Nan Lian Garden & Chi Lin Nunnery

Nan Lian Garden,
heaven right in the middle of a concrete jungle.
Hong Kong is, by far, the most happening city I've visited. It's noisy and constantly bustling. Sometimes, it feels like you can't escape the noise and crowds of people, but in reality, there are some places where you can, like Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery; the nunnery is located inside the garden. It's a gorgeous area, and best of all, it's peaceful. A stroll through the garden only takes about an hour, but you can spend up to two hours there if you stop frequently, which I suggest everyone do because it's worth it.

The area is easy to access. Just take Kwun Tong Line (green) to Diamond Hill Station .  I don't recall which exit to take, but if you look at the exit information, you will see the garden and nunnery on the list. Admission to the garden and nunnery is free, yet there are some restricted sections that are not open to the public.

Chi Lin Nunnery.


Central Mid-levels Escalator

Faye Wong in Chungking Express.
Recently, I went on a short day and a half trip to Hong Kong and Macau with my dad.  We saw as many of the sites as we could, which I'll share in detail later in other posts.

Naturally, we rode the insanely long Mid-levels Escalator, the longest outdoor escalator in the world! Before I went to Hong Kong, I knew I had to visit the Mid-levels escalator.  Why?  Well, the Mid-levels escalator was where part of Chungking Express was filmed, an amusing movie with one of my favorite actresses/singers, Faye Wong.

Going up! Let the ride begin!

The escalator is not a useless tourist destination; it has practical purposes.  Hong Kong is an extremely hilly city, and densely populated.  Needless to say, rush hour can be a nightmare there! So, the escalator was built to facilitate the movement of the rush hour crowd up and down the mountains.  Unfortunately, there were insufficient funds to build a two-way system.  Therefore, from 6am to 10am the escalator goes down, and from 10:30am to midnight it goes up.


Spirited Away to Jiufen

Jinan Temple, one of many temples in the mountain community of Jiufen.
Before I moved to Taiwan, I did research about the famous sights in the country.  When I discovered Jiufen (九份), I immediately fell in love with it and knew I had to go there.  Why?  It served as a major inspiration for one of my favorite Hayao Miyazaki movies, Spirited Away!

Jiufen, like most places in Taiwan, is easy to access.  From Taipei, one only needs to go to MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing station, take exit one, make a u-turn, walk straight and find the stop for bus 1062.  However, if you have an Easy Card, you might not be allowed to use it. A oneway trip to Jiufen costs NT102 (about $3.50), so a round trip is NT204 (about $7).  The ride takes about an hour, and it's fun to see the sights in between, like the small town of Ruifeng.

My first trip to Jiufen was not full of sunshine.  It was gloomy, cold, and rainy, but I think the nasty weather added to the charm - honestly!  It looked like a spooky ghost town in some places, and I felt like I was on a movie set.  But the weather didn't stop the tourists from coming out.  Luckily, we were there on a weekday and thus it wasn't as crowded as it could have been.  There were many Japanese tourists there, and hearing Japanese and walking in the rain reminded me of one of my favorite Japanese songs "Ame no Machi Wo" (The Rainy Town) by Yumi Arai:


The Beautiful Campus of Taida (台大)

The main administrative building.
National Taiwan University, popularly known as Taida (台大), is one of the most beautiful college campuses in Taipei. It was founded in 1928 by the Japanese, and is Taiwan's most prestigious school. On the weekend, it transforms into a park for families and tourists to take a stroll, enjoy a bike ride, or sit down and relax.