A Walk in Kowloon Park, Hong Kong, China
9th of November 2014
Wandering around Kowloon Park. Army barracks, flamingos, swordplay, picnic spots and pigs which squeeze out human-shaped poo.
- Location: Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, China
- Start or End: Many public transport options. I started near the Star Ferry Pier at Tsim Sha Tsui and finished at the Tsim Sha Tsui Train Station.
- Length: 2.2km (1.4mi)
- Grade: Easy. A walk in the park.
Rehydrated, legs rested and sunscreen applied. It's time to leave the stunning city and harbour views of the Kowloon Public Pier at Tsim Sha Tsui and head north along Canton Road to my next destination, Kowloon Park.
If you are in the mood for some high-end fashion and have plenty of coin to drop, Canton Road is the place for you. All the big names line Canton Road: Rolex; Cartier; Louis Vuitton; Versace; Gucci; Prada and the list just continues. If you want a brand name item you will find it here on Canton Road. Also along Canton Road are annoying suit selling touts. Even though I showed no interest in their cheap prices they continued to spruik even when I was long past them. I am certain the touts are not locals, but cheap tailors from other areas of Hong Kong trying to steal business from the big names.
I didn't walk up Canton Road to do any shopping. I didn't even realise it was a high-end shopping strip. I only came this way to make my way to Kowloon Park. Don't the touts realise that a tourist in shorts, t-shirt, cap, joggers, backpack and a DLSR camera in hand isn't in a shopping mood? I actually felt a little self-conscious at first walking along Canton Road. I really don't fit in with all this style. But when I saw other tourist in the same touristy clothing I didn't feel so bad.
One of the more decadent shopping venues is Heritage 1881. I dare not step in as it looks way too fancy for me. But the building is absolutely beautiful.
Heritage 1881 has a rich past. As the name suggests it was built in the early 1880's, but back then it wasn't a ritzy shopping district with a luxury hotel. The building was originally the Marine Police Headquarters. In other words, pirates and smugglers captured off Hong Kong were formally incarcerated in this building. The clientele has certainly changed (or has it?).
Leaving Canton Road without purchasing a single $50k watch I walk east along Haiphong Road to the southern entrance of Kowloon Park. There are plenty of paths to traverse in Kowloon Park, but I don't want to spend all day here, so I just randomly walk paths and follow signs which look to be the most interesting. To be perfectly honest there isn't any particular reason I came to Kowloon Park. Just thought it would be good to enjoy some of the greenspace imprisoned by the hustle and bustle of Kowloon.
The first place of interest I come across is the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre which delves into the history and culture of the city through a number of galleries and a library. It is free to enter but I didn't bother. I did learn however that the buildings which house the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre were formally blocks of the old Whitfield Barracks built around 1910. In fact, the entirety of Kowloon Park was formally British Army land that wasn't opened up until after 1967 when it was released to the Hong Kong Government. It is good to see that the land was used as a public green space.
My feet then lead me to the Water Garden and Bird Lake where a flock of Flamingos call home.
From Bird Lake it is up the hill to the aviary. The aviary is ok, but I think the brilliance of the Edward Youde Walk-through-Aviary which I experienced yesterday in Hong Kong Park has ruined me. I don't think I will ever look at another aviary the same. If I can't walk through the aviary I'm not interested. I did spot something interesting from the aviary on the hill though ... swordplay.
Yep that's right. That is a picture of a group of people swing around swords in a public space. I'll tell you something, if a group of people were swing swords around in an Australian park the police would be called. Not in Kowloon Park.
Where the swordplay is occurring looks nice. I think that's the Chinese Garden. Should I venture into an area where people are armed? What I find is a tranquil garden surrounding a pond. It is in the pond I find these little fellas sunning themselves.
There are plenty of undercover areas in the Chinese Garden which look perfect for a picnic. It looks like people are getting in early to claim their spots. The pavilion within the Chinese Garden pond is already taken.
From the tranquillity of swordplay, picnics and Tai Chi in the Chinese Garden I step out into the more popular (especially with kids) Hong Kong Avenue of Comic Stars. Wait a second ... there is another Avenue in Hong Kong dedicated to mainstream entertainment? This morning I visited the Avenue of Stars on the Tsim Sha Shui waterfront, which is dedicated to cinema stars such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Now I am on another Avenue, this time dedicated to comic strip characters. I have absolutely no idea who any of these characters are (before reading the information boards that is) but the following comic statues appear to be the most popular.
McDull is a male pig character popular amongst both Hong Kong adults are children. I did a bit of Wikipedia research and found that there is one McDull episode where McDull squeezes out a human-shaped poo called Excrema. Excrema, with its toilet paper scarf, then takes McDull to dung-world. Okay then ... that’s a little weird. Then again Mr Hanky from South Park is also just as weird, but that’s for adults not kids.
Old Master Q seems a little more normal. You can read some of the comic strips on the Old Master Q website. Worth a look.
Wait a second ... that pig called McDull is starting to look familiar. Didn't I see another statue of him at the Avenue of Stars on the Tsim Sha Shui foreshore? That's right! McDull is the character I couldn't get a clear photograph of because kids were climbing all over it. I always feel a bit weird taking a photograph of a tourist attraction when others are taking a picture of their loved ones, especially kids. I get worried people will think I am some sort of loner pervert who lives vicariously through others family happy snaps (I don't by the way). Anyway, the McDull statue on Avenue of the Stars did look cool, but I didn't even know what it was at the time. So why bother taking a picture just because everyone else is? What am I? A sheep?
Ok, that's enough of pigs that squeeze out human-shaped poo. Time to explore more of Kowloon Park. Next on the journey are the roof top gardens which lie above the Park Lane Shopper's Boulevard on Nathan Road. What a perfect spot for a rest.
As I rehydrate and rest my weary legs I contemplate my next metrotrek. Where to next? I have read good reviews about the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden located in Diamond Hill. Diamond Hill is north-east of my current location and easily accessible from Tsim Sha Shui subway station, which is only a few short minutes’ walk away. Ok then, the decision has been made. Time to check out a nunnery and a garden. I will make my way to the subway station and take in some more of Kowloon Park on route, including the Maze Garden.
Oh my God! I think that poor guy is stuck in the Maze Garden. Someone call a rescue helicopter! I wonder how long the poor man has been stuck, wandering aimlessly, unable to crack the labyrinth and return to society. He is already showing signs of delusion. I dare say he has been forced to consume his own urine for survival. His mind and body are no longer one. He is slowly moving his arms and legs in a slow, odd manner. In his mind he flying away from the cage that entraps him. Oh ... wait a second ... he is actually practicing Tai Chi. Sorry, my bad. Turn the rescue helicopter back. It was a false alarm.
I leave the Tai Chi man to get himself out of the Maze Garden and head towards the Sculpture Walk.
The sculptures are guarded by an army of undead sword wielding warriors. They will not let me enter. I must walk around or feel their wrath. In all seriousness though, what is the deal with all the swordplay? It's definitely a popular pastime around these parts. Both for young and old, man or woman.
Kowloon Park was definitely worth the visit. It was good to get out of the hustle and bustle and witness how some of the Kowloon locals spend their leisure time. Now it is off to the Tsim Sha Shui subway station, conveniently located next to the Sculpture Walk, and to the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden.
Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Have you taken this walk? Any suggestions or errors? Please comment below.