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Top 5 – Serene and Relaxing Places on HKU’s Campus

February 19, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

If there’s one thing that every HKU student can agree on, it’s that there is rarely a still moment on campus. Students are consistently put under the ceaseless pressure of deadlines, mid-terms, finals, hall activities, high tables, society events and those deadly 9.30am lectures – the struggle is real. But amidst all this chaos, we usually forget the importance of taking some time out to find  stillness and clarity in our day…even if it’s just for 15 minutes. And regardless of whether you’re a ‘chur’ student, a ‘jong’ student, a party person, or just plain ‘tappy’, everyone always needs the occasional breather (yes, even ‘tappy’ people need a break from tappy-ing around…).

So, here is a quick list of places on campus where you can temporarily pause your life, and take it easy for a bit. These places are usually isolated, serene, and equipped with a pretty view intended to help you empty your head of useless thoughts, nuisances and inane questions.

1. Main Building

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HKU’s Main Building is possibly one of this campus’s most underrated buildings – opened first in 1912, this gorgeous red-brick structure predates even World War I…can you imagine how many stories the walls of this building have seen and heard?! Anyway, this imperial beauty boasts four internal courtyards, each with places nearby to sit and chill. These courtyards are regal, and usually always empty – perfect to calm down. Moreover, there is an undeniable romantic aura in these courtyards…maybe it’s the contrast of the deep greenery against the red remnants of British colonial architecture in Hong Kong, or the fact that couples flock around the building to take their wedding pictures. Either way, this is the place to be if you’re feelin’ the love.

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2. Eliot Hall

Like Main Building, Eliot Hall is another part of HKU that prides historical precedence (it was built in 1914), and graces Hong Kong with the rare residue of British imperial architecture. Additionally, this building is enveloped by two of the most relaxed places on campus.

The first, is this miniature park sort of thing…it’s on the left of Eliot Hall’s grand staircase, and it’s basically an empty piece of land with a few tables, and several dark, low branched trees. I know it sounds dodgy, but it’s a great spot for a picnic or just sitting down amidst some hardcore greenery (this is also a great place for couples who are “feelin’ the love”).

Secondly – and this is a great study space too! – there are a few tables between the Meng Wah Complex and the patio area of Eliot Hall. These tables are relatively (and surprisingly) unused, and are perfect to soak in some afternoon sun, or evening breeze.

My only hesitation with using this scenic and serene location for some down-time is that right now, the CYM building and its surroundings are undergoing some construction, which makes commuting around that area thoroughly inconvenient. But more importantly, the cacophonous sounds of drills kind of nulls the idea of “relaxation”. Still, note this place down and remember to visit it once the area finishes getting its loud makeover. But in the meantime, what are iPods for?

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3. Behind Graduate House

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Earlier this semester I was walking around Graduate House (lost as usual), and discovered that behind University Drive, there’s a hiking trail! A hiking trail on campus!!! I’m not sure how many people know about this, or have visited this part of campus, but essentially the route starts from behind University Drive, and leads you somewhere near Lung Fu Shan Park (there are signs everywhere and stuff, which is pretty helpful if you’re one of those geographically inept people like me). Now, if you’re one of these people who is stuck on campus from morning till evening with a large gap between your classes, keep walking up behind Graduate House, and just go on this hike. The area is completely quiet, and hiking between classes seems like a pretty unorthodox way to spend your day, right? Basically, this trail takes you into a lush forest…and seriously, no one actually goes on hikes while they’re on campus, so if you need some alone time to contemp

late life or question your existence, definitely try this out. Plus, there’s a bit of running water (a drain, I think, but please overlook how unappealing this sounds), which adds to the natural ambience and all – the soft sounds are really peaceful.

4) Behind Bijas/HKU Visitor Center 

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This is arguably one of the most quaint – and well hidden – areas on campus. In front of Bijas, you’ll see the HKU Visitor’s Center…go behind it, and you’ll reach a strange patio place overlooking the Belcher’s. Unless you’re into thick trees in front of buildings and roads, the view isn’t too spectacular here. What this place offers instead, is complete tranquility. On one side, you’ll see the red brick wall of the Visitor’s Center, and on the other side a glass barrier will stop you from falling into trees that baricade Pok Fu Lam. Sit down on the walkway between the two, and take in the rare silence this clandestine area has to offer.

This is a great reading spot too (for the lucky few of you who still find the time to read for pleasure), and currently, right behind a section of this spot, there’s a pretty wicked exhibition called “On Urban Fringe: In Search of the Ideal City”.

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5) Centennial Campus Garden

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This location is widely known as one of HKU’s most serene and tranquil places; most students swear by the “third floor Centennial Campus garden”, and it’s not hard to see why.

The oval garden next to the Centennial Campus’ gym is perpetually empty, and temporarily fixes almost any issue after you lie on the grass for ten minutes or so. Decked with benches and well-trimmed flower beds, this small space is a must-visit, especially after a hectic class. And personally, I can’t wait to see what this place will look like in the rain.aIMG_9021

Honestly though, the real serene part of this area is actually hidden behind the garden area – it’s the balcony area of the Run Run Shaw Tower. You get a gorgeous view of the Belcher’s, Shek Tong Tsui, the harbour, etc and the breeze is literally amazing. This place is perfect for any mood, and any time of day…and for me, this spot more or less encompasses tranquility on campus.

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SO, hopefully after reading this, you guys will take a few minutes out of your day to chill in these gorgeous (and underrated..!) places on campus. Happy relaxing! :)

P.S: The photos were taken in the evening – these places are kindest to you around then.




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