Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

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Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens Main Gate.JPG
Memorial Gate for British Chinese Soldiers
Date opened 1871
Location Mid-levels, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
Coordinates 22°16′40.03″N 114°9′22.70″E / 22.2777861°N 114.1563056°E / 22.2777861; 114.1563056Coordinates: 22°16′40.03″N 114°9′22.70″E / 22.2777861°N 114.1563056°E / 22.2777861; 114.1563056
No. of animals 700+
Website www.lcsd.gov.hk/parks/hkzbg/en/index.php

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens (Chinese: 香港動植物公園) is one of the oldest zoological and botanical centres in the world. It occupies an area of 5.6 hectares at Mid-levels, on the northern slope of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. Founded in 1864, its first stage had been opened to the public in 1871.[1]

Similar to Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens provides a natural environment and atmosphere in Central District. It is bigger than Hong Kong Park and contains more plants, birds and facilities.


1864 view of the gardens, with Government House and Victoria Harbour in the background.

The park was previously named Bing Tau Fa Yuen (「兵頭花園」).[1] "Bing Tau" literally means "the head of the soldiers" or the "Commander-in-Chief". Some said it was named such way by the Chinese because it was once the private garden of the governor. Other said Bing Tau was just the phonetic transliteration of the first two syllables of the word botanical. In the old days, many lovers liked to go there on a date.


Bronze statue of King George VI in the gardens

At the southern entrance to the gardens, at Upper Albert Road, is a memorial arch dedicated to the Chinese who died assisting the Allies during the two world wars. The inscription on the lintel reads: "In Memory of the Chinese who died loyal to the Allied cause in the Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945". The granite arch in the shape of a paifang was erected in 1928. Reference to the Second World War was added later.[2]

A bronze statue of King George VI was erected in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of British colonial rule over Hong Kong (1841–1941).[3]


Garden Fountain at night

There are more than 1,000 species of plants in the gardens,[4] mostly indigenous to tropical and sub-tropical regions. It includes some rare species like the dawn redwood and the local Ailanthus. Besides these, some species which can produce flowers throughout the year can also be found there, like the Hong Kong orchid tree.

Different Species are grown in the Thematic gardens in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

Bamboo Garden[edit]

This garden grows about ten times bigger than other gardens.

Camellia Garden[edit]

More than 30 species are grown in this garden. Crapnell's camellia (Camellia crapnelliana), Grantham's camellia (Camellia granthamiana) and Hong Kong camellia (Camellia hongkongensis) are native to Hong Kong.

Some introduced rare species such as Yunnan camellia (Camellia reticulata) and golden camellia (Camellia nitidissima and Camellia euphlebia) can also be found in this garden.

Magnolia Garden[edit]

This garden grows 5 species of magnolia:


Various species of orchids, ferns, bromeliads, vines and carnivorous plants are grown in the greenhouse.

Visitors in the greenhouse

Palm Garden[edit]

This garden grows over 30 species under 22 genera of the palm family.

Bauhinia Garden[edit]

This garden grows 8 species including Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia blakeana), purple camel's foot (Bauhinia purpurea) and camel's foot tree (Bauhinia variegata).

Azalea Garden[edit]

This garden grows over 10 azalea species including red azalea (Rhododendron simsii), lovely azalea (Rhododendron pulchrum), purple azalea (Rhododendron pulchrum var. phoeniceum) and white azalea (Rhododendron mucronatum), those are native to Hong Kong. There are also rare species such as yellow azalea (Rhododendron molle) and Westland's rhododendron (Rhododendron moulmainense).

Herb Garden[edit]

Various species of herb are grown in the garden.


Black and white ruffed lemur

Apart from the plants, there are over 600 birds, 70 mammals and 40 reptiles, including many different species. The Hong Kong zoo has come under "fire for 'outdated' facilities"[5] and inadequate, overcrowded conditions for the animals housed within its confines. The South China Morning Post reported the Kadoorie Institute, the SPCA, Animals Asia and Orangutanaid "expressed sincere doubts over the welfare of its animals and recommended that the park be returned to its original status as a botanical garden".[6] Later in the year, Jane Goodall expressed her "concern over the treatment of orangutans in Hong Kong's zoo" saying that they "were not in a good situation", and adding that "large animals in small cages with nothing to do are not happy animals".[7]

Mammals and reptiles[edit]

The size of the garden precludes the keeping of very large mammal species such giraffes. Nevertheless, the collection of primates is varied, including such diverse creatures such as golden lion tamarin, orangutan, ring-tailed lemur and black-and-white ruffed lemur. The reptiles are primarily snakes and turtles such as the Malaysian giant turtle, Chinese alligator and Burmese python.


Birds include the red-crowned crane, flamingo and peacock pheasant.The small brick buildings that house some of the smaller birds were once staff quarters for Chinese workers at the park. These were recently renovated, resulting in the destruction of a row of disused Victorian gas lamp posts, probably the last remaining such row in Hong Kong, and possibly in East Asia.


The main entrance is located at Upper Albert Road. A number of bus routes give access to the facility.[8] Admission is free to all parts of the Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b HKZBG website: Background
  2. ^ Lau, Ka-fai, Joseph, "Planning of interpretation strategy for Chinese style : 'Pai-type portal structure' before 1941 on Hong Kong Island", Dissertation, University of Hong Kong, September 2005
  3. ^ The Film Services Office: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
  4. ^ HKZBG website: Plants
  5. ^ "Hong Kong zoo under fire for". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  6. ^ "Small cages and nothing to do: Hong Kong Zoo animals 'trapped in the 19th century'". South China Morning Post. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Zoo's animals are 'trapped in 19th century'. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  7. ^ "Jane Goodall slams orang-utan conditions at city zoo". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  8. ^ "How to Access". Leisure & Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 

External links[edit]