Let’s start by stating the obvious. Wan Chai Park is Wan Chai’s main park. It has the most amount of green space, which isn’t very much in HK but the trees there have beautiful buttress roots which cling to every bit of earth and surface area they can get. Like us, real estate is important to them.
The park is one of the most complete in terms of amenities. There’s a football pitch, model boat pool which serves as a relaxing fountain area, an elderly exercise zone, a community garden and the all important playground.
There are also toilets, drinking water fountains for adults and kids, and ample benches for all to sit for a while.
Disappointingly there is a smoking section. I suspect there may have been some disciplinary issues relating to that. The park board indicates a phone number to call in the event that smokers are where they shouldn’t be. I recall one trip to Wan Chai Park around lunchtime where I was astonished to find myself enveloped in smoke at the entrance. A group of puffers were near the elderly exercise area smoking up a storm. At the time I didn’t think to report them but I suppose I might in the future.
The park does get busy, early mornings are usually for the elderly using the exercise equipment and many spread out through the park doing the hand-shaking and hip side-to-side movements. Toddlers and babies get to run around the playground freely with grandparents and nannies. There’s often a gentleman or two napping on the benches. Occasionally the handicapped kids will come to play soccer, or some kids will practice scooters or remote control car racing on the pitch.
In the afternoon, the schools nearby let the kids out and many of them swarm the playground. These older boys of less than 10 years can get pretty rough -pushing, shoving, yelling- to get their way on the climbing frames and slides. Mommies or nannies are often sitting on the side chatting, so with little oversight, scenes from Lord of the Flies replays in my mind. Many of those kids (mixed origins, Indian, Nepalese, Myanmese, Chinese) had no qualms stepping on my 2 year old’s hands and feet in their anxiety to be the first to slide. It elicited many tears and screams of despair. Do not bring your kid late afternoon if he/she isn’t prepared to play rough.
Here are some tips for access if you have a pram/stroller.
When the weather is good, it’s a nice park to be in. But be warned that there isn’t much shade for rain and a dearth of nearby cafes within 10 minutes walk that will allow you in with a stroller.