Catching Autumn Foliage Before It Fades

24th January 2023

Among all the seasons of the year, autumn is my favorite, not so cold, yet not hot. But among the reasons why I love it is the breathtaking transition of lush green trees into autumn foliage: gold, red, orange, and brown. Isn't it romantic when autumn leaves slowly fall and carpet the ground? Ever since I experienced the autumn season, I have always looked forward to seeing it when the year reaches its final quarter.

Unlike in other countries with four seasons, Hong Kong only has a few places to see autumn trees and you will only feel the real presence of autumn once you visit them. One of which is Sweet Gum Woods, which is the top most visited place to see autumn trees. I've been to this place in December not just once, but twice. Anyone wouldn't mind going to this paradise again and again.

Winter came and autumn left, but there is still evident autumn foliage in different parts of HK. I've been yearning to visit this certain place since a year ago, and fortunately, I was able to visit it in the first week of January before the autumn colors faded.

Catching autumn foliage before it fades.


One of the biggest universities in Hong Kong, the Chinese University (CUHK) has a beautiful lake inside the school premise that is surrounded by autumn trees. Getting there was too easy as it is located just a walking distance from the MTR station. To get inside though, you need an ID since it is a school, and anyone who wants to visit the lake needs to register their name.



Some trees were losing green pigments retaining the beautiful colors of autumn. While some were fully transformed into orangish to reddish leaves.


It was autumn of the year 2021 when I saw several photos of this place online. I was hesitant to visit since it's inside a school premises and I thought only students and Chinese people are allowed to get in. But I learned that it has several barrier-free facilities, thus allowing the public to sight-see and visit attractions inside the school premises. Glad I was able to visit it this year.


The most visited attraction is this beautiful lake. I was stunned by the idyllic scenery I saw upon getting near the lake. Despite the visitors around, the atmosphere was tranquil, and its water was still and restful with some birds hovering over it on some occasions.

Not until the still water spattered did I notice several koi fish and other kinds of fish in all corners of the lake. Some were enormous and seemed to have been living in the lake for a long time. Moreover, the Chinese also consider koi fish and other fish as lucky ones, especially in business.



I love the way the autumn trees are reflected in the water. Their vibrant colors complement well the green water and green trees from behind them. The serene environment was truly relaxing which helped me escape from a stressful job. Who would've thought that there is a hidden idyllic place in the middle of the bustling city?


A Chinese round and green-tiled roof pavilion is the center of attraction by the lake which provides shade and a place to rest for visitors. It is the only pavilion in the place but there are benches along the lake where more visitors can rest.


This tree is pretty, isn't it?


There are a few bridges connecting one side of the lake to another. Among all, this one caught my attention. Spanning the lake is a greatly arched brick bridge that looks like it's seen better days. It looks old, yet sturdy, and seemed to have been constructed many years ago along with the school. Its passage is just narrow and only enough for two persons to cross side by side.


In the middle of it is a perfect spot to beautifully capture both sides of the lake and watch koi fish in the water. I wasn't sure though if they can be fed by the public. But I saw a kid throwing crumbs of bread into the water and the fish were catching them. All I know is it is prohibited to feed birds in the street as it could cause a mess in public areas.


Before crossing the bridge is this place on the right with tall trees. I wasn't sure of the name as Google lenses can't detect it, but this kind of tree reminded me of paperbark trees I have seen in Shing Mun Reservoir. It says that this tree could grow up to 20 meters tall.


Walking father, I saw this bunch of passerine birds that seemed like catching up together. FYI, we call this Maya in our country and was once our national bird. I find them cute because of their sizes. I like listening to their chirps as well. They were having a chorus when I went near them but eventually flew away when they sensed my presence, lol.


Across the lake is this tree with golden yellow leaves which was another attraction in the place. Visitors were waiting to get their turn to take photos with it. But some of its leaves have already fallen, leaving the ground to look even more beautiful with its vibrant colored yellow leaves contrasting with the green grasses.


Upon searching for its name, it is actually ginko biloba. I am familiar with this name since it's medicinal, but I have never seen the tree before. I never thought as well that its leaves could turn golden yellow in autumn.


Autumn whispers to the wind, "I fall, but always rise again." -Angie Wieland-Crosby

Autumn falls, but will always rise. This is another thing that I love about autumn. It reminded us that things won't stay the same as how they looked at the beginning: beauty fades, leaves fall, and we humans age, fall, and die. We receive challenges throughout the seasons and would fall at some point. However, spring comes to give us new hope, new life, and new beginnings. And those that have fallen will rise again.


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