A front view of the garden
The zigzag bridge
A cluster of bamboo greets you at the garden’s promenade
A wild butterfly caught before flight
Lotus pads
Steps and steep inclines
Vines encircling a tree trunk
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Nestled in the western hills of the island, work is ongoing to restore Wu’s paradise to its former glory

Lantau’s own secret garden – Lung Tsai Ng Yuen is in a location of high Feng Shui. Its history dates to a time that saw a steady rise of middle-class and wealthy Chinese locals. Created as a symbol to Buddhist faith, it was celebrated and enjoyed by local visitors and the Wu family that owns it.

Wu Kunsheng was born and raised in Shanghai and came to Hong Kong in the 1940s. He co-founded and directed Wyler Textiles, which by the 1950s, was the city’s second most productive factory.

In 1962, Wu purchased property to create a garden, he named Lung Tsai Ng, located three kilometres south of Tai O.  The garden is designed in the classical style of Lingnan gardens, with a courtyard, artificial mountains, water elements and specific stones. In the garden there is a red and gold pavilion (two colours symbolizing wealth and luck in Chinese tradition) in the middle of a staggered bridge.

While Lung Tsai was a private residence, Wu wanted to share the garden’s beauty with the community. So, every weekend the entrance was open, and the public was allowed to enjoy the grounds.

Following Wu’s death, the property became so dilapidated that it had to be closed for repairs. The foliage became overgrown and the bridge collapsed into the lotus pond. Recently, Wu’s descendants sought to change this. For seven years now, descendants of the original owner work diligently to return the private estate to its former glory.

Text & Photos Victoria Mae Martyn