlights of my recent trip to Hong Kong was the afternoon I spent at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. Located outside the city in the New Territories area, the peace and quiet of this beautiful setting was a wonderful change from the hustle and noise of the metropolis.

For anyone who might want to visit, you’ll need to take the light blue MTR line to Tai Po Market. (I was staying at Fo Tan, so it was pretty convenient.) From the Tai Po Market station, take exit 1A and go to the bus area (don’t worry, it’s clearly marked). Take bus 64K to Kadoorie Farm. 
The bus I was on did not announce the different stops, so you have to pay close attention, but it will be about a half-hour ride. This is how Kadoorie Farm looks from across the street. (It will be on your left as you drive up.) There is a sign, but it’s a little beyond the main building, so you may not see it from the bus.
This is the view from the same spot as above, looking after the bus as it continues on its way. Note the hard-to-read Kadoorie Farm sign just to the left of the bus, by the cyclists. If you’re close enough to read it, you’ve probably already missed the stop!

Kadoorie Farm was well worth it. I only had two hours to spend there, since I had a flight to catch that evening, but I managed to see most of what I would have wanted to anyway.

I spent most of my time walking around the grounds, enjoying the trees and flowers and a small stream. Apparently there was a longer hiking trail up to the top of a nearby slope (with a wonderful view), but I didn’t see it and didn’t have time anyway. If I ever go back, I’d like to do that hike.

I have no idea what this dragon thing was doing on its little platform in the trees!

This mountain boar is among dozens of animals (or maybe a couple hundred?) that call Kadoorie Farm home. Most were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

Hong Kong had just been experiencing a cold spell, so some animals were temporarily lodged in warmer quarters.
Informative (and sometimes interactive) displays accompanied most of the exhibits.
Indoor areas housed special exhibits of small reptiles and amphibians.

Several Chinese water dragons had a pretty comfy life there.
There was also a little building for fish and river-related displays.
Kadoorie Farm places great emphasis on ecology and protecting the environment.

Larger reptiles lived in outdoor enclosures. It was fun seeing some different species hanging out together!

There were several aviaries hosting a variety of birds, like this kite.
In a different enclosure, this cockatoo saw me walking by and came over to say hello (literally).
I could tell this mynah bird had also been somebody’s pet. He was very friendly and wanted my attention!

I really enjoyed the insect display. It was quite educational (and not too creepy!).

I don’t recall actually seeing any butterflies (it may have been too cold for them), but this display board was interesting.
There were several little deer in an enclosure there. They didn’t want to stand still and pose for pictures, though!

I enjoyed the areas where guests could just walk through and see animals in a (sort of) natural habitat, as opposed to behind bars or glass.

They had a scenic pond habitat that housed a number of varieties of small wildlife.

I think the little waterfall was manmade, but it was still pretty!

Some animals at Kadoorie Farm were gifts from other countries.
These flamingoes, for example, were sent over from the Bahamas.

Kadoorie has its own little cafe on the premises.

Everything on the menu is vegetarian and fairly healthy (but tasty)! Prices are reasonable, too.
I heard the red rice with veggies in curry sauce (option B below) was really good. I had eaten a late breakfast and wasn’t hungry enough for a full meal, though.
I ended up ordering the mushroom soup with garlic toast and a cup of hot citron tea. Tasty and satisfying on a chilly day!
All in all, my afternoon at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden was time very well spent. It would make a great school field trip (for any grade) or family outing. Young kids would love it (and I saw plenty of them having a great time there), but as an adult, I loved it too. With admission costing only 30 Hong Kong Dollars (with discounts for kids, the elderly, and groups), it was more than worth it.
Highly recommended for everyone!

I just got back from a 4-day trip to Hong Kong to attend a teachers’ conference. The conference was great, but Hong Kong was even better. It was my first time there, and I had decided I was going to squeeze in all the sightseeing and fun I possibly could in whatever spare time I could scrounge after and between conference sessions. Fortunately, Hong Kong has an efficient subway system, and almost everything is in English as well as Cantonese, so it was easy for me to get around. My favorite thing to see was the waterfront (see the picture above). It was more gorgeous than any picture can show – you just have to be there to see the amazing buildings with their multicolored lights, many of which flash and swirl and change colors like a Christmas light show. Everything I’ve seen in my travels has confirmed that big Asian cities are the best in the world when it comes to making buildings works of art, and I think Hong Kong has most of the rest of them beat hands down.

Speaking of Christmas, it was fun seeing all the decorations in malls, subway stations, and the airport, and hearing soft instrumental Christmas music in public places. Because of Hong Kong’s British heritage, Christmas is celebrated as a big event there – unlike Taiwan, which puts up gaudy singing Christmas trees in some public places but doesn’t do much else to acknowledge the season. Hong Kong had large life-size displays of various kinds all over the place.

Another thing I enjoyed was a brief visit to the Nan Lian Garden (picture at right). It was almost funny to have such a beautiful, tranquil setting located right in the middle of a bustling metropolis. (If you look to the left of the pagoda, you can see skyscrapers trying to hide behind the trees.) I spent an enjoyable hour or so walking around the garden on little paved paths, enjoying the flowers and ponds and trees, before I had to hurry and catch the subway to get back in time for the last session of the conference.

On my own one evening, I decided to visit Hong Kong’s Heritage Museum. It was okay – not nearly as elaborate as most of the museums I’ve been to in Taiwan, but interesting none the less. I especially enjoyed the exhibit on Cantonese opera. (Note the life-size costumed figures on the stage behind me.) Yes, picture-taking was allowed inside the museum – the security guard herself took this picture for me!

One of my last little adventures was to find and ride the world’s longest escalator. At least, the Guiness Book of World Records supposedly calls it that, but it isn’t continuous, so I don’t know if it really counts. But it’s a covered escalator that goes up and up right through the city streets in a hilly part of town. There were some interesting views looking down, though my camera stinks at night shots, so I couldn’t capture most of them. But here you can see one segment of the escalator (at the front right of the picture), and then another segment beginning below it. There was nothing in particular at the top, which was a bit disappointing, but it was fun to ride anyway. But the escalator only goes up, so at the end I had to take the stairs all the way down.

My last dinner in the country was in a wonderful little Chinese restaurant. I have no idea what most of the dishes were called, but every one was delicious, and the style was a little different from the Chinese food we get in Taiwan. The shrimp in the big dish at the front were wonderful, but my favorite was Peking duck. (It was the last item to arrive, so it didn’t make it into this picture.) The waiter cut off little tender bits of meat and sizzling skin, and we wrapped them in things that looked like extra-thin tortillas. Add some slices of cucumber and green onions, and a dab of plum sauce, and it was just heavenly.