Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The biggest Jenga puzzle ever

Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong is built in a style of interlocking pieces. It is set up in what I describe as a Jenga puzzle. Pull one piece out and you destroy the stability of the structure. Located at Diamond Hill MTR, it is one of the very few serene places in Hong Kong. Take Exit C out of Diamond Hill, take a left and it is across the street. You can't really miss it.

Chi Lin Nunnery began construction in 817 AD but was not completed until 1997. It was opened to the public in 2000 and is one of the few temples in HK where it is not over crowded by tourists. I highly recommend this temple for it's beautiful lotus gardens, subtle construction and beautiful landscaping.

Interesting fact, behind Chi Lin are some beautiful rainbow painted apartment complexes. This is rainbow city. Despite it's colorful persona it has one of the highest suicide rates in HK and has suicide nets attached to the building to catch people/objects as they are tossed off the roof. It is an interesting juxtaposition to the beauty and serenity of Chi Lin.

Across the street from Chi Lin is another MUST SEE. The beautiful serenity gardens are wonderfully lanscaped with zen structures, a 10K gold pagoda in the center (really, it's modest for HK), Bonzai trees with Seussian constructs, waterfalls, koi fish and a architectural museum. It is open until 6 and is a great place to get a cup of tea and relax during a busy day! My architect friend Brad was highly discouraged by his last trip to Hong Kong due to the fact he stayed on the island and only saw skyscrapers. Chi Lin and the Serenity Garden are a nice alternative to the coldness of the HK skyline on the Island side. And if you want to skip to touristy feeling of the Big Buddha on Lantau- this is a nice alternative...


  1. Thanks for sharing this! When I read that it "began construction in 817 AD but was not completed until 1997," I couldn't help but wonder what government agency was in charge of contruction. :-) Love to you, Ashley and Mike!

  2. i think the construction was ran by the monastery. they did not complete all the modern safety structures that allowed it to open to the public until 97. IE, stairs, ramps, bathrooms. (not just holes in the ground)