Old town, new timesWhat do you want from Hong Kong? Adventure, luxury, authenticity, culture, tradition, ancient or modern history, food, fashion, fads? Whatever it is you are searching for in this amazing place, you’ll find it – and more.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s great destinations, it’s paid its dues over the decades of tourism activity and continues to come up with the goods when it has to show its hand. It accepts change effortlessly, evolves and is a world leader in presenting exciting activities and attractions for the new visitor and the repeat traveller.
Whether you hold out for some of the old places or hanker for what’s new on the block, your days will be filled with rich and colourful experiences. There are many little experiences to be had in Hong Kong that don’t come with a fanfare – discover for yourself.
1. Start your day off with: One of the Cultural Kaleidoscope Programs; Mr William Ng and Ms Pandora Wu are two Tai Chi masters and are your teachers for an early morning practice in the Sculpture Court, in front of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.
You never know who will turn up to join you in keeping mind, body and soul fit. Boats cruise by in the harbour, joggers whizz past and early morning walkers stop to watch.
(From 8am - 9am, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.)
2. Head out for a spot of shopping: After Tai Chi, catch the double-decker red bus to Stanley Markets. Enjoy a fast ride around the winding roads, then – go shopping. There is an array of remarkably good quality products here and I defy you to come away with a beautiful (and inexpensive) cashmere wrap or sweater; a handbag; shoes; traditional linen, jewellery or silk jacket.
Time to view Murray House at Stanley overlooking the sea. This establishment is pretty interesting as it is a 160-year-old restored three-storey colonial building that was dismantled in the early 1980s from its original site in Central and transported and put together again here in Stanley.
GOD (Goods Of Distinction shop - fab stuff at Stanley, much of the product made from recycled materials.
3. Hungry for lunch: The Boathouse is a pretty cute place for lunch – on three levels with a nautical theme, the unpretentious restaurant overlooks the sea at Stanley. It serves European food (only so so - not as brilliant as local food), and is OK for a change of culinary pace and the location is fab.
4. Walk off lunch: Downtown to Wan chai, a refurbished area, one of my favourites in Hong Kong. Wan chai was a quiet sandy bay 150 years ago on the northern shoreline of Hong Kong. It was a fishing village with the local temple, Hung Sing Temple – now surrounded and almost swallowed up by residential buildings. Over the years Wan Chai grew to become a prosperous transportation hub.
Almost 160,000 folk live here today and up to 600,000 flock daily to the district to work and shop.
It’s a wonderful place to walk around – many of the old buildings are here, nudged on either side by a shiny new construction. Walk through Star Street or the hip and happening shops and cafes.
Search for the Hung Sing temple and the famous Blue House, almost derelict but there’s a breath of life still hanging on. The Blue House was built in the 1920s and is Lingnan-style (with Chinese and Western architectural features). The distinctive blue colour has no deliberate aesthetic quality – the decorators at the time only had blue paint, so the blue house it became. There are still a few residents in the building, they are pretty hardy as there is a distinct lack of modern amenities – such as flush toilets.
5. And for a happy hour drink: The Pawn is a three storey building that was a pawn shop in colonial times. The atmosphere here now is clubby, with bars and restaurant to while away the evening. In a semi historic setting, The Pawn is owned by The Press Club Room company. This modern offering in an old building is fun and the building is one of the few token old building left standing in this neighbourhood.
6. Dinner at last: Have a stunning Cantonese meal with a selection of classics at Chungs Cuisine. The restaurant is set in a modern skyscraper (Number 10/F Times Square, Causeway Bay).
Just another day in Kong Kong and home to The Hong Kong Peninsula – what could be more perfect?
Visit the Hong Kong Island Visitor Centre, the Peak Piazza (between The Peak Tower and The Peak Galleria), 9am-9pm daily. Kowloon Visitor Centre, Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui, 8am-8pm daily.
Also check out the App Store for ‘Heritage Walks Hong Kong
Travel tip: Buy a Museum Pass. Hong Kong has many museums; history, heritage, art, and political figures. For just $HK30 it allows you unlimited admission for one week to seven museums.
The Blue House is