Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist nunnery built in the Tang dynasty architecture style, consisting of gardens and temples. Construction of the complex started in mid-1990s and opened to the public for visit in year 2000.The nunnery has little heritage value in terms of history, but the complex is grand and elegant, worth a visit.The temples of the complex are open until 4:30pm. So make sure that you get there early enough.
Next door, Nan Lian Garden is a public park designed and managed by Chi Lin Nunnery. It is also in the ancient gardening style of Tang dynasty. The park is beautifully landscaped with trees, timber structures and rocks of special shapes and formation. Such a beautiful park, however, has aroused public anger because of the despotic management style – you are not allowed to eat, even snack, in the park, for example. I personally saw a foreigner being stopped from eating nuts from a small box by a security guard on the day I visited the park. Here, you are constantly under the watchful eyes of guards.
There is a sign at the entrance to the tea house, saying that if you are not a patron, you shouldn’t enter the area. It is not a welcoming park.
I have to recommend the vegetarian restaurant inside though. A very nice place to sit in with decent vegetarian dim sum and food.
To be consistent with its “despotic” management style, no photography is allowed in the restaurant and there is minimum charge of HK$80 for lunch and HK$40 for afternoon tea. Shouldn’t a Buddhist related place have more compassion?
Exit C2 of Diamond Hill MTR station.