I love walking around the eclectic streets of Hong Kong. Some parts are as commercial and packed with people as you’d imagine. To my surprise, others are empty. I like peering into all the shops, restaurants and cafes along the way. But my favorite thing is stumbling upon amazing Hong Kong trees. Like this:
Or this one:
Hong Kong Trees in Urban Parks
Speaking of finding nature, you don’t need to walk too long before entering a park. One of the first days this happened to us, we walked right into the zoo by accident. As we wander around Central and Kowloon—very dense areas of the city—I am surprised to see so many parks. I even started keeping track. Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens is on my list. So are Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong, Kowloon and Victoria Parks. I’ve only mentioned the big ones. My list doesn’t include the parks we had to make some effort to get to, like Victoria Peak. Gardens associated with temples, like the Chi Lin Nunnery, are also missing. I’ve covered bonafide hiking trails in Hong Kong as a separate post. And yes, everything I’ve mentioned here is free to visit.
The Quintessential Hong Kong Tree
I’ve learned there are close to 500 Hong Kong trees registered as “old and valuable.” About 50% of them are Chinese banyan trees. But a small percentage are another species of Ficus: the Indian rubber tree. While not native, they are captivating with their many once-hanging roots providing support.
According to one local we talked to, residents feel there are not enough parks in the city. But for me, as our explorations lead us into yet another park full of eye-catching trees, I’m left wondering. Why am I surrounded by more green space in Hong Kong than in the urban core of Seattle, a city with half the population density?