One Sunday, my colleague Loretta invited me to a day trip with her husband Quincy – and she suggested to go to Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in the New Territories as they’ve also never been and heard it’s nice.
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden is set in a valley cut into the north slopes of Hong Kong’s highest mountain – Tai Mo Shan, in the central New Territories (north of Kowloon, west-northwest of Tai Po). We travelled by car, and it’s just 20 minutes away from Kowloon Tong, in a quiet and rural area of Hong Kong.
The word farm in the name seems almost misleading nowadays – there are some crops grown, pigs and chickens reared, but the farm is dominated by forested hills, with botanic gardens and greenhouses, cages, aviaries and enclosures holding captive animals, and wild birds and other animals that have been rescued and are being cared for.
However, the name comes from its history. It was originally set up for aiding poor farmers in the New Territories in Hong Kong. It later shifted its focus to promote conservation and biodiversity in Hong Kong and South China. The farm was built in a valley with streams, woodlands and terraces in 1956 by Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association.
The Kadoorie brothers, Lord Lawrence Kadoorie and Sir Horace Kadoorie, planted the seeds for Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden when they found the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association in 1951. The aim of association was to encourage the right mental outlook by helping people to help themselves through training, supply of agricultural inputs and interest-free loans. In 1956, the association established an experimental and extension farm at Pak Ngau Shek on the present site as a centre for demonstrating crop production and animal husbandry, improving livestock breeds and training local farmers and Hong Kong based Gurkha soldiers. Special breeds of pigs and chickens were developed which could cope with the local conditions. The result was revitalization, not only of the local economy, but also of the hopes and dreams of the people of the New Territories.
We entered at a gate at the lowest part of the farm and walked around to visit the greenhouses, some animals (pigs, wild boars and we also tried to find some monkeys, but they were hiding) and the café.
We then took the shuttle bus to visit the places up on the mountains. The first stop was at an area covered with wonderful farns.
After that we stopped at a place with many orchids – before the bus took us to the Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion, reached by a short path through a moon arch.
From its high vantage, the pavilion affords superb views over the farm, and north across a plain to Deep Bay.
The pavilion is very lovely to look at!
The shuttle bus’ next stop is Kwun Yam Shan, a craggy peak that also overlooks the farm and the land to the north.
There’s a statue of Kwun Yam, and a path round the north side of the peak, looking out across the plain with Shek Kong, Kam Tin and other villages.
The scenery is amazing, it’s very green and full of wildlife. We really enjoyed our visit and stayed for a couple of hours, although it was very hot and humid on this day!