Jordan Valley Park – finally, some open grassland in Hong Kong!

I realise that I’ve written a few posts recently about parks, such as the Hong Kong Wetland Park, and Tai Po Waterfront Park, but today’s post is about another park – Jordan Valley Park. I guess you can tell what we do most now that we have two small children!

Jordan Valley Park Hong Kong

First of all, I should point out that Jordan Valley Park is nowhere near Jordan (the area of Kowloon just north of Tsim Sha Tsui)! It’s actually much further east in the Cha Liu Au area (no, I’ve never actually heard of Cha Liu Au either) – just east of Kowloon Bay. One of the easiest ways to get there would probably be to go to Kowloon Bay MTR and take a taxi. We actually took a taxi there from where we live but we got the number 26 KMB bus back, which goes all the way to Tsim Sha Tsui and was pretty convenient. There is a full list of buses and minibuses that go near the park on the Jordan Valley Park website, although it’s just a list of numbers so you’ll need to work out where the buses actually go!

The main draw of this park is that is has that rarest of things (in Hong Kong) – large open areas of grass! This is because it was built on a former landfill site, so I guess that it was unsuitable ground for the large residential towers that permeate Hong Kong. But I for one am very glad – it’s so nice to have some grass to sit on (in my case) or run around on (in Jack and Isobel’s case)!

Jordan Valley Park grass

The picture above is only about half the area of the park, it narrows behind where I was standing but still goes back a fair way.  Some of the grass had been fenced off in an attempt to help the grass to re-grow. I guess that might be one of the reasons why many parks in Hong Kong don’t have grass – it isn’t the best climate for it.

The park itself has been well thought out, with some lovely landscaped areas and jogging tracks running between different areas of grass.

Jordan Valley Park landscaping

Lots of people (and by that I mean almost everyone) bought little pop-up tents to sit in. As the morning went on, the park got busier and the tents increased in number! Many people sat in them to stay out the sun and eat the food they had brought. Jack and Isobel enjoyed investigating several of the tents nearby and were quite often rewarded with the offer of some food!

Jordan Valley Park tents

But the park isn’t just grass. There was a lovely large playground with equipment for a wide age range, as well as the usual fitness equipment for the elderly. I already mentioned the jogging tracks, and there are toilets and a water fountain. There’s also a little maze garden and a horticultural centre.

Jordan Valley Park playground

One unusual feature of the park, which you come to as you enter it, is a large model car race track! The people who were using it obviously take their model cars very seriously and spend a lot of time here!

Jordan Valley Park model car race track

Some of the cars were incredibly fast, and it was fun to watch some of them overtake each other and in some cases knock each other over. Sometimes the car that caused the accident would stop and go back to try and right the car on its side – I think all the cars would have to stop so the owner could right it otherwise, but it was quite nice to see this piece of good sportsmanship! I defy you to walk past it without stopping to watch for a little while :)

Jordan Valley Park Radio-Controlled Model Car Racing Circuit

There was also a smaller track next door, which might be for those who are beginners or whose cars aren’t quite as flashy!

Anyway, if you’re looking for some grass to have a picnic on, or to allow your children to run around on, this is the best stretch of grass I’ve seen in Hong Kong. I realise that it might be a bit difficult to get to from some parts of Hong Kong but we were pleasantly surprised at how quick it was from our home in Hung Hom. Do let me know what you think if you manage to go yourself!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Tai Po Waterfront Park

Tai Po Waterfront Park is a lovely large park in, unsurprisingly, Tai Po in the New Territories area of Hong Kong. As the name suggests, it’s on the waterfront and looks out over the Tolo Harbour to Ma On Shan on the other side.

Getting to the park isn’t quite as easy as I had hoped, mainly because it’s not that close to Tai Po Market MTR station. We decided to take a taxi from the station to the park, but other alternatives include the 20C or 20K minibus which go pretty close by. On the way back we actually walked back to the MTR station, which was a really nice walk alongside cycle tracks and took 20-25 minutes. Alternatively, you could catch the 75X bus from Kowloon City (get off at the terminus, Fu Shin Estate, which is adjacent to the park) or the 72A from Tai Wai (get off at the Yue Kok bus stop and walk down Yuen Shin Road to get to the park).

Once you are in the park, there is lots to explore. Our taxi dropped us off at the entrance by the bowling green on Dai Fat Street. We walked past the bowling greens (via a pit stop at the toilets) and came to a playground. It was a pretty nice, big playground so we let the twins run around there for a while.

Tai Po Waterfront Park playground

Isobel liked this shiny ball in the random minimalist area of the playground intended for older kids.

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This playground was situated in the vicinity of several themed gardens. You can see where the Palm Garden got its name from!

Tai Po Waterfront Park palm garden

Beyond the Palm Garden we found the waterfront. Surprisingly, we couldn’t get right up to the waterfront in the park because the cycle track running from Sha Tin to Tai Mei Tuk goes along the waterfront below. But that doesn’t really matter, as you still get the great views over the Tolo Harbour from the park. We followed this path along the edge of the park, past a lovely open grassy area which was signposted as a kite flying area and came across this lookout tower.

Tai Po Waterfront Park lookout tower

One of the nicest things for us was that the spiral path meant we could push the stroller up to the top! (although Tom might not agree that it was a great thing to do as he was the one pushing the heavy double stroller…)

The view from the top was lovely, even on a grey day like we had. This was the view over the harbour…

Tolo Harbour view from Tai Po Waterfront Park

…and looking back, over the park…

Tai Po Waterfront Park view from lookout tower

You also got a great view of the kites flying above the kite flying area (and indeed, the whole park) from part way up the tower.

Tai Po Waterfront Park kite flying

Moving on from the tower we came across another playground where we stopped to allow the twins to run around (I think we saw 3 or 4 playgrounds in total), and then beyond that some more beautifully manicured gardens (called the Western Garden). Next to this garden was an area filled with Chinese lanterns. Very picturesque!

Tai Po Waterfront Park Chinese lanterns

Finally, we walked back through the centre of the park, past an outdoor theatre and some random elephants made of (fake) flowers.

Tai Po Waterfront Park elephants

We really enjoyed visiting this park and spent a good couple of hours there, although you could spend much longer if you brought a picnic and wanted to chill out on the grass or try all the play areas with kids. The views were beautiful as well, and would be amazing on a clear day.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Hong Kong parks are sociable places

Parks in Hong Kong are quite different to British parks in many ways. First of all, there’s very little in the way of grass here. Whereas British parks tend to be wide expanses of grass with some plants and trees and other things dotted here and there, the parks here are much more landscaped and ornamental, with flower beds and benches everywhere.

But one main difference that has struck me is that they are so well used. I suppose this is partly because of the number of people in such a small area, but I think it’s also down to the culture. People utilise the parks well; old people socialise, people exercise, play with children or just sit and watch the world go by. The following photos are from a park very near me. I hope they illustrate my point!

This park (like most parks) is beautifully landscaped with pagodas and waterfalls, and is kept immaculately clean.

Hong Kong parks - pagodas and waterfalls - Little Koo

There’s a large pond where terrapins and fish can warm themselves in the sun (can you see the terrapins on the rocks?)

Hong Kong parks - terrapins and fish - Little Koo

There’s a well-equipped playground with swings and climbing frames and other equipment.

Hong Kong parks - childrens playground

There are lots of pieces of equipment dotted around the park for the elderly to use to stay fit and healthy – and they’re well used! More often than not when I walk past a piece of equipment there will be someone on it. In the UK, something like that would never get used, but I feel like lots of the older generation here are very serious about looking after themselves. It may be part of the reason why Hong Kongers have such a good life expectancy.

Hong Kong parks - elderly exercising - Little Koo

In the early to mid-mornings there are often several groups of (mainly) middle aged ladies practising dances. One morning I was walking around the park and counted 9 separate groups – and the park isn’t that big! (Yet another sight you would never see in the UK)

Hong Kong parks - ladies dancing - Little Koo

First thing in the morning there are also usually groups of people practising tai chi, sometimes with fans or swords. I’ve not managed to get a photo yet but I’ll keep trying, it’s quite a sight!

Other forms of exercise are common too. There’s a jogging route around the edge of the park and there are usually a few people taking advantage of that, some with more effort than others! There are often people doing strange stretches and clapping their hands or hitting other parts of themselves (which I think is to boost circulation). Some people even run backwards! I feel like the locals have no inhibitions when it comes to exercise – anything goes!

I’ve seen a man practising his Chinese calligraphy with a sponge on a stick dipped in water. That’s quite a fascinating sight, and something that you wouldn’t see outside of China (or east Asia at least).

Hong Kong parks - practicing calligraphy - Little Koo

I’m very lucky to have such a lovely park close by, it really is a nice place to spend some time!

Thanks for reading!

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