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ROUGHGUIDES

Rough Guide DIRECTIONS

Hong Kong
& Macau
Hong Kong
& Macau
DI R E C T I O N S

WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED BY

Jules Brown and David Leffman

NEW YORK • LONDON • DELHI


www.roughguides.com
2

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Contents

C ONT ENT S
The New Territories.........................109
Introduction 4 Lantau ............................................121
Other islands ..................................127
Macau ............................................133
Ideas 9
The big six sights ............................10
Restaurants ......................................12
Accommodation 147
Day-trips ..........................................14
Hostels, guesthouses and hotels ...... 149
Colonial Macau .................................16
Temples ............................................18
Festivals ...........................................20
Shopping ..........................................22 Essentials 157
Food and drink .................................24
Health ...............................................26 Arrival .............................................159
Wealth ..............................................28 Information .....................................160
Hong Kong islands ............................30 City transport ..................................160
Recreation ........................................32 Communications .............................162
Markets ............................................34 Entertainment .................................163
Museums..........................................36 Directory.........................................166
Bars and clubs..................................38
Parks ................................................40
On the move .....................................42 Chronology 169
Colonial Hong Kong .........................44
Traditional Hong Kong ......................46

Language 173
Places 49
Hong Kong Island: Central and
the Peak .........................................51 small print & Index 185
Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and
Western ..........................................65
Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai,
Causeway Bay and Happy Valley .... 74 Colour maps
Hong Kong Island: the south
side and east coast ........................84 Chapter Locator Map
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui .................... 92 Hong Kong
Kowloon: Yau Ma Tei and Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
Mong Kok .......................................104 Hong Kong Transit System
4
Introduction to

Hong Kong
INT R ODU C T ION

and Macau
Facing each other across
the Pearl River estuary,
Hong Kong and Macau
offer the visitor an excit-
ing yet easy entry into the
Chinese world. Colonies
of Britain and Portugal
respectively until they
were returned to mainland
China in the 1990s as Special Administrative Regions
(SARs), today they seek to establish fresh identities for
themselves. While evidence of their colonial past lingers
in buildings, languages, food and hi-tech infrastructure,
the essentially Chinese heritage underpinning it all is
becoming increasingly apparent.

Hong Kong’s famously futuristic beautiful of its kind. There’s


architecture has long set the also a broad mix of architectural
standard for similar cityscapes styles here, encompassing
rearing up all over Asia, yet its Central’s soaring IFC2 tower,
signature harbourside skyline Mong Kok’s ramshackle
is still the most strikingly town-housing, traditional clan

 Incense spirals, Man Mo Temple, Hollywood Road

Contents Introduction
5

When to visit
Hong Kong and Macau are subtropical, which means generally humid
conditions through the year. From December to February is the coolest
period (16ºC), though usually dry; temperatures rise from March through
to May (23ºC) and rainfall increases; while from June until September the

INT RODU C T IO N
weather is steaming hot and extremely wet (29ºC), often with fearsome
typhoons (from the Chinese tai fung – “big wind”), whose storms affect
sea traffic. Tourist levels are pretty even year-round, though it’s best to
book in advance during June’s dragon boat races, and Chinese New Year
in January or February.

villages in the New Territories coastline and islands – although


and the centuries-old temples none of it especially remote
which are dotted around. The – where you can escape the
accompanying markets and pace and claustrophobia of the
streetlife are compellingly downtown areas. Hong Kong’s
frenetic, while the shopping only real downside is that the
– though no longer a bargain overwhelming commercialism
– offers the chance to directly and consumption make it hard
compare a vast range of products to engage with the underlying
sold everywhere from open-air Chinese culture – though
stalls to hi-tech malls. Hong you can glimpse it at Happy
Kong is also one of the best places Valley’s horseraces, Mong
in the world to eat Cantonese Kok’s Bird Market or simply
food, while the territory’s by watching early-morning tai
Western influence means there’s chi practitioners going through
a plentiful selection of bars and their routines in Kowloon Park.
nightspots. Surprisingly, Hong Cultural barriers also drop at
Kong’s outlying areas remain the several annual Chinese
fairly undeveloped, with a festivals sprinkling the calendar
countryside encompassing – Chinese New Year, the Dragon
beaches, rugged hills, wild Boat Races and Cheung Chau

 Approach to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Sha Tin

Contents Introduction
6

 Trinket
shop, Wan Chai
INT R ODU C T ION

Bun Festival are the liveliest ambiance. Macau’s tiny scale also
– when even visitors will find it means you can see just about
hard not to become caught up everything on an easy day-trip
in the action. from Hong Kong, while its
Smaller and more visually superb food marries Portuguese,
attractive than its neighbour, Chinese, Goan, Brazilian and
Macau is also ethnically Chinese, African influences, all washed
but while all the temples and down with Portuguese port and
festivals of southern China are brandy. As far as the Chinese
reproduced here, they’re not are concerned, however, Macau’s
the main reason for a visit. main appeal is in its many casinos
Instead, Macau’s charm rests – the only place on Chinese
on a substantial quantity of old territory where they are legal
Portuguese churches, forts and – which draw in swarms of
streets, which lend the place punters from Hong Kong and
a laid-back, colonial-tropical mainland China.

 Fish market, Lantau

Contents Introduction
Hong Kong and Macau
AT A GLANCE

INT RODU C T IO N
New Territories
Studded with a handful of modern,
functional New Towns, the New
Territories also hide a few tradi-
tional settlements and a surprising
wealth of wild countryside, hiking
trails and beautiful scenery.

 One Peking Road, Kowloon

 Tram, Wan Chai

Hong Kong Island


From Central’s bars, restaurants
and waterfront skyscrapers, to
views from the Peak, smoky
temples, cruises around Aberdeen
harbour and relaxing on Shek O
beach, Hong Kong Island keeps
you entertained day and night.

Kowloon
Shopping is king in Kowloon:
Nathan Road’s stores stock the
latest model of every conceivable
electronic gadget, from mobile
phones to cameras and comput-
ers, while specialist markets trade
in jade, songbirds, goldfish and
clothes.

Contents Introduction
INT R ODU C T ION 8

 Boats, Cheung Chau harbour

Other islands
Easy walking trails to rocky
headlands and tiny beaches are
the main attractions of the small,
laid-back islands of Cheung Chau,
Peng Chau and Lamma – along
with some excellent restaurants
specializing in fresh seafood.

Macau
An easy day-trip from Hong Kong,
with an elegant quarter of old
Portuguese churches, squares and
houses, and plenty of restaurants
serving unique Macanese food
– plus a host of crowded, noisy
casinos.

 Man on bike, Tai O, Lantau

Lantau
Hong Kong’s largest island offers
plenty of outdoor escapes, along
with a Disneyland, the unusual
fishing village of Tai O and one
of the world’s largest Buddha
 Largo do Senado, Macau statues.

Contents Introduction
Ideas

Contents Ideas
10
The big six sights Hong Kong and
Macau are superb
places to soak
up atmosphere
as you wander,
but there’s also
a handful of key
sights which form
the core of most
tourist itineraries.
Whether it’s close-
ups of modern
architecture,
sweeping  São Paulo facade
views, iconic religious Macau’s most famous colonial Portuguese
building, though only the intricately carved
monuments or simply stonework shell survived a fire in 1835.
sunbathing on a sandy P.136  MACAU

beach, Hong Kong and


Macau have something to
offer at every turn.

 Big Buddha at Po Lin


Religion writ large at this huge bronze
statue, which sits serenely between Lantau’s
peaks.
P.126  LANTAU

Contents Ideas
11

 Harbour at night
Central’s futuristic skyline is one of the
world’s great cityscapes, especially when lit
up at night.
P.54  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

 Star Ferry
This evocative ride across Victoria Harbour
 Shek O beach
allows water-level views of shipping activity,
One of the nicest stretches of sand in Hong
framed by Central’s hi-tech towers.
Kong, overlooked by a beautiful granite
P.51  HONG KONG ISLAND:
headland.
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK
P.90  HONG KONG ISLAND:
THE SOUTH SIDE AND EAST
COAST

 View from the Peak


Almost all of Hong Kong is visible from
Victoria Peak, with a staggering view north
across the harbour, Kowloon and into the
New Territories.
P.59  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

Contents Ideas
12
Restaurants Many of Hong
Kong and Macau’s
restaurants have an
atmosphere every
bit as good as their
food, whether they
are formal Chinese
or Macanese
institutions, one
of the many
establishments specializing
in foreign cuisines, street
stalls with basic but
expertly cooked snacks, or
tiny cafés whose modest
 Macanese restaurants
furnishings completely bely One of the perks of a trip to Macau is the
their huge reputations. chance to eat at one of the many restaurants
serving seafood in the Macanese manner
P.144  MACAU

 The Chippy
The British may have relinquished Hong
Kong, but their culinary influence remains in
nostalgic servings of battered cod ‘n’ chips
at The Chippy.
P.61  HONG KONG ISLAND:
MID-LEVELS AND WESTERN

Contents Ideas
13

 Yung Kee  Lin Heung Lau Teahouse


Smart but not especially formal Cantonese The Chinese describe good restaurants as
restaurant in Central, famous for its roast being “hot and noisy”, and you won’t find a
meats – especially the crispy-skinned goose. better example than this legendary teahouse
P.62  HONG KONG ISLAND: in Sheung Wan.
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK P.72  HONG KONG ISLAND:
MID-LEVELS AND WESTERN

 Jumbo Floating Restaurant


As gaudy as a fairground, this shamelessly
 Lord Stowe’s Bakery
pretentious, multi-level restaurant serves
This humble, open-fronted bakery in only average food but provides an unforget-
Macau’s quiet Coloane Village produces table dining experience.
beautifully fragrant Portuguese baked
P.90  HONG KONG ISLAND:
custard tarts.
THE SOUTH SIDE AND EAST
P.145  MACAU COAST

Contents Ideas
14
Day-Trips If Hong Kong’s
downtown areas
become too
claustrophobic,
there are plenty
of day-trips
possible, out to
where mountains,
rugged coastlines and
beaches predominate: you
might even come across
a few rare animals and
 Disneyland
birds. Hong Kong also
The local mouse franchise, populated by a
boasts two theme parks, familiar cast of cartoon characters; the host
of attractions includes a gripping roller-
easily reached on public coaster ride in the pitch dark.
transport. P.123  LANTAU

 Beaches
Both SARs sport excellent beaches – includ-
ing Silvermine at Mui Wo on Hong Kong’s
Lantau, and Macau’s Hác Sá – though
polluted water means that these are better
for sunbathing than swimming.
P.121  LANTAU
P.144  MACAU

Contents Ideas
15

 Pink dolphins
Take a boat out to look for these rare
creatures, of which only 180 survive in the
waters around Hong Kong.
P.124  LANTAU

 Wetlands Park
This spread of marshland in the New Territo-  Boat trips
ries, facing the Chinese mainland, is a stop- Taking a boat – whether across Hong Kong
over for many species of migratory wildfowl. harbour, on a tour out from Aberdeen, or
P.117  THE NEW TERRITORIES ferries to the outer islands or Macau – gives
an insight into the maritime trade that built
Hong Kong’s wealth.
 Ocean Park
P.51  HONG KONG ISLAND:
Hong Kong’s first theme park, complete with
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK
pandas, marine aquarium and terrifying
P.85  HONG KONG ISLAND: THE
rollercoaster. SOUTH SIDE AND EAST COAST
P.85  HONG KONG ISLAND: P.127, 129 & 131  OTHER
THE SOUTH SIDE AND EAST ISLANDS
COAST P.134  MACAU

Contents Ideas
16
Colonial Macau Macau has  São Francisco barracks
a quarter of Nineteenth-century military headquarters,
whose classical exterior is painted an
European unlikely violent pink.
architecture dating P.142  MACAU

back several
hundred years
to the heydey
of Portuguese
occupation,
comprising
flagstoned
squares, stone
forts, graceful
churches, brightly painted
military bases and bustling  Largo do Senado
Old Macau’s still-cobbled main square,
markets, all standing in fronted on all sides by antique Portuguese-
strange contrast to the style colonnaded shops, churches and
government buildings.
largely Chinese population. P.133  MACAU

Contents Ideas
17
 São Domingos
Well-proportioned seventeenth-century
Baroque church painted in restrained pastel
colours, housing a famous statue of the
Virgin and Child.
P.136  MACAU

 Fortaleza do Monte
A hilltop fort whose solid stone battlements
lined with bronze cannons were originally
built to fight off the Dutch, and now house a
historical museum.
P.137  MACAU

 Rua da Felicidade
One of Macau’s last nineteenth-century
streets preserved intact, and lined with
wooden-shuttered shops and restaurants.
P.139  MACAU

 Leal Senado
Macau’s original Senate House, with a splen-
did wood-panelled Chamber still used by the
local government.
P.134  MACAU

Contents Ideas
18
Temples Temples are an
integral part of
Chinese life,
even in such
modern places
as Hong Kong
and Macau. A
wealth of Buddhist
and Taoist deities
are worshipped here
(sometimes side by side
in the same temple), and
though the buildings  Ten
Thousand Buddhas
Monastery
themselves are mostly The most interesting of Hong Kong’s few
built of stone along similar, Buddhist temples, with a host of grotesque
sculptures and thousands of Buddha
fairly spartan lines, they’re statuettes.
usually lively places with P.114  THE NEW TERRITORIES

red and gold decorations,


 Tin Hau
a host of statues, huge There are temples all over Hong Kong
incense coils hanging from dedicated to this local deity of fishermen
and sailors – the best are at Stanley and
the roof and forecourts Clearwater Bay.
thick with fortune tellers. P.89  HONG KONG ISLAND: THE
SOUTH SIDE AND EAST
COAST
P.119  THE NEW TERRITORIES

Contents Ideas
19
 Man Mo
Busy shrine in downtown Hong Kong
to the complementary Taoist gods
of literature and war; it’s smoky and
hung with slow-burning incense coils.
P.69  HONG KONG ISLAND:
MID-LEVELS AND
WESTERN

 A-Ma
Macau’s main complex
for worshipping the
Protector of Fisher-
men and Sailors, a
small slope crammed
with tiny temples and
boulders painted with
religious symbols.
P.140  MACAU

 Wong Tai Sin


Hong Kong’s most popular temple, its fore-
court crammed with people praying for luck
and having their fortunes told.
P.109  THE NEW TERRITORIES

 Kun Iam
Aside from being an important shrine to the
Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, this temple in
Macau is where the first Sino-US treaty was
signed in 1844.
P.139  MACAU

Contents Ideas
20
Festivals The Chinese
lunar calendar
is peppered
with festivals,
some originating
thousands of
years ago. They
are always noisy,
busy events, and a hugely
sociable atmosphere
is guaranteed by the
crowds coming to watch
or participate, along with
 Mid-Autumn Festival
the accompanying noise, Celebrates both the harvest and a four-
colour and lights – all of teenth-century uprising by the Chinese
against their Mongol overlords, when heavy
which are said to chase moulded cakes stuffed with sweet bean
away bad luck and ensure paste are eaten all over Hong Kong.
P.166  ESSENTIALS
a successful event. The
biggest and best-known is
Chinese New Year (Spring
Festival), but smaller
events include a few
unique to the area.

 Lantern Festival
The two-week-long Chinese New Year cele-
brations end with decorative paper lantern
displays of all colours, shapes and sizes in
parks across the region.
P.165  ESSENTIALS

Contents Ideas
21

 Fireworksat
Chinese New Year
Hong Kong and Macau
usher in the Chinese New
Year with brilliantly intense,
deafening fireworks displays
– Hong Kong’s in particu-
lar is like spending forty
minutes in the middle of a
war zone.
P.165  ESSENTIALS

 Dragon Boat Races  Tai Chiu Bun Festival


A Chinese tradition dating back over two A week-long extravaganza on Cheung Chau
thousand years, when teams of narrow- island (in April or May), featuring outdoor
hulled, dragon-headed boats race to Chinese theatre, dragon dances, stilt walk-
commemorate the drowning of the famous ing and twenty-metre-high towers made of
statesman Chu Yuen in the third century BC. steamed buns.
P.166  ESSENTIALS P.165  ESSENTIALS

Contents Ideas
22
Shopping Hong Kong’s
markets, malls
and boutiques
provide one of
the world’s most
intense shopping
experiences. The
best deals are on
clothing, jewellery and
pirated gear, while the
sheer range of mobile
phones and electronic
 Jewellery
goods is staggering The Chinese appreciate gold and precious
– even if prices are not stones, and locally made jewellery – such as
that sold at Chow Tai Fook – is of high
that wonderful, there’s quality and moderate price.
nowhere else in the world P.99  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI

you can directly compare


so many brands. It’s also
a good place to look for
Chinese art, both ancient
and modern.

 Clothes
Hong Kong’s home-brand clothing labels are
excellent value, as are made-to-order suits;
fashion-wear by designer stores such as
Shanghai Tang is expensive but elegant.
P.60  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

Contents Ideas
23
 Pirated gear
Hong Kong is a hotbed of
pirated DVDs and computer
software, often sold openly in
downtown stores.
P.104  KOWLOON:
YAU MA TEI
AND MONG
KOK

 Hi tech  Antiques
Electronics stores in Tsim Sha Tsui and Shops specializing in Chinese antiques and
Mong Kok offer an extraordinary range of reproductions line Hollywood Road, in Hong
the latest photo gear, MP3 players, mobile Kong Island’s Mid-Levels.
phones and computers. P.71  HONG KONG ISLAND:
P.99  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI MID-LEVELS AND WESTERN
P.104  KOWLOON: YAU MA TEI
AND MONG KOK

Contents Ideas
24
Food and drink The Chinese
use eating and
drinking as a way
of cementing social
relationships,
meaning that meals
in Hong Kong
and Macau are
always memorable.
Cantonese is the
local Chinese
style, specializing
in fresh, lightly cooked
foods and yum cha
breakfasts accompanied
by a pot of tea. Macanese
 Yum cha
cooking blends Chinese Try this classic Cantonese breakfast (also
and colonial Portuguese known as dim sum) at the Luk Yu or Tao
Heung teahouses, where a host of small
flavours, and meals are sweet and savoury dumplings are accompa-
nied by a pot of fragrant tea.
washed down with a
P.61  HONG KONG ISLAND:
coffee or bottle of wine. CENTRAL AND THE PEAK
P.102  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI
For those in a rush, there
are plenty of places to
enjoy a quick bowl of
soup.

 Macanese
Restaurants such as Fat Siu Lau provide
mammoth portions of Macau’s unique
dishes, including “African Chicken”, cod and
feijoada (bean and sausage stew).
P.144  MACAU

Contents Ideas
25
 Street food
Some of the tastiest Cantonese food is found
at stalls and canteens serving simple street
dishes such as wuntun noodles or fishball
soup – try Hong Kong’s Tsui Wah restaurant.
P.62  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

 Vegetarian
Chinese cuisine has spawned a sophisti-
cated vegetarian offshoot, served in Buddhist
temples, Hong Kong’s Light Vegetarian and
Macau’s Macau Vegetarian Farm, featuring
imitation meat dishes made from gluten
and tofu.
P.101  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI
P.145  MACAU

 Cantonese
The local Chinese cooking style demands
the freshest possible ingredients and excels
in teasing out their essential tastes and
textures through stir-frying, roasting and
steaming – best experienced at restaurants
like Yung Kee.
P.62  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

Contents Ideas
26
Health The Chinese
obsession with
health goes back
several thousand
years to the
semi-mythical
“Yellow Emperor”, who
compiled an encyclopedia
of medicinal plants and
their uses. Since then, a
complex medical system
has evolved which uses
herbs, acupuncture,
exercise and symbolic
objects to nurture and
balance the body’s qi, a
form of intrinsic energy
that the Chinese believe is
the source of life.

 Tai chi
Head to the parks in the early morning
to see mostly elderly practitioners going
through their slow tai chi routines, said to
maintain health and flexibility.
P.96  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI

Contents Ideas
27

 Medicinal tea
Called “bitter tea” in Chinese, astringent
brews made from medicinal herbs designed
to fight off colds are sold from special urns
– you’ll see them in Sheung Wan.
P.68  HONG KONG ISLAND: MID-
LEVELS AND WESTERN

 Symbols  Jade
The Chinese have all sorts of symbols This hard green stone is believed by the
for luck, health and longevity, which are Chinese to prevent ageing and decay; there’s
prominently displayed on packaging, temples even a Hong Kong market dedicated to it.
(such as at Wong Tai Sin) and homes. P.106  KOWLOON: YAU MA TEI
P.109  THE NEW TERRITORIES AND MONG KOK

Contents Ideas
28
Wealth Hong Kong’s very
existence is based
on finance and
business, and
today some of the
city’s most striking
modern architecture
houses the headquarters
of financial institutions.
Traditionally too, wealth
has always been deemed
important; the Chinese
burn symbols of wealth to
enrich the afterlives of their
ancestors at funerals and
festivals, and even have a
god of wealth.

 Bank of China tower


China’s national bank building in Hong Kong
forms a striking, knife-like profile against
the sky – even though this offends the laws
of feng shui.
P.56  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

Contents Ideas
29
 IFC2 tower
Hong Kong’s tallest tower overlooks the
harbourfront, and is immensely impressive
when the top disappears into low cloud.
P.54  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

 Spirit offerings
Local Chinese burn paper models of gold
bars, cars and even houses to ensure that
their ancestors are well cared for in the
afterlife – you can see this at Hong Kong’s
Pak Tai temple.
P.75  HONG KONG ISLAND: WAN
CHAI, CAUSEWAY BAY AND
HAPPY VALLEY
 HSBC headquarters
Hong Kong’s own bank is housed in an
amazing building that is actually raised off
the ground and partially hollow.
P.56  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

 God of Wealth
Many local businesses sport a small shrine
somewhere to Choi Sin, the God of Wealth,
to make him feel welcome and so attract his
patronage – have a look in traditional busi-
nesses in Sheung Wan.
P.67  HONG KONG ISLAND: MID-
LEVELS AND WESTERN

Contents Ideas
30
Hong Kong islands Hong Kong’s
islands offer an
easy escape
from downtown
claustrophobia:
there are laid-back
fishing villages and
markets on Cheung
Chau and Peng
Chau, while Lantau
has great hiking
trails, seascapes,
beaches, and even
a cable-car ride
from Tung Chung
up to Po Lin Monastery on
Lantau Peak.

 Peng Chau
A tiny, horseshoe-shaped island with low-
key village streets and just one walking
track, culminating in fabulous views.
P.131  OTHER ISLANDS

Contents Ideas
31

 Lamma
Small, mostly rural island with quiet
accommodation, easy walks, and
renowned seafood restaurants.
P.127  OTHER ISLANDS

 Cheung Chau
Once a thriving pirate community,
now better known for its laid-back
beach and busy market, harbour and
temples.
P.129  OTHER ISLANDS

 Lantau
Hong Kong’s largest, most rugged
island with isolated fishing villages,
steep peaks and the famous Po Lin
Buddhist Monastery.
P.121  LANTAU

Contents Ideas
32
Recreation One of the most
popular forms of
entertainment in
Hong Kong and
Macau is gambling,
either at one of
Macau’s casinos,
or at horse races
in Hong Kong.
For more in the way
of local culture, there’s
also a limited amount
of traditional Cantonese
opera and a huge
domestic film industry,
while those after a bit of
 Cantonese opera
exertion can head to Hong
Although no longer a widespread form of
Kong’s wilds for rock- entertainment, traditional Cantonese opera
is still performed at some festivals, street
climbing or hiking. markets and occasionally at big venues.
P.164  ESSENTIALS

 Casinos
Macau is the only place in China where
casinos are legal, and the city’s many
gaming halls range from the glitzy to the
decidedly downmarket.
P.141  MACAU

Contents Ideas
33

 Horse racing
Join the crowds of eager, hard-bitten punters
for a night at Hong Kong’s weekly horse races.
P.78  HONG KONG ISLAND: WAN
CHAI, CAUSEWAY BAY AND
HAPPY VALLEY
P.114  THE NEW TERRITORIES

 Hong Kong cinema


Despite its small size, Hong Kong has the
world’s third-largest film industry, with
cinemas everywhere and major new
releases almost every week.  Rock-climbing
P.164  ESSENTIALS Probably the best spot for this fast-grow-
ing sport is Lion Rock in Hong Kong’s New
Territories.
P.112  THE NEW TERRITORIES

 Hiking trails
Hong Kong’s islands and New Territories
are covered in a network of hiking paths,
allowing access to some unexpectedly wild
coastlines and hills.
P.110 & 118  THE NEW
TERRITORIES
P.127–131  OTHER ISLANDS

Contents Ideas
34
Markets Local markets are
some of the best
places to see the
Chinese going
about everyday life,
besides offering
the opportunity to
snap up a bargain. Temple
Street Night Market is
loaded with souvenirs,
while the Bird and Goldfish
markets are far more
traditional in feel, full of
elderly Chinese looking
for a pet. If your stomach
is up to it, seafood and
produce markets are busy,
lively affairs, catering to the  Temple Street Night Market
Hong Kong’s most famous tourist market is a
demands of local cuisine
good place to pick up a souvenir, see street
with only the freshest of performers, and have an inexpensive meal.
ingredients P.104  KOWLOON: YAU MA TEI
AND MONG KOK

 Jade Market
All sorts of things, from small pendants to
bangles and figurines, are carved out of this
hard, semi-precious and – in Chinese lore
– youth-preserving stone.
P.106  KOWLOON: YAU MA TEI
AND MONG KOK

Contents Ideas
35

 Goldfish Market  Seafood Market


Thousands of bug-eyed goldfish are hung Head to the Aberdeen waterside to see the
outside shops in plastic bags – the Chinese daily catch that goes towards creating some
buy them to attract wealth. of Cantonese cuisine’s greatest dishes.
P.107  KOWLOON: YAU MA TEI P.85  HONG KONG ISLAND: THE
AND MONG KOK SOUTH SIDE AND EAST
COAST

 Bird Market
Elderly Chinese men gather here to compare
their songbirds, buy elegant wooden cages,
and just chat and stroll.
P.108  KOWLOON: YAU MA TEI
AND MONG KOK

 Produce Market
Witness the Chinese seeking to satisfy their
demand for absolutely fresh ingredients,
whether vegetable or animal – Sheung
Wan’s is one of the best.
P.67  HONG KONG ISLAND: MID-
LEVELS AND WESTERN

Contents Ideas
36
Museums Hong Kong and
Macau have some
excellent museums
illustrating local
history and culture,
ranging from high-
quality collections
of Chinese art,
to reconstructions of
old streets, European
gun batteries, traditional
wooden boats and even
whole villages.

 Museum of Coastal Defence


Nineteenth-century British gun emplace-
ments protecting the eastern end of Hong
Kong harbour, now a display of military
history.
P.89  HONG KONG ISLAND: THE
SOUTH SIDE AND EAST
COAST

Contents Ideas
37

 Museu Marítimo
Lively museum in Macau, with scores of
lovingly built scale models of wooden fish-
ing vessels.
P.140  MACAU

 Museum of Art
Provides a solid introduction to traditional
Chinese painting, calligraphy, pottery and
metalworking, with rotating exhibitions of
contemporary art.
P.95  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI

 Museum of History
Fun recreation of Hong Kong’s past, with
whole streets reconstructed amidst more
usual glass cases of historical artefacts.
P.98  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI

Contents Ideas
38
Bars and clubs Whilst a night
on the town is
hardly a Chinese
institution, Hong
Kong’s European
heritage means
that it enjoys a
solid nightlife
based around an
ever-changing core
of bars and clubs
on Hong Kong
Island and in Tsim Sha  Old China Hand
The premier refuge for hard-core drinkers
Tsui, where you can drink, and seedy, embittered expats.
dance or listen to live P.83  HONG KONG ISLAND: WAN
CHAI, CAUSEWAY BAY AND
music from dusk till dawn. HAPPY VALLEY

 Lan Kwai Fong


The heart of Hong Kong’s club and bar scene
– a score of riotous dens provide booze and
music until the small hours.
P.63  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

Contents Ideas
39
 C Bar
Tiny Lan Kwai Fong
bar, which makes up in
volume and atmosphere
what it lacks in size.
P.63  CENTRAL
AND THE
PEAK

 Dinamoe Hum  Ned Kelly’s Last Stand


Minuscule but lively jazz club, which often A Hong Kong institution, with live jazz and
hosts foreign bands. hearty food.
P.73  HONG KONG ISLAND: MID- P.102  KOWLOON:TSIM SHA TSUI
LEVELS AND WESTERN

Contents Ideas
40
Parks Formal parks are
a feature of many
Chinese cities:
there are several
excellent open
spaces in both
Hong Kong and Macau,
from the paving and neat
flower beds of Kowloon
and Victoria parks,
to Hong Kong Park’s
fantastic aviary and city
views, and Macau’s wholly
traditional Jardim Lou Lim
Ieoc, built in the classical
Chinese style.

 Hong Kong Park


Hilly parkland with outstanding aviary and
ubiquitous wedding groups.
P.58  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

Contents Ideas
41

 Kowloon Park
Oasis of paving, ponds, trees and caged
birds in bustling Tsim Sha Tsui.
P.96  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA
TSUI

 Jardim Lou Lim Ieoc


A traditional Chinese garden in Macau,
packed with trees, pavilions and
strangely shaped rocks.
P.138  MACAU

 Victoria Park
The best place in Hong Kong to watch
early-morning martial arts, or find a
patch of shade in the midday heat.
P.77  HONG KONG ISLAND:
WAN CHAI, CAUSEWAY
BAY AND HAPPY
VALLEY

Contents Ideas
42
On the move One of the
wonders of Hong
Kong is that in
such a crowded
and busy place,
the public transport
system works so
well. This includes
such archaic
vehicles as Hong
Kong Island’s trams,
British-inspired double-
decker buses and 1950s-
style cross-harbour ferries,
as well as the speedy and
hi-tech MTR underground
rail system.

 Double-decker buses
Hong Kong’s British heritage is betrayed
in these buses, of most use for trips to the
countryside.
P.161  ESSENTIALS

 MTR
Hong Kong’s efficient underground rail
system handles hundreds of thousands of
passengers daily.
P.161  ESSENTIALS

Contents Ideas
43

 Peak Tram
 Ferries
Enjoy being hauled up through the forest
covering Victoria Peak’s steep sides, on this An essential part of any visit to Hong Kong
old-style funicular railway. and Macau is the chance to view them from
the water.
P.60  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK P.162  ESSENTIALS

 Taxis  Trams
So popular in downtown areas of Hong These strangely anachronistic vehicles still
Kong that they’re considered by many as an run for kilometres between the skyscrapers
extension of the public transport system. lining Hong Kong Island’s north shore.
P.162  ESSENTIALS P.161  ESSENTIALS

Contents Ideas
44
Colonial Hong Kong Hong Kong’s
colonial heritage
is far less visible
than Macau’s, but
a few quaint (and
baffling) traditions
such as afternoon
tea and firing the
Noon Day Gun
survive, along with
several period
buildings and
monuments that
have somehow
avoided demolition
and now sit
isolated amongst the
 Clocktower
city’s futuristic high-rises. All that remains of the former trans-continental
train station, where passengers from Europe
once disembarked.
P.92  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI

 Flagstaff House
Fine Victorian building now housing a collec-
tion of Chinese teaware.
P.59  HONG KONG ISLAND:
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK

Contents Ideas
45
 Tea at the Peninsula
Classic English afternoon tea is served in the
lobby of Hong Kong’s most opulent hotel.
P.94  KOWLOON: TSIM SHA TSUI

 LEGCO building  Noon Day Gun


Former assembly hall for the Hong Kong This nineteenth-century relic is fired daily
Legislative Council; one of downtown at noon.
Central’s last old buildings. P.76  HONG KONG ISLAND: WAN
P.55  HONG KONG ISLAND: CHAI, CAUSEWAY BAY AND
CENTRAL AND THE PEAK HAPPY VALLEY

Contents Ideas
46
Traditional Hong Kong Although the
pervading futuristic
architecture masks
what little of
traditional Hong
Kong remains, the
older days linger
in the way people
act, what they eat
and (occasionally)
in the layout of a
few villages and
hamlets dotted
across the SAR.

 Old streets
Lanes such as Pottinger Street still retain
their original steep flights of stone steps.
P.57  HONG KONG ISLAND: MID-
LEVELS AND WESTERN

 Reading the future


At temples such as Wong Tai Sin you’ll see
people shaking canisters of “fortune sticks”
to see what the future might hold for them.
P.109  THE NEW TERRITORIES

Contents Ideas
47
 Tai O
Fishing village on Lantau with half the
houses built on stilts over the water.
P.125  LANTAU

 Tsang Tai Uk
This fortress-like village was built in the
1870s, and retains many traditional features,
despite being hemmed in by modern towers.
P.113  THE NEW TERRITORIES

 Traditional shops
Businesses in Sheung Wan still specialize
in items such as bird’s nest, sea slug and
ginseng.
P.67  HONG KONG ISLAND: MID-
LEVELS AND WESTERN

Contents Ideas
Contents Ideas
Places

Contents Places
Contents Places
51

Hong Kong Island:


Central and the Peak
Set on the north side of Hong Kong Island, Central is
where the city coalesced after the territory was seized
by the British in 1841. Businesses blossomed between

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak


enormous Victoria Harbour and the steep lower slopes
of the Peak, a narrow strip which today has become
the world’s most expensive piece of real estate. With
so little room, the mass of concrete and glass has had
no choice but to evolve upwards, creating a backdrop
of competitively tall towers interconnected by a web of
elevated walkways.
Central’s atmosphere is contemporary and upmarket:
the SAR’s banks all have their headquarters here, shop-
ping opportunities are for high-end clothing and jewellery
labels, and many of its clubs, bars and restaurants are
important places to be seen. For a contrast to this
otherwise overwhelming modernity, you can seek out
a few colonial buildings or unwind in Hong Kong Park,
whilst a trip up the Peak offers superlative views of the
city and a real break from street-level claustrophobia.

The Star Ferry Ferry over from Tsim Sha


Daily 6.30am–11.30pm, every Tsui: the sight of Central’s
6–12 min. Lower deck $1.70, air- skyscrapers, framed by the hills
conditioned upper deck $2.20. By and looming up as the ferry
far the best way to arrive in makes its seven-minute crossing
Central is by riding the Star of busy Victoria Harbour, is one
 T H E S TA R F E R R Y

Contents Places
52

CENTRAL & THE PEAK


0 100 m
P L A C ES

FIN
AN
CE
PIE ST
RR RE
ET
OA
D

CO IFC2
N Tower
T
EE

NA
TR

UG
NS

HT
MA

Airport Express &


GI L

RO

CENTRAL Hong Kong MTR Station


AD
CE

The
NT

Centre HAR
RA

B OU IFC Mall
@ ST RV
L

R IA I
ST TO EW
LE
E
N VIC ST
B I Central EE RE
JU QU ET
Market Exchange
DE

@ Square
S
VO

Central
EU

T Bus CO
X

SS NN
QU

T Terminal
RO

S
WE LA AU
EE

UG a
AD

T GH
b NS ST O
N’

E D
YU EA
CE

LI
S

ST
T PL AC E
NT

EN
ST
W

YU
RO

LI
EL

RA
AN

1
AD
LI

2
LE

c
NG

Y
ST
TO

RE

3
EET
N

E
ET

d TR
ST
TR

EA NE Central
RE
RS

4 TH LA
GE

ET

MTR A
ET
TTIN

T RE 5
W

E
ST
OO

7 e
6 RE
PO

ST DER
N
LA

8 R PED CHA
EET
NE

G 9 LA TER
WIN UI ROA
WA

ET
STR

D
AG
H LA

STRE

D’ f
M
NE

10 The STATUE
A

11
DH

12
N S

13 Landmark SQUARE
WY N D H AM

YN

14 E
15 NG US LEGCO
W

KSO

FO
16
WA
I
LAN KWAI h HO Building
NK 17 FONG E
IC
JAC

LA
g
Old Dairy Standard
ST

Chartered
ST

Farm Building
QUE
BANK

18 HSBC Old
EN’S
ICE
A R B UTH N O T ROAD

ROA Bank
D
ET

HO U

of China
TRE

E
S

S TR E ET
YS
AL

ERT ROAD
NE

ALB
L O W ER
GLE

E R AL BERT
U PP R Government
OA

House
D

Zoological AD
& Botanical RO
N
AD

Gardens R DE
GA
RO
Y

A N
A LB
Peak Tram
Terminal

Contents Places
53

ACCOMMODATION EATING & DRINKING


Conrad C Bit Point 12
Island Shangri-La D Bulldog 16
Mandarin Oriental A C Bar 13
Ritz-Carlton B California 13
Captain’s Bar A
Chippy 2
SHOPS Club 64 8
Blanc De Chine e D26 11
CRC Department Store b Fringe Club 18
Outer Islands Dymocks a Insomnia 15
Ferry Piers Joyce Boutique h Keg 14
Lane Crawford c Luk Yu Tea House 7

P L A C ES
Palette Collections M at the Fringe 18
Gallery f Man Wah 5
Bus Shanghai Tang e Nha Trang 1
Terminal Sun Chau Book and Post ’97 17
Antique Co. d Roof Garden 18
Teresa Coleman g Schnurrbart 10
T.W. Café 3
Thai Lemongrass 13
Tsui Wah 4
Yung Kee 9
Zhong Guo Song 6

MTR station

Victoria Harbour

Star Ferry
Pier N

Queen’s
Pier

EDIN
BUR
GH P
LACE
UE
EN
AV

B
AH

UE

Hong Kong
W

EN

Club
M

V
IA
TI

ME

Chater
TIM

LA
ROAD

Garden M
BE
TH
RAY

W
AL
K
MU R

Lippo A D M I R A LT Y
QU Centre H A R COURT ROAD
EE Tower 1
NS Admiralty
STREET

WA Centre
ST

Bank of Y
AR

China
DRAK
M

E S T RE Admiralty
TA

ET MTR
E
Y

V
RI
R O D NE

D Hong
EE Kong
TR
T ON Park
C OT Flagstaff
House
C
D

Contents Places
54

Victoria Harbour
Central is the best place from which to ponder Hong Kong’s magnificent Victoria
Harbour, from whose Cantonese label (Heung Gang or Fragrant Harbour) the
entire SAR takes its name. This safe haven for shipping was what attracted the
British in the first place, and after the colony became established, international
trading concerns – which depended entirely on maritime transport – were natu-
rally attracted here. Today, Hong Kong’s money-making enterprises have shifted
into Central’s towers, and the harbour is shrinking as land is reclaimed in order
to build still more skyscrapers: at 1km across, the harbour is half as wide as in
Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak P L A C ES

1840. This narrowing has drastically reduced the harbour’s ability to flush itself
clean and its water is dangerously polluted: 1.5 million cubic litres of untreated
sewage are discharged here daily, and new sewage treatment facilities await
completion.
Despite this, it’s still difficult to beat the thrill of crossing the harbour by boat;
alternatively, you can walk along Central’s landscaped waterfront for a view of the
maritime activity that originally made Hong Kong great – junks, ferries, motorboats,
container ships, cruise liners and sailing boats all pass through. Twenty thousand
ocean-going ships sail via the harbour every year, and thousands of smaller boats
depart from here on their way to the Pearl River estuary and China.

of the most thrilling images of mostly locals, so come prepared


Hong Kong. The portly vessels for crowds.
have been running since 1898,
and the current 1950s-style IFC2 and Exchange Square
green-and-cream livery and Connaught Rd and Finance St. Just
wooden decks and seating are west of the Star Ferry Pier is
charmingly anachronistic. This the International Finance
isn’t just a tourist sight though Centre, a business and shopping
– the double-decker boats carry complex overlooking the
about 100,000 passengers a day, Outer Islands Ferry Piers;
 VICTORIA HARBOUR

Contents Places
55
the complex’s IFC2 Tower point for the territory’s 200,000
is currently Hong Kong’s Filipina amahs, or maids, who
tallest structure at 420m high descend en masse on Central
– even higher than the Peak each Sunday to sociably picnic,
Tram’s upper terminus. Home shop, read, sing and have their
to the Hong Kong Monetary hair cut.
Authority, IFC2’s 88 floors are The most important of
so well proportioned that its Central’s surviving colonial
height is disguised until you buildings sits on the eastern
consciously measure it against side of Statue Square. Built

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak


adjacent structures, or see its in 1898, the former Supreme
upper storeys hidden by cloud. Court (now the LEGCO
Inland from the International building – home of Hong
Finance Centre, and accessible Kong’s Legislative Council), a
by a raised walkway, are the granite edifice with dome and
three pastel-pink, marble and colonnade, is the only colonial
glass towers of Hong Kong’s structure left in the square. This
Stock Exchange, sprouting is the SAR’s nearest equivalent
from Swiss architect Remo to a parliamentary building,
Riva’s Exchange Square. though its locally elected
The adjacent open piazza has members must be approved
sculptures by Henry Moore by the Chinese authorities
and Elizabeth Frink, while the in Beijing, and so it hardly
interior is entirely computer- constitutes an independent
operated: the buildings’ government.
environment is electronically
controlled, and the brokers Three banks
whisk between floors in state- Crossing the southern half of
of-the-art talking elevators. Statue Square and the busy Des
Voeux Road puts you right
Statue Square underneath Sir Norman Foster’s
The pedestrian underpass Hongkong and Shanghai
from the Star Ferry concourse Banking Corporation
emerges into Statue Square, (HSBC) headquarters, which
heart of the late-nineteenth-
 INTERIOR, HSBC
century colony, though now
uncomfortably bisected by
Chater Road. The northern
segment is bounded to the east
by the members-only Hong
Kong Club, housed inside a
modern, bow-fronted tower;
this is faced by the Mandarin
Oriental Hotel, which hides
an opulent interior inside a dull,
box-like casing.
Across Chater Road in
the southern half of Statue
Square, the statue itself is
that of Sir Thomas Jackson, a
nineteenth-century manager of
the Hongkong and Shanghai
Bank. This area is a meeting

Contents Places
56

Feng shui
Whatever the scale of a building project, the Chinese consider divination using
feng shui (literally “wind and water”) an essential part of the initial preparations.
Reflecting Taoist cosmology, feng shui assesses how buildings must be positioned
so as not to disturb the spiritual attributes of the surrounding landscape, which in
a city naturally includes other buildings. Structures must be favourably orientated
according to points on the compass and protected from local “unlucky directions”
(features that drain or block the flow of good fortune) by other buildings, walls,
hills, mountain ranges or water. It’s not difficult to spot smaller manifestations of
Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak P L A C ES

feng shui around buildings in Hong Kong, such as mirrors hung above doors or woks
placed outside windows to deflect bad influences. Water features create positive
feng shui (it is believed that wealth is borne along by the water), hence the price of
harbourview real estate; in contrast, the old Government House has very bad feng
shui: it’s cut off from the sea, is overlooked by high buildings, and some of the sur-
rounding skyscrapers are placed so that their corners point towards it – the feng
shui equivalent of being stabbed.

opened in 1986. The whole blocks that – by design – just


battleship-grey building is overtop the HSBC’s building. A
supported on eight groups of more serious conceptual rival to
giant pillars and it’s possible HSBC is I.M. Pei’s 315m-high
to walk right under the bank Bank of China, across Garden
and come out on the other Road to the east. Completed
side – a necessity stipulated by in 1990, Pei’s angular, dark-glass
the feng shui belief that the old building is visually striking and
centre of power on the island, overtowers the HSBC building
Government House, should by 145m, though the knife-
be accessible in a straight line like profile pointing skywards
by foot from the Star Ferry. offends feng shui sensitivities
You look up through the (see above) and the building
glass underbelly into a sixty- is disliked by many locals. The
metre-high atrium, with floors Old Bank of China, which
suspended from coathanger-like the new Bank of China Tower
structures and linked by long superseded, still stands next
escalators that ride through each to the HSBC. A solid stone
storey, and open offices ranged structure dating from 1950,
around the central atrium. The it’s now occupied by another
public banking facilities are on bank and, at the top, the China
the first two floors, so you can Club, a wealthy members-only
ride the first couple of escalators haven, reputedly home to some
from street level to have a look. very risqué artworks.
The bronze lions at the front
were saved from the bank’s Queen’s Road and Des Voeux
previous incarnation – one is Road
still scarred from World War II Queen’s Road has been
shrapnel wounds. Central’s main street since the
Next door to the HSBC 1840s, when, prior to land
is the headquarters of the reclamation, it was on the
Standard Chartered Bank, waterfront. Running south
a curiously stepped tower from it, just west of HSBC,
squeezed between opposing Ice House Street was named

Contents Places
57
tight with stalls selling women’s
clothes, silkwear, children’s
clothes, fabrics, imitation
handbags and accessories.
Southwest of these alleys, over
Queen’s Road, Pottinger
Street’s steps are similarly
clogged with stalls selling
ribbons, flowers, locks and other
minor items. In contrast, nearby

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak


on Queen’s Road is Lane
Crawford, one of the city’s top
– and most staid – department
stores.
Just west of Central Market,
at 99 Queen’s Road Central,
is The Centre, designed
by architect Denis Lau, and
by night one of the most
 S T R E E T, C E N T R A L eye-catching features of the
island’s skyline. The building’s
after a building that once stored horizontal bars of light change
blocks of imported ice for use colour constantly and perform
in the colony’s early hospitals; a dancing light show nightly at
following it uphill brings you 9pm: the best place to view the
onto Lower Albert Road, where spectacle is from the Peak or
the early-twentieth-century from the Kowloon waterfront.
Old Dairy Farm Building, in
brown-and-cream brick, today Lan Kwai Fong
houses the Fringe Club and the The network of streets south
Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a of Queen’s Road contains a
retreat for journalists, diplomats burgeoning array of trendy pubs,
and lawyers. bars, restaurants and clubs, at
Running west, Queen’s Road the heart of which is a sloping
and parallel Des Voeux Road L-shaped lane whose name,
(with its tramway) take in some Lan Kwai Fong, is now used
of the territory’s most exclusive to refer to the whole area. The
shops and malls. These include entertainment kicks off mid-
The Landmark shopping afternoon, with many places
complex, on the corner of remaining open until dawn. Lan
Pedder Street and Des Voeux Kwai Fong is mostly frequented
Road, which boasts a fountain by expats and Chinese yuppies
in its huge atrium and is a – a good district to meet young,
key hub in the pedestrian aspiring locals.
walkway system that links all
Central’s major buildings. The Zoological and Botanical
Whether you follow Queen’s Gardens
Road or Des Voeux Road Entrances on Glenealy and Albany
west from here, look out for roads. Daily 6am–7pm. Free. Perching
the parallel alleys which run on the slopes south of Upper
between the two, Li Yuen Albert Road, overlooking
Street East and Li Yuen Central, are the low-key
Street West; both are packed Zoological and Botanical

Contents Places
58
1

ST
N

AN
MTR station

LEY
2 ST

WE N LAN
ER

ST
DD

LLI
WO

QU
PE

NG
O

EE
TO

N’S
3

N
E
E ET
RE

RO
AHN 4
H LA ST

LA
W

AD
WGA R

NE
N
IN
WW
I
G
ILA
GU

ST
D'A

RE
5
EATING & DRINKING
WYNDHAM STR

ET
7 6 Bit Point 7
8 Bulldog 11
California 8
Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak P L A C ES

9
10 C Bar 8
NG Club 64 3
NFOG
11
WA I AFOI D26 6
K
W Fringe Club 13
NNK
LALA 12 Insomnia 10
E

Keg 9
ET

T M At The Fringe 13
R EE Post ‘97 12
ST Roof Garden 13
0 50 m A M
N DH Old Dairy Schnurrbart 5
WY
Farm Building Thai Lemongrass 8
13
R ALBERT Tsui Wah 1ST
WE Yung Kee L
L4
RO

E
LAN KWAI FONG LO D D 2
AD

Zhong Guo Song


DU

Gardens, which opened in 1864. the residence of Hong Kong’s


There’s a nice mix of shrubs, colonial governors from 1855
trees, and paved paths here, with until the SAR’s return to China
spectacular close-ups of the in 1997. Hong Kong’s current
upper storeys of the Bank of Chief Executive, Donald Tsang,
China Tower and the HSBC, but has also taken up residence here
the main draw is a small aviary, despite the building’s colonial
home to cages of rare cranes, associations and notoriously
songbirds, and all kinds of ducks. bad feng shui. The house is a
West across Albany Road (via an strange blend of styles (the
underpass) is a collection of apes, turret was added by the Japanese
including gibbons and orang- during World War II), and the
utans, along with one jaguar. gardens are notable for their
rhododendrons, azaleas and huge
Government House fish pond.
Upper Albert Rd. Gardens and parts
of the house open six times a year; Hong Kong Park
dates announced in the local press. Daily 6am–11pm. Free. South
Free. Government House was from the Bank of China across
 E D W A R D Y O U D E AV I A R Y

Contents Places
59

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak


 THE PEAK TRAM

Cotton Tree Drive, Hong Kong skyscrapers, its cool white


Park is beautifully landscaped walls, shutters, high ceilings and
in tiers up the hillside. Amongst polished wooden floors the
the trees and boulders are epitome of understated colonial
ornamental lakes and waterfalls charm. Its survival is down to
stocked with turtles and pelicans, the donation by one Dr K.S.
alongside which a continual Lo of his fine collection of
procession of brides pose for traditional Chinese teapots, cups
wedding photographs. Specific and wooden tea trays, which the
sights include a conservatory SAR authorities have put on
with dry and humid habitats display inside Flagstaff House
for its orchids, cacti and trees, as the Museum of Teaware
and the superb Edward Youde (Mon & Wed–Sun 10am–5pm;
Aviary (daily 9am–5pm; free), free), a suitably refined subject
designed as an enormous walk- for such a building.
through mesh tent, covering
a piece of semi-tropical forest The Lippo Centre
which is home to some eight Queensway. The Lippo Centre
hundred tropical birds. Despite is an eye-catching, segmented
their bright plumage, these structure of mirrored glass
can be surprisingly hard to designed by American architect
spot amongst the canopy, even Paul Rudolph. Supported on
with wooden walkways at huge grey pillars, interlocking
branch height. Elsewhere in the steel and glass spurs trace
park, look for flocks of noisy their way up the centre’s twin
cockatoos, which are white with hexagonal towers, creating
yellow crests; escaped pets, they an unmistakeable landmark
have a habit of damaging trees – though there’s nothing of
by ripping off branches and bark. interest inside.
At the northern corner of
Hong Kong Park, the elegantly The Peak
colonial Flagstaff House was The 552-metre heights of the
built in 1844 as the office and Peak – officially Victoria Peak
residence of the Commander - give you the only perspective
of the British Forces in Hong that matters in Hong Kong:
Kong. Today, it stands in down, and over Central and the
defiance of the surrounding magnificent harbour. Property

Contents Places
60
on the Peak, which is clad in turn later into Lugard Road,
woodland and is a popular Kowloon and Central eventually
retreat from the high summer come into sight. You can also
temperatures, has become the walk back to Central from
prerogative of the colony’s elite: the Peak Tower in around forty
residents include politicians, minutes, via a path through
bank CEOs, various consul- the forest which emerges onto
generals and assorted celebrities. Robinson Road near the Zoo.
The best way to ascend is
aboard the Peak Tram (daily
Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak P L A C ES

7am–midnight, every 10–15 Shopping


min; $30 return, $20 one-way),
a 1.4km-long funicular railway Blanc De Chine
which has been in operation Floor 2, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder St.
since 1888. The eight-minute Elegant and expensive designs
ascent tackles 27-degree slopes, loosely based on traditional
forcing you back into your Chinese clothes, mostly in silk
wooden bench as the carriages or cashmere.
are steadily hauled through the
forest. The ride begins at the CRC Department Store
terminal on Garden Road and Chiao Shang Building, 92 Queen’s
finishes at the Peak Tower, Rd. A good supply of Chinese
an ugly concrete structure specialities such as medicines,
generally referred to as the foods, porcelain and handicrafts.
Flying Wok. Its sole virtue is
the superb views from the top Dymocks
terrace, which encompass the Star Ferry Concourse. Cramped
harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui’s land store but very strong on books
reclamation projects and low- about Hong Kong and China,
tech concrete tower blocks, from glossy coffee-table works
right into the New Territories. to novels, local maps and hiking
Further vistas can be savoured guides.
across the road, from the upper
terrace of the Peak Galleria, a Joyce Boutique
touristy shopping complex full 16 Queen’s Rd. Hong Kong’s most
of shops and restaurants. It’s a fashionable boutique offers its
panorama that’s difficult to tire own range of clothing, as well
of – if you can manage it, come as many top overseas designer
up again at night when the brands.
lights of Hong Kong transform
the city into a glittering box of Lane Crawford
tricks. 70 Queen’s Rd. Hong Kong’s
You’re not yet at the top of oldest Western-style department
the Peak itself: four roads pan store, locally dubbed “Hong
out from the tower, one of Kong Harrods” and similarly
which, Mount Austin Road, upmarket. Worth checking for
provides a stiff twenty-minute seasonal sales.
walk up to the landscaped
Victoria Peak Garden. A Palette Collections Gallery
circuit of the Peak via shady Floor 5, 23 D’Aguilar St W www
Harlech Road takes around .palettecollections.com. Specialist
an hour. First views are of in upmarket Chinese paintings,
Aberdeen and Lamma; as you porcelain and antique furniture;

Contents Places
61

Restaurants
Café Deco
Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Rd, The Peak
T 2849 5111. Mon–Thurs 11.30am–
midnight, Fri & Sat 11.30am–1am,
Sun 9.30am–midnight. Exceptional
views and a stylish Art Deco
interior that extends through to

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak


the toilets. The menu includes
pizzas, curries, noodles, grilled
meats and oysters, or you
can just have cake and coffee
– there’s often also live jazz.
The location ensures relatively
high prices. Book if you want
window seats.

Chippy
51A Wellington St, entrance down
the steps on Pottinger St; no phone.
Mon–Fri 11am–3pm & 6–10.30pm,
 S H A N G H A I TA N G Sat 11am–7pm. The last authentic
British fish and chip shop in
contact in advance (through Hong Kong, whose tiny interior
website) for viewings. offers a couple of tables if you
don’t want a takeaway. Fries are
Shanghai Tang great, though fish is sometimes
Ground Floor, Pedder Building, 12 a bit mushy. A large plate of
Pedder St. Beautifully done up in battered cod and chips costs $85.
1930s Shanghai style, this store
specializes in new versions of Luk Yu Tea House
traditional Chinese clothing, 24–26 Stanley St, just west of
and they can also make to order. D’Aguilar St T 2523 5464. Daily
Expensive, though sales are 7am–6pm. A snapshot from
regular and good. the 1930s, with old wooden
furniture and ceiling fans, this
Sun Chau Book and Antique self-consciously traditional
Co. restaurant’s mainstay is dim
32 Stanley St W www.sunchau sum. Despite its local fame,
.com.hk. Quirky shop full of the quality of the food barely
old household bits and pieces justifies the tourist-infl ated
such as porcelain, photographs, prices. Upwards of $100 a head;
Cultural Revolution posters, and reservations essential.
even gramophone records from
the 1930s. M at the Fringe
2 Lower Albert Rd T 2877 4000.
Teresa Coleman Mon–Sat noon–3pm & 6pm–12.30am,
79 Wyndham St W www.teresacoleman Sun 7pm–midnight. Stylish
.com. One of Hong Kong’s best- restaurant much favoured by the
known antique dealers, with a glitterati for its boldly flavoured,
reputation for textiles. internationally influenced, health-

Contents Places
62
conscious meat, fish and veggie Thai Lemongrass
dishes. Around $300 a head. Floor 3, California Tower, 30 D’Aguilar
St T 2905 1688. Mon–Thurs
Man Wah noon–2.30pm & 6.30–11pm, Fri &
Floor 25, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Sat noon–2.30pm & 7–11.30pm, Sun
Connaught Rd T 2522 0111. Daily 6.30–10.30pm. Authentically spicy,
noon–3pm & 6.30–11pm. Subtle and complex flavours prevail at this
accomplished southern Chinese much-recommended long-time
food at connoisseurs’ prices favourite. They do standards
($500 a head and up), though like red curry and tum yam
Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak P L A C ES

the view outperforms the menu. gaeng (spicy prawn soup) very
The hotel’s Clipper Lounge is well, along with more unusual
also a good place for a formal dishes such as beef and mango.
English afternoon tea. Upwards of $200 a head.

Nha Trang Tsui Wah


88–90 Wellington St T 2581 9992. Daily 17–19 Wellington St; no phone.
noon–11pm. First-rate Vietnamese Daily 10am–8pm. Multi-storey
food, whose crisp, clean, and institution serving a huge array
sharp flavours make a nice break of inexpensive Cantonese fast
from more muggy Chinese food, but fishball noodle soup is
fare. The grilled prawn and the thing to go for – the stock is
pomelo salad, rice-skin rolls, and very good quality – along with
lemongrass beef are excellent, and Hai Nam chicken or the very
two can eat very well for $200. sweet deserts. Packed to bursting
at lunchtimes.
The Peak Lookout
121 Peak Rd T 2849 1000. Mon–Thurs T.W. Café
10.30am–11.30pm, Fri & Sat 2–10 Lyndhurst Terrace; no phone.
10.30am–1am, Sun 8.30am–11.30pm. Not only do they serve fine
This place used to be famous coffee here, but also large set
for its views, but has been breakfasts of egg and toast, fried
cruelly robbed of them by fillet of sole, or chicken steaks
the ugly Peak Tower. The for around $25. Window bar for
stone colonial building with people watching.
raked ceilings retains plenty of
atmosphere inside though, and Yung Kee
the food, with an Asian-Indian 32–40 Wellington St, on the corner with
slant, is still reasonable value for D’Aguilar St T 2522 1624. Daily 11am–
brunch or al fresco dining at 11.30pm. An enormous place
night. Reckon on around $200 with bright lights, scurrying staff
per head for a full meal. and seating for a thousand, this is
one of Hong Kong’s institutions.
Roof Garden Their roast goose and pigeon are
Top floor at The Fringe Club, 2 Lower superb, and the dim sum is also
Albert Rd T 2521 7251. Lunch good. Around $200 a head and
Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm. Bar Mon–Thurs highly recommended.
noon–midnight, Fri & Sat noon–3am.
Attached to a gallery, this bar Zhong Guo Song
and buffet has rooftop tables, 6 Wo On Lane T 2810 4141. Daily
and offers vegetarian all-you- 11.30am–10.30pm. Tiny, with
can-eat lunches for $65, and absolutely no decor, but the
tapas from $20 in the evening. straightforward, home-style

Contents Places
63
Expensive American
bar and restaurant with
a tiny dance floor on
which yuppies strut
their stuff. It’s been
around for too long to
be at the cutting edge of
anything, but can still be
fun on occasion.

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak


Captain’s Bar
Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
5 Connaught Rd T 2521
0111. Daily 11am–2.30am.
Knowledgeable bar
staff can provide you
with every cocktail
known to man, and the
 Y U N G K E E R E S TA U R A N T atmosphere is lively, with
an excellent Filipino
Cantonese dishes are fresh, band playing nightly 9pm–2am.
excellently cooked, and
inexpensive. C Bar
Ground Floor, California Tower, 30–32
D’Aguilar St T 2530 3695. Mon–Thurs
Bars and clubs 7.30pm–1am, Fri & Sat 7.30pm–2am,
Sun 2–10pm. Tiny corner-bar
Bit Point whose big draw is frozen
31 D’Aguilar St T 2523 7436. Mon–Sat cocktails dispensed with a giant
noon–2am, Sun 4pm–late; happy syringe. The associated C Club
hour 4–9pm. German theme-bar, downstairs pulls in hip and very
concentrating on meals until young crowds with Ibiza DJs
around 10pm, after which playing house music. A fun and
the bar starts selling industrial rowdy place.
quantities of lager and schnapps
as the jukebox blares. Club 64
Ground Floor, 12–14 Wing Wah Lane
Bulldog T 2523 2801. Happy hour is a long
Ground Floor, 17 Lan Kwai Fong 2.30–9pm. Mon–Sat noon–2am,
T 2523 3528. Mon–Thurs & Sun Sun noon–6pm. Down-at-heel,
noon–2am, Fri & Sat noon–4am; happy back-alley drinking den
hour 5–8pm. Fourteen-metre-long playing blues and rock to an
bar, plasma screen TVs tuned to enthusiastic, vaguely indie
world sports and a dart board crowd mast mights, many
– this bar and grill is for kicking of whom spill out onto the
back in and getting rowdy over pavement later.
a game of soccer.
D26
California 26 D’Aguilar St T 2877 1610. Small,
Ground Floor, California Tower, 30–32 low-key bar which is a good
Lan Kwai Fong T 2521 1345. Mon, place for a warm-up drink or if
Tues & Thurs noon–1am, Wed, Fri & you actually want a conversation
Sat noon–4am, Sun 6pm–midnight. with your companions.

Contents Places
Hong Kong Island: Central and the Peak P L A C ES 64

 C BAR

Fringe Club Hoegaarden. Popular with expat


2 Lower Albert Rd T 2521 7251. Brits who want more than
Mon–Thurs noon–midnight, Fri & Pilsner in their pint pots.
Sat noon–3am; happy hour 4–9pm.
The ground-floor bar of this Post ’97
theatre and art-gallery complex 9 Lan Kwai Fong T 2186 1816.
has good-value beers and live Sun–Thurs 9.30–1am, Fri & Sat
music, and there’s also a popular 9.30–2.30am. There’s a disco
rooftop bar. downstairs and a arty, bohemian
atmosphere in the bar upstairs,
Insomnia with a strong gay presence
38–44 D’Aguilar St T 2525 0957. Daily on Friday nights. Serves fry-
8am–6am. Street-side bar where, ups, sandwiches and all-day
early on in the evening at least, breakfasts.
conversation is possible. Later,
the house band plays covers Schnurrbart
at maximum volume to an Ground Floor, Winner Building,
enthusiastic dance crowd. 27 D’Aguilar St T 2523 4700.
Mon–Thurs noon–12.30am, Fri & Sat
Keg noon–1.30am, Sun 6pm–12.30am.
52 D’Aguilar St T 2810 0369. Long-established German
Mon–Thurs & Sun 5pm–1am, Fri & Sat bar with herring and sausage
5pm–2am. Decked out in wood snacks, and some of the best
and metal trim to resemble the beer around. Serious headaches
inside of a barrel, this place are available courtesy of the 25
has a big range of imported different kinds of schnapps on
beers, including Ruddles and offer.

Contents Places
65

Hong Kong Island:


Mid-Levels and
Western

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western


Central’s western boundaries are somewhat blurred, but
as you move uphill the area below Lyndhurst Terrace
is generally known as Mid-Levels, incorporating the
newly gentrified region of SoHo. It’s visually rather dull,
with no grand buildings from any era, and the major
pull is the growing number of swanky bars and restau-
rants. The Mid-Levels in turn blend imperceptibly with
Western, a cover-all term for the remaining downtown
districts west of Central, including Sheung Wan and Tai
Ping Shan. Here, it’s a few pockets of older buildings,
stepped market lanes such as Pottinger Street and
traditional stores which lend some atmosphere to the
otherwise bland modernity of waterfront expressways
and high-rises. The area’s biggest single attraction is
undoubtedly Hollywood Road, with its wealth of antique
and arts stores and the magnificent Man Mo temple.

Jamia Mosque and Ohel Leah been taken to restore the oak-
Synagogue carved and painted interior,
Caine Road is Mid-Levels’ although unfortunately security
main artery, leading past the concerns make it difficult to
Roman Catholic cathedral to simply drop in for a look round
Shelley Street, a left turn up – if you want to go in, bring ID
which is the Jamia Mosque, a and ask at the entrance.
focus for the territory’s fifty
 T H E M I D - L E V E L S E S C A L AT O R
thousand Muslims. The present
building dates from 1915, a
pale-green structure set in its
own quiet, raised courtyard
above the surrounding terraces
(there’s no public entry).
West on busy Robinson
Road, stairs lead down to
the whitewashed Ohel Leah
Synagogue, lurking in its own
quiet, leafy hollow below the
main road. The territory’s best-
known synagogue, it was built
by the wealthy Sassoon family
in 1902. Great care has recently

Contents Places
66

EATING & DRINKING Hong Kong-Macau


Ferry Terminal
2 Sardines 16 Jaspa’s 14
Bar 1911 9 La Kasbah 11
Bistro Manchu 13 La Pampa 8
Chippy 5 Lin Heung Tea House 2 SHEUNG WAN N
Dinamoe Hum 12 Muyu Zigan 4
Dublin Jack 3 Sherpa Nepalese
Fat Angelo’s 17 Cuisine 15
The Globe 7 Taichong Bakery 6
Golden China 1 Wyndham Street Deli 18
Ivan the Kozak 10 Yellow Door Kitchen 3
BO W
Shun Tak
NH
AM
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LO Western Centre
Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western P L A C ES

ST KS
RA T Market CO
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Dragon Culture bOA&D d W
Dynasty Antiques e Jamia
Roman
Gallery One f Catholic
Mosque Cathedral
Karin Weber Gallery h
L&E c
Shoeni Art Gallery g
Wing On a Zoological
Gardens
0 200 m
MID-LEVELS & WESTERN

The Mid-Levels Escalator staircases to go against the flow).


The Mid-Levels Escalator All told, it’s a twenty-minute
cuts up the hillside for 800m ride from bottom to top, or 45
from the footbridge across minutes if you have to walk.
Queen’s Road by the corner of
Jubilee Street, along Cochrane SoHo
Street and across Hollywood, The Mid-Levels Escalator
Caine and Robinson roads, makes it easy to reach a district
ending at Conduit Road. It recently christened SoHo, as
is capable of carrying thirty in South of Hollywood Road,
thousand people a day on although it now also extends
a one-way system, which north into Peel, Wellington and
changes direction during the Gage streets. There are dozens
day: uphill from 10.20am to of restaurants and bars here,
midnight, downhill from 6am opening, closing and changing
to 10am (use accompanying their name and cuisine every

Contents Places
67
month. The area’s daytime Terminal. Opposite is the
appeal is mainly down to a Western Market (daily 10am–
few old-style shophouses, and 7pm), whose fine Edwardian
while the tide of gentrification brick- and ironwork shell
is strong (florists, interior houses two floors of fabric
decorators and antique shops shops. For a typical Chinese
have all moved in), you’ll still produce market – involving
find the sort of practical outletsvast amounts of fruit, vegetables,
– butchers, hardware shops and freshly slaughtered meat
and rice sellers – that tell you – try Sheung Wan Market

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western


this remains a real Chinese on Morrison Street; the second
neighbourhood. floor is a mass of stalls (daily
6am–2am) serving all sorts of
Sheung Wan light snacks.
Sheung Wan begins pretty The streets due west of here
much west of Jubilee Street, and provide glimpses of the trades
though modern development and industries that date back to
has torn out many of the old Hong Kong’s settlement. Many
lanes and their street vendors, a shops on Wing Lok Street and
few – such as Wing Kut Street Bonham Strand specialize in
and Man Wa Lane – survive, bird’s nest and ginseng: the
and are full of stalls hawking nests are used to make bird nest
calligraphy brushes, clothes and soup, a gastronomic speciality
carved name stamps or “chops”. said to promote longevity; as
Sheung Wan’s most distinctive the nest is tasteless, however,
structure is the massive Shun the dish’s quality rests in the
Tak Centre; down at the soup itself. Ginseng, the root
waterfront on Connaught Road, of a plant found in Southeast
its twin towers are encased in Asia and North America, is
a distinctive red framework prescribed for a whole host of
and house the Macau Ferry problems, from reviving mental
 MAN SORTING GINSENG

Contents Places
68

Medicinal tea
Medicinal tea is an integral part of Chinese life, and is sold from open-fronted
shops where cups or bowls are ranged on a counter alongside ornate brass urns,
each hung with a label naming the concoction in Chinese. Despite the name, these
brews are made not from tea leaves but from various astringent medicinal herbs,
and – like most medicines – need to be drunk down in one gulp before you’ve had
a chance to taste them (the Cantonese term, fu cha, translates as “bitter tea”).
Popular in winter for driving off colds are ng fa cha (five-flower tea) and ya sei mei
(twenty-four flavour tea).
Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western P L A C ES

faculties in the aged, to curing furniture stores. There’s some


impotence – some of the larger wonderful Asian applied art
ginseng trading companies here – furniture, old and new
have venerable interiors decked ceramics, burial pottery, painted
out in teak and glass panels. screens, prints, jewellery and
Many shops in Ko Shing Street embroidery – and a group of
are dedicated wholesalers, more upmarket antique shops at
selling traditional Chinese the eastern end of Hollywood
medicines such as deer Road. As you move further west
antlers, crushed pearls, dried the selection becomes more
seahorses and assorted herbalists’ mixed (and prices get lower),
paraphernalia. Others lean with any number of smaller
towards kitchen supplies with places and pavement vendors
their piles of dried mushrooms, selling bric-a-brac and junk on
salted and preserved fish, dried parallel Upper Lascar Row. In
squid, oysters, sea slugs, scallops Victorian times this market was
and seaweed. infamous for its large number of
thieves, and dubbed “Cat Street”
Hollywood Road by the white population (after
Hollywood Road, and the “cat burglar”, according to one
streets nearby, form a run of story). The western stretch of
antique shops, curio sellers and Hollywood Road is renowned
 TEA SHOP

Contents Places
69

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western


 H O L LY W O O D R O A D

for its coffin makers, with some first attribute belongs to the
businesses specializing in silk god of literature, Man Cheong,
grave clothes. who protects civil servants (he’s
the red-robed statue wielding
Man Mo Temple a writing brush); the latter
Hollywood Rd. Daily 8am–6pm. Free. to the martial deity, Kuan
The Man Mo Temple is one Ti (represented by another
of Hong Kong’s oldest, built statue, in green, holding a
in the 1840s and equipped sword). Kuan Ti is based on
with interior decorations from the real-life warrior Kuan Yu
mainland China, all hung with of the Three Kingdoms Period
smouldering incense spirals. (around 220 AD), who was
The temple’s name derives protector of – among other
from the words for “civil” things – pawnshops, policemen,
(man) and “martial” (mo): the secret societies and the military.
 SPIRALS, MAN MO TEMPLE

Contents Places
70
The other altars in the temple University Museum and Art
are to Pao Kung, the god of Gallery
justice, and to Shing Wong, a Bonham Rd W www.hku.hk/
god of the city, who protects hkumag. Mon–Sat 9.30am–6pm,
the local neighbourhood. Sun 1.30–5.30pm. Free. Around
1km west from Tai Ping Shan
Tai Ping Shan (you’ll need to take a taxi),
Ladder Street is a steep flight The University of Hong Kong
of steps climbing up past the Museum and Art Gallery
Man Mo Temple, built to features an outstanding
Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western P L A C ES

ease the passage of nineteenth collection of Chinese art in


century sedan-chair bearers. two adjacent buildings. The
At the top and off to the right collection is continually rotated,
lies the district of Tai Ping but permanent displays include
Shan or “Peaceful Mountain”, a group of Yuan Dynasty
which by the 1890s had belied (1271–1368 AD) Nestorian
its name by becoming a place bronze crosses, which
whose overcrowded slums belonged to a heretic Christian
hosted outbreaks of plague. group living in northern China.
After a particularly virulent The ceramics collection
eruption in 1894 killed 2500 ranges from Neolithic pottery
people, the slums were cleared through to the later ruling
and a Bacteriology Institute dynasties; items from the Tang
built nearby, where that year Dynasty (618–907 AD) include
French researcher Alexandre some lively tri-colour-glazed
Yersin discovered that plague camels, horses and pottery.
was spread to humans by rat Also on show is white ceramic
fleas. Housed in an attractive ware from the Sui and Song
Edwardian building, the dynasties, including two Song
institute is now the Museum Dynasty porcelain pillows, both
of Medical Sciences (Tues– decorated with black and white
Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 1–5pm; line-drawings. More colourful
$10), though the dated medical are the Ming (1368–1644) and
equipment on display is less Qing (1645–1911) Dynasty
interesting than the area’s bowls and dishes, displaying
history, which is illustrated rich blues, greens and reds. In
with period photographs. other sections, you can find a
Tai Ping Shan district selection of woodcarvings and
also houses a cluster of old some furniture from the Ming
neighbourhood temples, near and Qing dynasties, laid out as a
the corner of Tai Ping Shan room, along with a broad range
Street and Pound Lane. First is of decorative items and Chinese
the Kuan Yam Temple, dating paintings of the period.
from 1840 and dedicated to
the Buddhist goddess of mercy.
The green-tiled Shui Yuat Shops
Temple opposite is dedicated
to Shui Yuat Paak, revered for Dragon Culture
his ability to cure illnesses – the 184 & 231 Hollywood Rd W www
statue was installed during the .dragonculture.com.hk. Upmarket
1894 plague outbreak in an antiques, such as Tang sculptures
attempt to quell the disease. and Qing furniture and screens.

Contents Places
71
Dynasty Antiques Shoeni Art Gallery
Ground Floor, 48–50 Hollywood Rd 27 Hollywood Rd. Agents for
W www.dynasty-antiques.com. Finely modern Chinese artists such
restored classic Chinese and as Chen Yu, who combines
Tibetan antique furniture, in a Chinese images with
cavernous store. Mid-range to Renaissance-era scenery. Many
expensive. of the artists are becoming
collectable and prices are fairly
Gallery One expensive.
31–33 Hollywood Rd. A huge

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western


selection of good-value semi- Wing On
precious stones and jewellery 226 Des Voeux Rd. Long-
– amber, amethyst, tiger’s eye, established Chinese department
crystal and much more; they store, for standard, day-to-day
will string any arrangement you goods.
want.

Karin Weber Gallery Restaurants


32A Staunton St W www
.karinwebergallery.com. Large 2 Sardines
selection of mid-price 43 Elgin St T 2973 6618. Daily
contemporary fine art and noon–2pm & 6–11pm. Small
regular pieces of antique restaurant that has built itself
furniture; they also organize a big reputation for reliable,
furniture-buying trips to reasonably priced French food.
warehouses on the mainland.
Bistro Manchu
L&E 33 Elgin St T 2536 9218. Daily noon–
188 Hollywood Rd W www.lneco.com. 2.30pm & 6–11pm. Moderately
A huge range of new decorative priced Manchurian food of
porcelain and old Chinese the hearty stew and dumpling
furniture at mid-range prices; variety – northern Chinese
reproduction furniture can also with a bit of Mongolian and
be made to order. Korean thrown in, served
 A N T I Q U E S H O P, H O L LY W O O D R O A D

Contents Places
72
in stylish East-meets-West comes with wax crayons and a
surroundings. paper tablecloth. Around $100
a head.
Fat Angelo’s
49A–C Elgin St T 2973 6808. Daily La Kasbah
noon–midnight. Extremely popular, 17 Hollywood Rd T 2525 9493.
noisy Italian joint serving up Mon–Sat 6.30–11.30pm. Heavy
enormous pizzas and a range wooden doors open into a red-
of pasta dishes. Two people can lit, intimate restaurant thumping
happily share one dish, making to the sound of Arabic beats. It’s
Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western P L A C ES

eating here a fairly inexpensive expensive (upwards of $200 a


night out. head) but their honey pastries
and lamb stew with dates make
Golden China it worthwhile.
9 Jubilee St T 2545 1472. Daily
8am–late afternoon. There’s a small La Pampa
English sign, but don’t expect 32 Staunton St T 2868 6959. Daily
any to be spoken inside – this noon–3pm & 6–11pm. Moderately
isn’t a problem, however, as this expensive Argentinian restaurant
small, comfortable Cantonese which does what it does
diner, which has been catering – barbecued steak, mainly
to Central’s office workers since – exceedingly well. You order
1963, has a limited menu along by weight, it’s grilled just how
the lines of roast duck or roast you want it, and served with
pork and rice; portions cost nominal quantities of vegetables.
$22–30.
Lin Heung Tea House
Ivan the Kozak 160–164 Wellington St T 2544 4556.
Ground Floor, 46–48 Cochrane St Daily from 7.30am. This famous
T 2851 1193. Mon–Fri noon–10.30pm, place relocated here from
Sat & Sun 5–10.30pm. It’s hard to Guangzhou (in China) around
tell if the deadpan atmosphere is 1950, and they’ve been so busy
deliberate stereotyping, but the since, they haven’t had time
food – chicken Kiev, lamb stew, to change the furnishings or
lots of cabbage and potatoes – allow their ancient staff to retire.
certainly is. Portions are decent, Fantastic atmosphere for dim
good value and tasty, but the sum, if you like crowded, lively
highlight here is donning a fur venues with inexpensive food.
coat and walking into
 L A PA M PA R E S TA U R A N T
the huge freezer for
a shot of vodka and a
photo.

Jaspa’s
28–30 Staunton St
T 2869 0733. Mon–Sat
10.30am–10.30pm, Sun
9am–10.30pm. A mix of
hearty European and
Mexican meals, with
a wide vegetarian
selection. Ideal for
children, as each table

Contents Places
73
Muyu Zigan if you ask. Set dinner at $220 a
26 Cochrane St; no phone. Daily head will leave you full for a day.
10am–9pm. The main sign is in
Chinese, but there’s a small one
in English over the doorway Bars and clubs
reading “Between Wu Yue”.
Great Shanghai-style snacks, Bar 1911
including spicy noodles, stewed 27 Staunton St T 2810 6681. Mon–Sat
Dongpo pork, little dumplings, 5pm–midnight, Sun 5–11pm. Ignore
and marinated cucumber slices. the “members only” sign – this

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Mid-Levels and Western


Portions are small, the idea is one of SoHo’s best-established
being that you order a selection. and most popular joints, offering
Inexpensive. comfortable seats and reasonable
noise levels if you want to talk.
Sherpa Nepalese Cuisine Not a bargain, but nowhere in
11 Staunton St T 2973 6886. Daily this area is.
11am–3pm & 6–11pm. Friendly
restaurant with an interesting Dinamoe Hum
range of vegetarian dishes, and 1st Floor, 28 Elgin St T 2521 2823.
excellent roti (Nepali bread). Tues–Sat 6–11.30pm. Local and
Inexpensive. international artists play nightly
at this tiny venue – there’s room
Taichong Bakery for an audience of just twenty.
32 Lyndhurst Terrace. Daily early Variable cover charge depending
morning–late afternoon. Sells take- on the band; food and drink
away Cantonese roast pork buns available.
and custard tarts so popular that
long queues form as each batch Dublin Jack
is removed from the oven. 37 Cochrane St T 2543 0081. Mon–Fri
8am–2am, Sat & Sun 11am–2am;
Wyndham Street Deli happy hour noon–8pm. Irish pub,
36 Wyndham St; no phone. Mon–Sat just under the escalator exit
7am–11pm, Sun 9am–6pm. for Lyndhurst Terrace. Draft
European-style deli offering Guinness, big portions of
moderately priced sandwiches, tasty Irish food, and room to
pastas, grills and salads, plus stand outside, as well as over a
wonderful cakes and desserts. hundred different varieties of
Good, reasonably priced (for whiskey.
Hong Kong) wine list.
The Globe
Yellow Door Kitchen 39 Hollywood Rd T 2543 1941.
6th Floor, 37 Cochrane St; entrance on Mon–Fri 7.30pm–late, Sat & Sun
Lyndhurst Terrace next to Dublin Jack 10.30pm–late. Cosy, friendly bar
(see below) T 2858 6555. Mon–Fri serving snacks, with a great
noon–2.30pm & 6.30–11pm, Sat jukebox and the best beer in
6.30–11pm. This refreshing and SoHo, including British and
friendly place offers an authentic European ales and Belgian
Sichuanese menu including wheat beer. Popular with locals
unusual items such as bitter after work, and can get rowdier
melon; they’ll make their dishes later on.
as spicy as you’d get in China

Contents Places
74

Hong Kong Island:


Wan Chai, Causeway
Bay and Happy Valley
Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley P L A C ES

Wan Chai and Causeway Bay, narrow strips of main


roads and high-rise development, together cover a four-
kilometre-long stretch of Hong Kong Island’s north shore.
At the western end, Wan Chai’s reputation for seedy bars
and clubs dates back to the 1940s, and was immortalized
a decade later in Richard Mason’s infamous but touching
novel, The World of Suzie Wong. Set against those past
excesses, present-day Wan Chai is fairly tame: soar-
ing rents and modern development have erased much
of the sleaze, though a rash of bars and clubs means
that it’s still a popular venue for a night out. Eastwards
along the main arteries of Gloucester, Lockhart and
Hennessy roads, Wan Chai blends seamlessly with
the densely packed shopping and residential district
of Causeway Bay. As is often the case in Hong Kong,
land reclamation has made a joke of the name, and the
district’s only surviving maritime function is as a typhoon
shelter, where ranks of junks and yachts huddle during
storms. The Eastern Cross-Harbour Tunnel from Kow-
loon exits here too, so it’s not a pretty area. There are
some attractions, however, including one of Hong Kong’s
best parks and a host of inexpensive places to stay and
eat. A kilometre south of Causeway Bay, Happy Valley
Racecourse is emphatically worth a trip on Wednesday
evenings, to wallow in the atmosphere of the horseraces
– the only legal outlet for gamblers in Hong Kong.

The Convention and Chinese in June 1997, and as


Exhibition Centre such is worth a visit; otherwise,
Convention Avenue.Of all the the building is of most interest
huge buildings looming over for its architecture.
Wan Chai’s harbourfront, the Two waterfront monuments
weirdest is the Convention here are usually swamped by
and Exhibition Centre, whose mainland Chinese tourists.
curve-roofed CEC Extension Built in 1999 to commemorate
resembles, more or less, a giant the handover, the glum,
manta ray. The extension was gravestone-like Reunification
where the British formally Monument bears the signature
handed Hong Kong back to the of Chinese President Jiang

Contents Places
75
Zemin, and stands in marked
contrast to the cheerfully golden
Forever Blooming Bauhinia
Sculpture. The orchid-like
bauhinia flower was adopted as
the SAR’s regional emblem in
1997, its five petals appearing on
Hong Kong’s red flag.
From the statues, a
harbourfront promenade leads

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley
west all the way to the Star
Ferry Pier in Central, though
current redevelopment may
necessitate detours. You can
also catch a cross-harbour ferry
(daily 7.30am–11pm; 10min;
$2.20) to Tsim Sha Tsui from
the Wan Chai Star Ferry Pier,
just east of the Exhibition  THE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE
Centre.
that change colour every fifteen
Central Plaza minutes to show the time.
Harbour Rd. Sited opposite the
Convention and Exhibition Lockhart Road
Centre, Central Plaza is another If Wan Chai has a main street,
notable architectural marvel it’s probably Lockhart Road,
– it’s the world’s tallest building running from east to west. Its
made of reinforced concrete heady days as a thriving red-
(374m). Triangular in shape, light district, throbbing with
it’s topped by a glass pyramid US marines on leave, are now
from which a 64-metre mast gone, but that’s not to say the
protrudes: the locals, always area has become anything near
quick to debunk a new building, gentrified. Many of the bars and
dubbed it “The Big Syringe”. As clubs here make a living from
if this wasn’t distinctive enough, fleecing tourists, and a walk
it’s lit at night by luminous neon down the street at night is still
panels, while the spire on top a fairly lively experience. Most
of the pyramid has four sections of the pubs and clubs between
Luard and Fleming roads are
 THE BAUHINIA SCULPTURE
rowdy until the small hours, and
it’s easy to get a late meal in the
hundreds of local restaurants.

The Pak Tai temple


Lung On St, South off Queen’s Rd East
along Stone Nullah Lane. Dawn to
dusk. Free. The Pak Tai Temple is
dedicated to Pak Tai, Emperor
of the North, whose task it is
to maintain harmony on earth
(and prevent flooding). It’s a
beautiful temple, especially the
roof, which is decorated in

Contents Places
76

Reunification Bauhinia
WAN CHAI, Monument Statue

CAUSEWAY BAY &


HAPPY VALLEY CEC

EXPO DRIVE EAST


Extension
MTR station Wan Chai

E
O DRIV
Star Ferry Pier
TRAL
EXPO DRIVE CEN

EX P
Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley P L A C ES

UE
CONVENTION AVEN B

FLEMING
Convention &
FENWICK PIER STREET Exhibition Centre a
HARBOUR ROAD
HARBOUR ROAD

ROAD
Hong Kong
Arts Centre Central
Plaza
FENWICK STREET

HARCOURT
ROAD GLOUCESTER
ROAD WAN CHAI
ROAD
G LOU CESTER

STEWART ROA
T
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6 JAF FE ROA D
7
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10

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12 13 14
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LOCKHART
LUARD ROAD

RO A D
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One 16 D
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EATING & DRINKING


STONE NULL

Carnegie’s 12 Joe Banana’s 7


LANE AH

Chee Kee Wonton 6 Kong King 15


Chiu Chow Dynasty 18 Lulu Shanghai 4
Chuan Bar Bar
Devil’s Advocate
8
16
Old China Hand
Padang
17
5
LUN
STR G ON N
EET
Dickens Sports Bar 1 Red Pepper 9
Dusk Till Dawn 11 The Royal’s 3 Pak Tai
East Lake Seafood 4 Saigon Beach 16 Temple
Fook Lam Moon 19 Tango Martini 14
Green Cottage 2 Wanch 10
Horse and Groom 13

the classic southern Chinese offerings from paper and


manner with green-and-blue bamboo – everything from
porcelain figurines of heroes and houses to cars – that are burned
undulating dragons. Inside the in order to equip the deceased
main hall, Pak Tai is represented for the afterlife.
by a tall, seventeenth-century
copper statue, seated on a throne The Noon Day Gun
facing the door. Up the steps Gloucester Rd.Causeway Bay’s
behind, four guardian figures sole visible colonial relic is a
flank a second image of the small ship cannon known as
ebony-faced and bearded god, the Noon Day Gun, celebrated
resplendent in an embroidered in Noel Coward’s song Mad
jacket. In a room off to the Dogs and Englishmen and which
left, craftsmen construct burial is, even today, detonated daily

Contents Places
77

0 200 m

Victoria Harbour Eastern Cross-


Harbour Tunnel

Causeway AD
Bay RO Victoria

RK
Park

PA
AD
RO KELLETT

IA
G

OR
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P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley
SH R

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CAUSEWAY BAY 4
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298 Computer Zone d
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LR
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D

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Vivienne Tam c
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OA

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ST
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Alisan A
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Happy Valley Beverley I


MORR

I CH

Rececourse Clean Guesthouse D


UN
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GR
NH

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King’s G
IL L

Luk Kwok H
ROA

Park Lane F
D

Renaissance Harbour View B


Racecourse Wang Fat E
Entrance Wesley J

at noon by a smartly dressed event, the gun itself is a bit


officer. There are many stories underwhelming, and just
to explain why, but the most placed in a railed-off garden.
widespread tells of how an
employee of the trading firm Victoria Park
Jardine Matheson once fired Daily 6am–10pm. Sited east of
off a salute to one of his Gloucester Road, Victoria
company’s ships, outraging Park is a flat, spacious spread
the governor (who had the of paving, sports fields, and
monopoly on this sort of ornamental borders. It’s
exercise), who ordered the busy around the clock, from
offence to be re-enacted martial arts practitioners going
daily at noon for evermore. through their routines and
Unless you catch the actual old men airing their songbirds

Contents Places
Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley P L A C ES 78

 T H E PA K TA I T E M P L E

in little cages at the crack of elderly Tin Hau Temple


dawn, to people cooling off (dawn to dusk; free) is sited
on benches under the trees at on top of a little hill and is
midday and football matches dedicated to southern China’s
in the afternoon. There’s also a sea goddess. Once sited on the
swimming pool (April–Dec seafront and now marooned
6.30am–noon, 1–5pm & inland, it’s not of great
6–10pm; adults $19, children importance, but gives an idea of
$9). A couple of times a year the the extent of Hong Kong’s land
park hosts some lively festivals, reclamation projects.
including a flower market at
Chinese New Year, a lantern Times Square
display for the Mid-Autumn The most startling fixture in
Festival and the annual candle- the Causeway Bay shopping
lit vigil for the victims of area is the beige blockbuster of
Tiananmen Square on June 4. a building that is Times Square,
Over Causeway Road from at the corner of Matheson
the park’s southeastern corner, and Russell streets. Spearing
and up Tin Hau Temple Road, skywards from a comparatively
small space at ground level,
 TIMES SQUARE
it exemplifies Hong Kong’s
modern architecture, where
space can only be gained by
building upwards and distinction
attained by unexpected design
– in this case, a vertical shopping
mall supported by great marble
trunks and featuring a cathedral
window and giant video
advertising screen. From the
massive open-plan lobby, silver
bullet elevators whiz up to the
shopping floors. At ground level
there’s a cinema and access to
Causeway Bay MTR station.

Happy Valley Racecourse


The only gambling legally
allowed in Hong Kong is on

Contents Places
79

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley
 C E M E T E R I E S , H A P P Y VA L L E Y

horseracing, and the Happy track. Entrance to the public


Valley Racecourse is the enclosure is $10; there you
traditional centre of this can mix with a beery expat
multi-million-dollar business. crowd, watch the horses being
It’s controlled by the Hong paraded before each race, and
Kong Jockey Club, one of the pump the staff to make sense
colony’s power bastions since of the intricate accumulator
its foundation in 1884, with bets that Hong Kong bookies
a board of stewards made up specialize in. Other options
of the leading lights of Hong include joining the hard-bitten
Kong big business. A percentage Chinese punters up in the
of the profits go to social and stands, mostly watching the
charitable causes and such is action on television ($20, plus
the passion for betting in Hong all the cigarette smoke you can
Kong that the racing season handle), or signing up for the
pulls in over $80 billion per Hong Kong Tourist Board’s
year. Come Horseracing Tour
The season runs from ($540–790 depending on the
September to mid-June and event), which will take you
there are usually meetings to the course, feed you before
every Wednesday night, an the races, get you into the
intense experience given the members’ enclosure and hand
crowds packed into the high out some racing tips: you need
stands surrounding the tight to be over 18 and have been in

Contents Places
Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley P L A C ES 80

 KI CHAN TEA CO.

Hong Kong for less than three of Trade with China), Parsee
weeks – take your passport to and Jewish inhabitants.
any HKTB office at least a day
before the race.
On the second floor of Shops
the main building at the
racecourse, the Hong Kong 298 Computer Zone
Racing Museum (Tues–Sun 298 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai. Warren-
10am–5pm; free) presents like place, full of shops selling
various aspects of Hong Kong’s new, secondhand, official and
racing history, from the early pirated computer gear.
days in Happy Valley through
the construction of the New Chinese Arts and Crafts
Territories’ track at Sha Tin 26 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai. A good
(see p.114) to the charitable selection of all types and qualities
projects funded by the Jockey of china in traditional styles, plus
Club. Racing buffs can also a few antique pieces – some
study champion racehorse items are very good value.
characteristics and famous
jockeys in the museum’s eight Just Gold
galleries and cinema. 452 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai. Local
chain specializing in fun,
The Cemeteries fashionable, cheapish designs for
Wong Nai Chung Rd. Daily 8am–6pm. young women.
Free. The series of terraced
hillside cemeteries west Ki Chan Tea Co.
of the racecourse provides 174 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai. Old
an interesting snapshot of men distribute the tea leaves
the territory’s ethnic and from their red-and-gold
religious mix during the cylinders in this no-nonsense,
mid-nineteenth-century, with well-established shop.
separate enclosures for Muslim,
Catholic, Protestant (the largest, Vivienne Tam
with a berth for Lord Napier, Shop 219, Times Square, Causeway
the first Chief Superintendent Bay. Funky shirts and dresses

Contents Places
81
in David Hockney-meets- Chuan Bar Bar
Vivienne Westwood style, often 20 Luard Rd, Wan Chai T 2527 8388.
featuring Chairman Mao and Daily noon–midnight. A smart
other icons of the East. Pricey. Sichuanese restaurant-bar
hung with wooden screens
and serving chilli fish fillets,
Restaurants “strange-flavoured” chicken
(a famous Sichuanese dish),
Chee Kee Wonton beancurd and bamboo shoots,
Ground Floor, 52 Russell St, aubergine with hot garlic sauce,

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley
Causeway Bay; no phone. Daily and more. Mains around the $60
11am–8pm. Small, low-key mark.
haunt with Chinese-only sign
(look for the packed interior East Lake Seafood
hung with Chinese prints and 4th Floor, Pearl City, 22–36 Paterson
antique-style wooden stools), St, Causeway Bay T 2504 3311.
serving some of the tastiest Daily 7am–noon. Cheerful, noisy
wonton noodles in town. Soups place packed with local Chinese
are $24. eating dim sum.

Chiu Chow Dynasty Fook Lam Moon


2nd Floor, Emperor Group Centre, 288 35–45 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai T 2866
Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai T 2832 6628. 0663. Daily 11.30am–3pm & 6–11pm.
Daily 11am–11pm. Gloomy decor Amongst Hong Kong’s finest
– the interior isn’t spacious and most famous Cantonese
enough for the heavy wooden restaurants, this is not the place
furniture – but top Chiu Chow to come if you’re skimping on
fare, including sour-plum goose, costs. House specialities include
deep-fried duck with taro, and bird’s nest in coconut milk,
the biggest range of Chiu Chow abalone, crispy piglet and crisp-
dumplings in town. $80 and skinned chicken. Count on
upwards per main. $500 a head.
 FOOK LAM MOON

Contents Places
82
Green Cottage Padang
32 Cannon St, Causeway Bay T 2832 J.P. Plaza, 22–36 Paterson St,
2863. Daily 10.30am–10.30pm. Causeway Bay T 2881 5075. This
This popular, family-run unpretentious place does a good
Vietnamese restaurant serves run of rendang (dry beef curry),
up, amongst other things, thirty satays, grilled seafood, mutton
different types of noodle soup curry and – especially – durian-
(pho) in pleasant but cramped flavoured desserts. A little pricey
surroundings. Everything for what you get, but good.
is good value for money, in Mains from $50.
Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley P L A C ES

particular the curried duck with


French bread. Red Pepper
7 Lan Fong Rd, Causeway Bay
Jo Jo’s T 2577 3811. Daily noon–11.45pm.
1st Floor, 86–90 Johnston Rd, Wan Sichuanese place favoured by
Chai (entrance on Lee Tung St) expats, which means it can get
T 2527 3776. Daily 11am–3pm very busy, has higher-than-
& 6–11pm. Hardly luxury warranted prices and pushy staff.
surroundings, but inexpensive The smoked duck and beancurd
Indian fare with tandoori are excellent. Set meal for two
specialities and views out onto $158; otherwise, count on $70
the busy street. per main.

Kong King Saigon Beach


117 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai 66 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai T 2529
T 2520 0988. Daily 11am–3pm & 7823. Daily noon–3pm & 6–10pm.
6–11pm. Plain, canteen-like Vietnamese place popular with
furnishings but the regional young travellers and locals
Chinese fare is tasty and because they stick to the basics
includes classic Sichuanese – grills, soups and cold rice
“sizzling rice” (deep-fried rice rolls – and cook them well.
cake with a light seafood soup They also do a large selection
poured over it at the table), of inexpensive spicy, meat-filled
hand-made noodles with French baguettes.
shredded pork and preserved
vegetables, plus a big range of
northern-style dumplings; you Bars and clubs
can eat well here for $100 a
head. Carnegie’s
53–55 Lockhart Rd T 2866 6289.
Lulu Shanghai Daily 11am–3am. The noise level
3rd Floor, Pearl City, Paterson St, here means conversation is only
Causeway Bay T 2882 2972. Daily possible by flash cards; once it’s
11.30am–2pm & 6pm–midnight. packed, hordes of punters keen
Fairly smart place to eat some to revel the night away fight for
of the best Shanghai dishes dancing space on the bar. Home
served in Hong Kong; try the of the much-talked-about topless
cold, marinated sliced duck; barman (Wednesday night), plus
sautéed fresh prawns; steamed occasional riotous club nights
dumplings; and fish slices served and regular live music.
in a taro “cup” with pine nuts
and sweetcorn kernels. Count
on $120 a head.

Contents Places
83
Devil’s Advocate and occasional live music. You
48–50 Lockhart Rd T 2865 7271. need to be (or look) 21 to
Daily 11am–late. Hugely popular get in and there’s a strict door
at the moment, especially with policy – men need a shirt with
young office workers and expats a collar.
– rotten juke-box selection,
though. Cheap soft drinks at Old China Hand
lunchtime. 104 Lockhart Rd T 2527 9174.
Mon–Sat 24hr, Sun 9am–2am. Pub
Dickens Sports Bar for hard-core drinkers, hung-

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley
Lower Ground Floor, Excelsior Hotel, over clubbers (who come for
281 Gloucester Rd T 2837 6782. breakfast), embittered, seedy
Mon–Thurs & Sun 11am–2am, Fri & expats acting the part, and those
Sat 11am–3am. This bar prides with a taste for loud music.
itself on re-creating an authentic
British atmosphere: the kitchen The Royal’s
dishes up genuine British pub 21 Cannon St T 2832 7879. Daily
grub, the TV airs British sitcoms, 11am–2am. Dark, rowdy Chinese
and there are English papers to bar where you can watch the
read. One of the few decent locals playing dice, accompanied
hotel bars. by a loud Cantopop soundtrack.

Dusk Till Dawn Tango Martini


76 Jaffe Rd T 2528 4689. Mon–Sat 3rd Floor, Empire Land Commercial
noon–6am, Sun 3pm–6am; happy hour Centre, 81–85 Lockhart Rd T 2528
5–11pm. Vaguely Mediterranean 0855. Mon–Fri noon–3pm & 6pm–
colours decorate this rowdy bar, 2am, Sat & Sun 6pm–2am. This
full of loud live music, raucous lounge-style bar-and-restaurant
staff, and hoarse punters. features comfy tiger-print
couches and chairs and more
Horse and Groom than 201 martinis, setting it
161 Lockhart Rd T 2507 2517. apart from most of Wan Chai’s
Mon–Sat 11am–4.30am, Sun gritty establishments. Chic and
7pm–4am; happy hour Sat 6–9pm, expensive – you’ll either love it
Sun 8–10pm. Large, dark venue or hate it.
with wreathes of wrought iron
and neon. The cheap drinks Wanch
and Western pub food attract 54 Jaffe Rd T 2861 1621. Mon–Sat
a good mixed crowd of expats 11am–2am, Sun noon–2am. A
and locals. Wan Chai institution, this tiny,
unpretentious bar is jostling
Joe Banana’s and friendly and has live music
23 Luard Rd T 2529 1811. – usually folk and rock – every
Mon–Thurs 11.30am–5am, Fri & Sat night. Also serves cheap,
11.30am–6am, Sun 5pm–5am; chunky cheeseburgers and
happy hour noon–10pm. sandwiches.
Unsophisticated American bar
with a late disco, fake palms,

Contents Places
84

Hong Kong Island:


the south side and
east coast
Hong Kong Island: the south side and east coast P L A C ES

Hong Kong Island’s south side and east coast, while


certainly not undeveloped, still offer something of an
escape from the north shore’s densely packed high-
rises. The south side, in particular between Aberdeen
and Stanley, features a long, fragmented coastline punc-
tured by bays and inlets, though you’ll have to share it
with a good number of other people at the weekend. The
beaches here are pretty enough, however, and there’s
further distraction in one of the SAR’s two theme parks.
Aberdeen and Stanley themselves pre-date the arrival of
the British in the mid-nineteenth century, though neither
is in any way traditional these days.
The north coast beyond Causeway Bay is less
immediately appealing, with the apartment blocks and
expressways continuing unabated as far as Shau Kei
Wan, though there’s an excellent cliff-top museum out
this way and the tram ride is entertaining. The island’s
southeast corner – while requiring a little bit more effort
to reach – has managed to remain as rural as anything
can be in Hong Kong, featuring some almost wild coastal
scenery (and a superb beach) out around Shek O.
 B O AT S , A B E R D E E N H A R B O U R

Contents Places
85
RD
IR
EATING
Jumbo Floating 2 EN
RE
S ER
VO
ABERDEEN

E
RD
Restaurant

ABE
Tse Kee 1
LOK Tin Hau
YUEN ST
Temple
MA IN R D

E EN

YUE FAT ST
CHENG TU RD
SAIGON

ER D

TUNG SING RD
ST

D
GR

OLD MAIN ST
AB N
WO
ABER EK
DEEN YU
NAN MING ST 1 RD
Fish PR AY Tai Wong IN
A RD
W U NAM ST MA
Market Shrine EN
ER DE
Bus Stop

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: the south side and east coast


Sampan AB
Pier
n E
ai Wa DG
Shek P

I
BR
AU
I CH
LE
AP

N
AP
LE
I C
HAU
B RI
D GE RD

A p Lei 2

0 200 m Chau

Aberdeen Aberdeen Main Road and


Bus #7 from Outer Islands Ferry Pier, Aberdeen Reservoir Road.
Central; #70 from Exchange Square, Aberdeen’s main points
Central; or #72 from Moreton Terrace, of interest, though, are the
Causeway Bay. Aberdeen was morning fish market (busiest
one of the few places on Hong before 10am) and the chance
Kong Island already settled to take a sampan ride around
when the British arrived in the the harbour – head to the
1840s – the bay here was used waterfront for either. The
as a shelter by the indigenous sampan rides (on demand, $50
Hoklos and Tankas, who fished after bargaining) cruise the
in the surrounding archipelago. straits between Aberdeen and
Today the town comprises Ap Lei Chau island opposite,
a tightly packed knot of tall offering photogenic views of
concrete apartment blocks houseboats jammed together,
and street-level businesses complete with dogs, drying
overlooking the busy harbour, laundry and outdoor kitchens,
where a few hundred of as well as boat yards and three
Aberdeen’s sixty thousand floating restaurants, which are
residents still live on sampans especially spectacular when lit
and junks. There are two small up at night.
temples amongst the high-rises:
the Tai Wong Shrine Ocean Park
(above the junction of W www.oceanpark.com.hk. Daily
Aberdeen Old Main St and 10am–6pm. $185, under-11s $93
Aberdeen Main Rd), dedicated includes all rides and entry. Bus #629
to a local god who protects from the Star Ferry Pier, Central.
fishermen and oversees the Filling a whole peninsula,
weather; and the solid stone Ocean Park is an open-air
Tin Hau Temple, built theme park and oceanarium;
in 1851, at the junction of it also features a pair of giant

Contents Places
86

MTR station
SHEUNG Tsim Sha Tsui
WAN Fortress Hill
Victoria CAUSEWAY BAY
Sheung Wan Victoria
CENTRAL Harbour Park Tin
Ma Wui KENNEDY WAN CHAI Hau
Central Causeway
Youth Hostel TOWN MID-LEVELS Admiralty Bay
 Mt.(269m)
Davis 
Victoria
Wan Chai
Racecourse
Peak
(552m) HAPPY
VALLEY
P L A C ES

ABERDEEN TUNNEL
Hong Kong Island: the south side and east coast

ABERDEEN

Aberdeen Harbour Floating


Restaurants
Deep
Ocean
Park Water
Ap Lei Bay
Chau
Middle
Island South
Bay

Lamma

 O C E A N PA R K
pandas, for whom a special $80
million, two-thousand-square-
metre complex has been created.
The first section, the Lowland
area, is a landscaped garden
with greenhouses, a butterfly
house, a 3D-film simulator
and a dinosaur discovery
trail, with full-sized moving
models. A cable-car hoists
you from here 1.5km up the
mountainside to the Headland
section and its frightening
“Dragon Roller-Coaster”, and

Contents Places
87
Museum of
North Point Coastal Defence Junk Bay
Lei
Yue
Quarry Mu
Bay n
Tai
Koo Sai
Wan Ho Shau Kei Heng Fa
Wan Chuen

Chai
Wan

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: the south side and east coast


Cape Collinson

Big Wave Bay

REPULSE BAY
Rocky Bay
Middle
Beach Turtle Shek O
Cove
South Beach
STANLEY
Tai Tam Bay

Stanley
Bay Cape D'Aguilar

0 2 km
SOUTH & EAST COAST

the self-explanatory “Abyss park with pagodas, traditional


Turbo Drop”. There’s also crafts and entertainment such as
one of the world’s largest reef Chinese opera.
aquariums, with a massive atoll
reef that’s home to more than Repulse Bay
two thousand fish, including Bus #6, #6A, #61, #64 or #260 from
giant rays and sharks. Looming Exchange Square, Central. Repulse
over the lot is the Ocean Park Bay’s name comes from the
Tower, 200m above sea level, ship HMS Repulse, from which
giving superb vistas from its the British mopped up local
viewing platform and panoramic pirates in the nineteenth
elevator. The Tai Shue Wan area century; during the colonial
below gives access to Middle period the area was known
Kingdom, a Chinese theme for the cocktail parties held at

Contents Places
88
the grand Repulse Bay Hotel. If it all proves too crowded for
Nowadays, the hotel has long comfort, try the nearby beaches
gone and the bay is lined by at Middle Bay and South
ubiquitous apartment towers; Bay, fifteen minutes’ and thirty
the beach itself is clean and minutes’ walk south around the
wide, though the water quality bay respectively.
isn’t great, and it’s backed by
a concrete promenade with Stanley
some unmemorable cafés. Bus #6, #6A or #260 from Exchange
On summer afternoons tens Square, Central. When Britain
Hong Kong Island: the south side and east coast P L A C ES

of thousands of people can seized Hong Hong there


descend on the sands – the were already two thousand
record is seventy thousand – but people living at the south coast
the atmosphere is always fairly settlement of Stanley, earning an
downmarket. Connoisseurs of income from fishing and piracy.
kitsch may want to amble down Today, it’s a small residential
to the little Chinese garden at place, with low-key modern
the end of the prom, where buildings surrounding Stanley
a brightly painted group of Plaza and Murray House, built
goddesses, Buddha statues, stone in 1843 for the British Army
lions and dragons offer some and moved stone by stone in
tempting photo opportunities. 1982 from its previous site in

STANLEY
RD

E
ILL AG
Y V
LE
EACH RD
N
S TA

S TA N L E Y B

Stanley
Main Beach
CA
RM
EL

Stanley Plaza &


RD

Murray House
ST
N EW

ARK Bus
1 2 YM ET ST
LE

LE Y

Tin Hau Stop


STAN

STANLEY MA
AN

IN ST
Temple
ST

TU
Stanley NG
TA
Market U W
AN
RD
WONG

Stanley M
A
Bay KO
K
RD
0 200 m N

EATING
Lord Stanley at
the Curry Pot 2
Stanley’s 1
St. Stephen’s Beach

Contents Places
89

P L A C ES and east coast


Hong Kong Island: the south side
 M U R R AY H O U S E , S TA N L E Y

Central, where the Bank of tram or bus #2 from Central to Shau


China now stands. Kei Wan, then a signed 1km walk
To the east, Stanley’s lively along Shau Kei Wan Main St. The
market (daily 10am–7pm) Museum of Coastal Defence
straddles the streets and alleys occupies the site of the Lei Yue
around Stanley Market Road, Mun Fort, built by the British
and is a good place to pick up in 1887 to defend Victoria
touristy clothing, crockery and Harbour. The bulk of the
souvenirs. More impressive is museum is set in the renovated
the small Tin Hau Temple redoubt, the exhibition rooms
on the western side of the reached by a maze of brick
peninsula, dating from 1767. tunnels. The museum covers
Interestingly, Tin Hau’s statue
 S T S T E P H E N ’ S B E A C H , S TA N L E Y
has to share the hall with a
dozen other deities of Taoist,
Buddhist, and local origins,
along with a darkened tiger pelt,
bagged nearby in 1942 – the
last ever shot in Hong Kong.
There are also lanterns and
model ships, reminding you of
Tin Hau’s role as protector of
fishermen, though there’s little
fishing done from Stanley these
days. Stanley’s best stretch of
sand is St Stephen’s Beach,
fifteen minutes south along
the shore, with a short pier, a
watersports centre, barbecue pits,
showers and decent swimming.

Museum of Coastal Defence


Shau Kei Wan W www.lcsd.gov.hk/
museum/history. Mon–Wed & Fri–Sun
10am–5pm. $10, free on Wed. MTR,

Contents Places
90
all stages of Hong Kong’s
maritime history, and exhibits Restaurants
include an opium-pipe display,
moving letters from prisoners- Happy Garden Vietnamese
of-war under the Japanese, and Thai
the richly embroidered satin Near the bus stop, Shek O. Daily
army uniforms of Ming and noon–10pm. One of several laid-
Qing dynasty soldiers, studded back places with outdoor tables,
with iron rivets. Outside, luridly coloured drinks, and
accompanied by stunning views excellent food – try the water
Hong Kong Island: the south side and east coast P L A C ES

of the rugged eastern end of spinach with blechan beef, or


Victoria Harbour, there’s a huge Thai fish cakes. Mains cost
marked trail past restored gun around $60.
emplacements, underground
magazines, a torpedo station and Jumbo Floating Restaurant
a gunpowder factory. Shum Wan Pier Drive, Wong
Chuk Hang T 2553 9111. Daily
Shek O 10.30am–4.30pm. Bus #75 from
Bus #9 from Shau Kei Wan (next Exchange Square, Central to Shum
to the MTR station); or Sunday Wan Pier then take an on-demand
only #309 from Exchange Square, ferry; restaurant sometimes pays
Central (hourly 2.10–6.10pm; last the homewards taxi fare if you
bus back departs Shek O at 7pm). spend enough. A Hong Kong
Shek O is an unpretentious institution, this ornate floating
village down at Hong Kong’s restaurant, done out with
southeastern reaches, with the coloured dragons and heaps
best beach on the island: wide, of gold and red paint, serves
with white sand and fringed seafood and dim sum from
by shady trees, it can get very 10.30am onwards, but the food
full at the weekend and the is overpriced at upwards of
water is sometimes not fit for $300 a head for a meal.
swimming. There are also a
few restaurants and expat bars Lord Stanley at the Curry Pot
in the village, and on Sunday 6th Floor, 90B Stanley Main St, Stanley
extra snack stalls open, serving T 2899 0811. Daily noon–3pm
the crowds who come down & 6–10.30pm. Friendly little
to swim. Unsurprisingly, Shek restaurant with ocean views
O is one of the most desirable from its sixth-floor windows,
addresses in Hong Kong, and and delicately judged Indian
there are some upmarket food from all regions. The set
pieces of real estate in the lunch is fair value, but you also
area. You can get a fl avour of can’t go wrong by choosing à la
things by walking through the carte – count on $100 a head in
village parallel with the beach either case.
and following the path up to
Shek O Headland for some Stanley’s
sweeping panoramas. 1st & 2nd Floors, 90B Stanley Main
For more space and fewer St, Stanley T 2831 8873. Daily noon–
people, Big Wave Bay is a midnight. Chic French restaurant,
half-hour walk north of Shek which – despite high prices – is
O, with another good beach, winning a lot of friends with its
barbecue pits and a refreshment imaginative, regularly changing
kiosk. menu, and bay views.

Contents Places
91

P L A C ES Hong Kong Island: the south side and east coast

 HAPPY GARDEN VIETNAMESE THAI

Tse Kee less than $30. There are two


80 & 82 Old Main St, Aberdeen. separate entrances, which can
Daily 10.30am–6pm. Well-known be confusing, but you end up in
noodle restaurant that does the same place whichever one
excellent fishball soup for you take.

Contents Places
92

Kowloon: Tsim Sha


Tsui
Kowloon, an English transliteration of the Cantonese
gau lung (“nine dragons”, after a ridge of hills here
since levelled to provide flat space for building), was a
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui P L A C ES

twelve-square-kilometre peninsula north of Hong Kong


Island on the Chinese mainland when the British added
it to their possessions in 1860. Land reclamation has
since more than doubled its size, and Kowloon is now
one of the most densely populated areas in the world,
nowhere more so than in the packed, frenetic water-
front district of Tsim Sha Tsui, where many visitors stay,
eat and – especially – shop. The quantity and the variety
of goods for sale here are staggering: in the kilometre
or so from the waterfront to the top of Kowloon Park,
a devoted window-shopper could find every bauble,
electronic gadget and designer label known to man.
Tsim Sha Tsui’s vibrant “get rich, get ahead” mentality
is echoed in the area’s markets, restaurants, bars and
pubs; this is one of the liveliest places in Hong Kong for
a night out. If it all sounds too gruesomely commercial,
there’s solace in the Cultural Centre and several muse-
ums, while Tsim Sha Tsui’s waterfront provides one of
the best views of Central’s skyline.

The western waterfront outside is a 45-metre-high


Tsim Sha Tsui’s Star Ferry clocktower, dating from 1921,
Pier is sited at Kowloon’s the only remnant of the grand
southwestern tip; immediately train station which once
welcomed rail services from
 S H O P P I N G M A L L , W E S T E R N W AT E R F R O N T
Europe. The ferry terminal
sits at the bottom of a series
of interconnected, upmarket
shopping malls running up the
western side of Tsim Sha Tsui’s
waterfront, one of the largest
such complexes in Asia. The
first section, Ocean Terminal,
is where cruise liners and
visiting warships dock; exclusive
boutiques line the confusing
maze of galleries that link
it with the adjacent Ocean
Centre, and, the next block
up, Harbour City – between

Contents Places
93

W
PO

D
TST

SH

OAD
R EC

W
BA
FE
ST
CHEONG LOK
AD

ST
KI N G ST N AN NANKING ST
RO
SHOPS
TSIM SHA TSUI

E ST

KE S
GA
Chow Tai Fook e 1 AN

TEMPL
RD

PA R
JORD
A
Elissa Cohen Jewellery
N ROA i JO X’
S JO
D CO RDA
N P AT

COX’S ROAD
Fortress f H MTR station
Johnson & Co. c

PILKEM STREET
Jordan MTR
E
KWU N CHUN G STRE

ST
ST
ST
Joyce h ST
Sam’s TailorsBOWR ING STR EET
a E 0 200 m
TA K S H I N G S T R E

WOOSUNG

PARKE S
TEMPLE
Swindon Book Co. Ltd d
SHANGHA I

RD
Traveller’s Home b

OI
N ATHA N ROA D
A U STI N R O A D

YU K C H
Yue Hwa Chinese AUSTIN RD
Products Emporium g Hong Kong
A
Museum
H I L LW O O D R O A D

US
Swimming of History

T
C L ATORY
CA N TO

TH
N

S C IE N
I
Centre A VE CH
NU

SO U
E

P L A C ES Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui


ER V

CE M U
CH

OBS
ORY RO A D A
N RO A D

CO THAM

D
China AT

H
M R
RV UR
E T

SE
Ferry OBS 2

UM
CE
RRA

THA
F O RD T E

RD
Terminal K N U TS
Y RO A D AD

CHA
Kowloon KI M B E
R LE ET RO
STRE
Park R LE Y G RA N V
I L LE
A KI M BE
CAR

IR
ROAD Science

I L LE
SC

LE C
Kung Fu IL LE
KO

GRA
M
GRAN Museum
NAR

NV
N VIL
W

B Corner A Q
LO

OK ST GR S
VON
ON

Kowloon 3 HAU FO D
C ROA
Harbour Mosque a MERON LN N
ROA

UT H
ER O
City CA CAM
D

ROAD SO
PA R K

UE ET
CA N TO

4 Tsim Sha AV E N RE
D Y’S A P R AT ST
Tsui MTR H U M P H R E A HA Y

M
D R IV

OD
N AD
D

OD
D RT
HAIPHONG ROA RO HA
N RO A

M RO

Y
b NO
IR 5
ON

LN
AVE

CH AT HA M

c C AR N A R V Y
E

6 OA OD
TSIM SHA TSUI E Mirador M
AD
D

D
Haiphong Mansions MODY ROAD RO
d
NAT HAN ROA D

Road Y
BLENHEIM
AVE

F R
MINDEN RO

Market 7 e MINDEN BU
LIS
f A VE 8
ASHLEY RO

g AD SA
PEKING RO G
9 Tsim Sha Tsui
HANKOW

Chungking h
10 i 11 East KCR Station
AD

D Mansions
One Peking MIDDLE ROA
12
ROAD

Road H New World


Hankow J I Peninsula Hotel Centre
Ocean
Ocean Centre Centre SAL IS B URY R O A D
Terminal Space
Hong Kong Museum ACCOMMODATION
Cultural Centre Dragon Inn G
Garden Hostel E
EATING K Inter-Continental K
Star Clocktower
AquaFerry 10 Napa 8
Museum Marco Polo Gateway D
Bahama
Pier Mama’s 2 Ned Kelly’s of Art Marco Polo Hong Kong H
Chao Inn 10 Last Stand 7 Marco Polo Prince B
D&J Shanghai 4 Someplace Else 12 Miramar A
Delhi Club G Spoon K Victoria Peninsula I
Felix I Spring Deer F Rooms for Tourist F
First Cup of Coffee 11 Stag’s Head 5 Salisbury YMCA J
Itamae Sushi 3 Tao Heung 6 Harbour Star Guesthouse C
Light Vegetarian 1 Watering Hole E Tai Wan Hotel G
Mrs Chan 9 Yan Toh Heen K Welcome Guesthouse G

them they boast several hotels, views. Back on Canton Road,


restaurants and a good number continue north and you’ll pass
of exorbitantly priced clothes the China Ferry Terminal,
and shoes stores. To exit the another block of shops and
mall at any stage, signs direct restaurants set around the
you out onto Canton Road, terminal for vessels shuttling
which runs northwards. East back and forth between China
off it, just down Peking Road, and Macau.
One Peking Road is Tsim Sha
Tsui’s first example of Central- The Peninsula Hotel
style modern architecture, a Salisbury Rd T 2920 2888, W www
160-metre-high, glassy, bow- .peninsula.com. The Peninsula
fronted edifice whose upper Hotel is one of Tsim Sha Tsui’s
floors are mostly restaurants, few throwbacks to colonial
all with excellent harbour times. Built in the 1920s next

Contents Places
94
The Hong Kong
Cultural Centre
Salisbury Rd T 2734
9009. Box office daily
10am–8pm. The Hong
Kong Cultural Centre
was built in 1980 to
provide a cultural hub
for this otherwise overtly
materialistic city. It
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui P L A C ES

contains a concert hall


and several theatres,
where events from
classical Italian and
Chinese opera through
to contemporary dance
are performed (contact
the box office for
current programmes).
Worthy though all this
is, the building itself
proves that you need
more than money
to create impressive
 A F T E R N O O N T E A AT T H E P E N I N S U L A H O T E L architecture: costing
six hundred million
to the train station, the hotel Hong Kong dollars, the building
offered a shot of elegance – astonishingly, given the
to Hong Kong’s weary new harbourside location – has no
arrivals who had just spent windows. The pink-tiled exterior
weeks crossing Europe, Russia is awkwardly shaped, with angled
and China by rail. It remains walls and outshooting ribs
one of the most expensive and creating a cloister surrounded by
stylish addresses in Hong Kong, a starkly paved area, dotted with
and still offers a taste of more palm trees. An adjacent two-
refined times in its opulent tiered walkway along the water
lobby, where afternoon tea is offers the view of the harbour
served (daily 2–7pm, $165 per and Hong Kong Island denied
person); you don’t have to be from the inside; come here at
staying, but note that dress rules night to see Central’s towers in
apply (see box below). all their chromatic glory.

Afternoon tea
Heading to a smart hotel for British-style afternoon tea (with cucumber sandwiches
and petit fours) is a Hong Kong institution. The Peninsula is the most magnificent
and “traditional” option, but there’s also the Inter-Continental (Salisbury Rd, Tsim
Sha Tsui); the Lobby Lounge at the Island Shangri-La (Two Pacific Place, 88 Queens
way, Central); the Tiffin Lounge at the Grand Hyatt (Harbour Rd, Wan Chai); and
the Mandarin Oriental (Connaught Rd, Central). Expect to pay upwards of $150 per
person for a set tea. Dress code is “smart casual”, meaning that shorts, sandals
and blue jeans are unacceptable.

Contents Places
95

P L A C ES Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui


 FINE JADE BOWLS, MUSEUM OF ART

Museum of Art the characters’ big noses and


Salisbury Rd W www.lcsd.gov.hk/hkma. beards. These all complement
Mon–Wed & Fri–Sun 10am–6pm. $10, the Chinese Decorative Arts
Wed free. The Museum of Art Gallery, whose costumes,
houses six galleries of mostly embroidery and textiles are
classical Chinese paintings, outstanding. The Historical
ceramics and historical artefacts, Pictures Gallery is of interest
though not much effort has for contemporary illustrations
been made to place them in by both Western and Chinese
any context. The Xubaizhai artists tracing the eighteenth-
Gallery of Chinese Painting and nineteenth-century
and Calligraphy features development of Hong Kong,
examples of superb penmanship Macau and Guangzhou (in
(in Chinese calligraphy, it’s China). The final fourth floor
the spirit of the brush-strokes Chinese Fine Art Gallery
which is most admired) and shows selections from three
some quirky scroll paintings thousand works, including
such as Jin Nong’s podgy Lone modern Chinese art and animal
Horse (1761). Next door, the and bird paintings.
Contemporary Art Gallery
hosts post-1950s work, including The Space Museum
silkscreen painting, calligraphy, Salisbury Rd T 2721 0226,
ceramics, and paintings by Hong W http://hk.space.museum. Mon
Kong artists in both Western and & Wed–Fri 1–9pm, Sat & Sun
Chinese styles. 10am–9pm. $10, Wed free. The
The high point of the third Chinese were the first to record
floor section on Chinese Halley’s Comet and the first
Antiquities is the display to chart star movements – the
of Tang dynasty (618–907 Space Museum traces these
AD) ceramics, from a period breakthroughs and the entire
when an unparalleled level of history of astronomy with
interaction between China hands-on displays, push-button
and the outside world fuelled exhibits, video presentations and
great artistic innovations. In picture boards. There’s also a
particular, the Tang tomb figures, Space Theatre ($32; 6–15 years,
streaked green and brown, students and senior citizens
show very “foreign” features in $16; under-6s free), where an

Contents Places
96
ever-changing selection of films Indian restaurants, and super-
(either on space or the natural cheap stalls for daily necessities.
world) is shown on the massive Side streets are also alive with
wrap-around Omnimax screen, similar possibilities. To the east
providing a thrilling sensory of Nathan Road, Granville
experience. Road is famous for its bargain
clothes shops, some of them
Nathan Road showcasing the work of new,
Nathan Road is Tsim Sha young designers, though you’ll
Tsui’s – and Kowloon’s – main also find clothing, accessory
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui P L A C ES

thoroughfare, running north and jewellery stores all the way


from the waterfront all the along Carnarvon, Cameron and
way to the New Territories. It’s Kimberley roads. To the west,
always packed, the pavements department stores and shopping
with extraordinarily thick centres include the large Yue
crowds, and the roads by fast- Hwa Chinese Products store
moving traffic. It’s not just the at the corner of Peking Road
neon along here that glitters, and Kowloon Park Drive, selling
but the shop windows too, full everything from traditional
of jewellery, the latest cameras, medicines to inexpensive leather
MP3 players and mobile phones, jackets and carved jade animals.
clothes, shoes and fine art. Even
window-shopping is a struggle Kowloon Park
nonetheless, what with the Daily 6am–midnight. There’s
crowds, hustlers and the insistent an escape from the teeming
hawkers. masses in Kowloon Park,
Nathan Road has its own which stretches along Nathan
shopping centres, the most Road between Haiphong
notorious of which are the and Austin roads. Parts of it
seething downmarket complexes have been landscaped and
of Chungking (nos. 36–44) styled as a Chinese garden
and Mirador mansions (nos. with fountains, rest areas, a
56–58), full of guesthouses, children’s playground, and two
 N AT H A N R O A D

Contents Places
97

P L A C ES Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui

 KOWLOON MOSQUE

bird collections – the wildfowl between 2.30pm and 4.30pm


(including flamingoes and every Sunday. Below it, at 105
mandarin ducks) outside in Nathan Road, is the large
landscaped ponds, the parrots Kowloon Mosque (no public
and other exotically coloured access), built in the mid-1980s
rainforest species contained in to replace a mosque originally
a small aviary. There’s also a built in 1894 for the British
swimming complex (daily Army’s Muslim troops from
8am–noon, 1.30–6pm & 7.30– India. It retains a classic design,
10pm; $21) and a sculpture walk. with a central white marble
The southeastern corner dome and minarets.
of the park is taken up with Leave the park at the southern
an open area known as the end and you can drop down to
Kung Fu Corner. Full of Haiphong Road and its small
practitioners from about 6am covered produce market at
every morning, it also hosts free the Canton Road end (daily
displays of various martial arts 6am–8pm).

Contents Places
98

China’s martial arts


China’s many martial arts mostly trace their origins back to Henan province’s
Shaolin Temple, where the sixth-century monk Boddhidharma developed exercises
to balance the inactivity of meditation. These evolved into fighting routines for
defending the temple, and were gradually disseminated into the rest of China.
Early morning is the best time to catch people training – Kowloon and Victoria
parks are especially popular. The large groups moving slowly through their rou-
tines are doing tai chi; specifically local styles include wing chun – which became
famous as being the first martial art Bruce Lee studied – and hung gar, associated
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui P L A C ES

with the nineteenth-century master Wong Fei Hung.

The Science Museum “Human Body” section in


Science Museum Rd W http://hk.science the basement, or the World
.museum. Mon–Wed & Fri 1–9pm, Population Meter, which counts
Sat, Sun & public holidays 10am–9pm. up – at a frighteningly fast rate
$25, Wed free;. The Hong – the earth’s population. Avoid
Kong Science Museum is Sundays if you can, since the
especially fun for children, attraction palls rather if you have
as there are plenty of hands- to wait in line for a turn at the
on exhibits. Subjects include best of the exhibits.
the workings of kitchen and
bathroom appliances, robotics, Museum of History
computers, mobile phones Chatham Rd South W http://hk.history
and other electronics, and .museum. Mon & Wed–Sat 10am–6pm,
even the most Luddite of Sun 10am–7pm. $10, Wed free. The
visitors should be tempted Hong Kong Museum of History
to push buttons and operate is an ambitious trawl through
robot arms with abandon. the region’s past, using videos,
Don’t miss the engaging look light shows, interactive software
at brain perception in the and life-sized reconstructions.
 PA C K E D S T R E E T I N T S I M S H A T S U I

Contents Places
99
The museum’s most interesting latest mobiles, MP3 players,
section is a reproduction digital cameras and laptops.
of a 1930s street with tea No bargains, but you won’t
shops that smell of tea, and a get ripped off either; a good
herbalist’s niche filled with a indicator for what you should
bitter, pungent aroma. Perhaps be paying locally.
what’s most surprising is that
these shops don’t look much Johnson & Co.
different from those in business 44 Hankow Rd. Tailoring for
in Mongkok and Sheung Wan mostly male customers (they

P L A C ES Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui


today, almost a hundred years were a favourite with British
later. Noticeable gaps include military personnel stationed in
little material on Hong Kong’s Hong Kong), this shop also deals
ethnic populations of Indians, in middle-of-the-road jewellery
Nepalese and Filipinos, and and watches.
scant coverage of events after
the 1997 handover. Joyce
23 Nathan Rd. Hong Kong’s most
fashionable boutique offers its
Shops own range of clothing, as well
as many top overseas designer
Chow Tai Fook brands.
Shops G1 & G2, Holiday Inn Golden
Mile, 50 Nathan Rd W www Sam’s Tailors
.chowtaifook.com. Chain with wide 94 Nathan Rd. A Hong Kong
range of gold, diamond and jade institution, as much for Sam’s
jewellery at mid-range prices talent for self-publicity as for
– a good place to get a feel for the quality of his clothes – he’s
local styles and costs. reputed to have made suits for
Bill Clinton, Jude Law and
Elissa Cohen Jewellery Pierce Brosnan.
209 Hankow Centre, 5–15 Hankow Rd
W www.elissacohen.com. Individual Swindon Book Co. Ltd.
designs, either new or based on 13–15 Lock Rd. One of Hong
antique European or Chinese. Kong’s best English-language
Very elegant, though they do bookshops, with a large section
tend to overdo things slightly on travel, local interest and
with encrusting gems. Chinese culture.

Fortress Traveller’s Home


14–16 Hankow Rd. A local 2nd Floor, 55 Hankow Rd. Eclectic
electronics chain selling the range of second-hand books,

Tailors and suits


As you’ll realize after being harassed by touts every few paces along Nathan
Road, Tsim Sha Tsui hosts an abundance of tailors specializing in making suits for
visitors. Many produce excellent work, but bear a few things in mind: suits made
in 24 hours tend to fall apart just as quickly (three days is a realistic minimum);
prices for good work are good value but not cheap (expect to pay about the same
as an off-the-peg suit at home); and you’ll usually have to pay half the cost up
front as a deposit.

Contents Places
100
travel guides in both English Chao Inn
and Chinese, plus presentations 7th Floor, One Peking Rd T 2369 8819.
by local travel writers and Daily 10am–10pm. The moderately
photographers. priced food – mainly cuisine
from Chaozhou in Guangdong
Yue Hwa Chinese Products province, featuring clear-skinned
Emporium dumplings, seafood and roast
1 Kowloon Park Drive. Long- meats – is a cut above average,
standing department store especially the roast goose
specializing in Chinese flavoured with sour plum, and
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui P L A C ES

souvenirs – everything from harbour views are an added


gift-wrapped medicines and bonus.
tea to reproduction antique
porcelain and massage chairs. D&J Shanghai
Particularly good for clothing 2nd Floor, Hanley House, 68–80
and trinkets. Canton Rd T 3113 6993. Daily
11am–midnight. Good place
for Shanghai cold dishes, hot
Restaurants meals, or just a quick snack of
xioalong bao (tiny steamed pork
Aqua buns). Slightly tourist-infl ated
29th Floor and Penthouse, One prices – mains cost $50 and
Peking Rd T 3427 2288. Mon–Thurs upwards.
noon–2am, Fri–Sun 10.30am–2am.
Enjoy superlative harbour Delhi Club
views from the sunken slate Block C, 3rd Floor, Chungking
tables, as you consume an Mansions, 36–44 Nathan Rd
unexpectedly successful blend T 2368 1682. Daily noon–2.30pm
of Italian and Japanese dishes. & 6–11.30pm. A Nepali
The atmosphere is informal, curry house with spartan
and the prices high – at least surroundings, slap-down
$400 a head. service, and an inexpensive set
 AQUA

Contents Places
101

P L A C ES Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui


 FELIX

meal that would feed an army. and fish tanks in between.


Also recommended for their Looks upmarket, but actually
vegetarian dishes, mutton and pretty reasonable at $10–40 per
tandoori specialities and clay colour-coded plate of (almost
oven-cooked naan. entirely raw) seafood.

Felix Light Vegetarian


28th Floor, Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Ground Floor, New Lucky House, 13
Rd T 2315 3188. Restaurant daily Jordan Rd T 2384 2833. A big
6–11pm; bar daily 6pm–2am. selection of tasty Cantonese
Architect-designed restaurant and Shanghai vegetarian dishes,
with incredible views of Hong with everything made out
Kong Island which alone of vegetables, gluten or tofu
warrant a visit. The Eurasian despite the names: sweet and
menu is not as good as it should sour “fish” (made from taro);
be at over $500 a head, but a “bird’s nest” basket with
many people just come for a fried vegetables; “yin-yang”
Martini at the bar. mushroom, corn and spinach
soup; and “duck” (marinated,
First Cup of Coffee fried beancurd skin packets).
12 Hankow Rd. Daily 7am–1am. Well worth it at around $55 a
Excellent coffee from around dish.
$15 a cup, plus home-made
croissants, torte, biscuits and Mrs Chan
toasted sandwiches. Basement, 63 Peking Rd T 2368 8706.
Daily 11.30am–10pm. Singapore-
Itamae Sushi Malay home cooking, very good
14 Granville Rd; no phone. Daily if you order the right things
11.30am–midnight. Conveyor- – including any of the seafood
belt sushi at the front, tables or satay dishes. Count on $120
and full menus at the back, a head.

Contents Places
102
Napa 6–11pm. Reckoned to be one of
21st Floor, Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong’s best for cutting-
Hotel, Salisbury Rd T 2733 8752. edge Cantonese cooking – and
Daily noon–3pm & 6.30–11pm. for the excellent service and
Excellent Californian food in amazing harbour views. Count
Art Deco surroundings, with on $800 a head for the works,
possibly the best view of the though a $600 set-menu relieves
harbour anywhere. Dining the pain a little.
here is expensive (upwards of
$400 a head), though a light
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui P L A C ES

lunch (Caesar salad, or grilled Bars and clubs


scallops, for instance) comes in
at under $200. Bahama Mama’s
4–5 Knutsford Terrace T 2368 2121.
Spoon Mon–Thurs 5pm–3am, Fri & Sat
Inter-Continental Hotel, 18 Salisbury 5pm–4am, Sun 6pm–2am. The
Rd T 2313 2256. Daily 6pm–midnight. beach-bar theme and outdoor
You’ll either love or hate this terrace attracts a party crowd,
expensive, cutting-edge French along with all their antics. One
restaurant: they serve some of the rare bars that is popular
intriguing dishes, with an with both gweilos and local
unusual blend of cooking styles, Chinese; for the best crack,
ingredients and sauces used in stump up the cover charge and
each. Above $600 a head. come along on club nights
where a mixed music policy
Spring Deer offers everything from garage
1st Floor, 42 Mody Rd T 2366 4012. to world.
Daily noon–10.30pm. Good-value
place noted for its barbecued Ned Kelly’s Last Stand
Peking duck (which is carved 11a Ashley Rd T 2376 0562.
at the table) among a barrage Daily 11.45am–1.45am. Dark
of northern-Chinese favourites, Australian bar with great live
such as baked fish on a hot traditional jazz after 9pm, plus
plate, smoked chicken, and good beer and meaty Aussie
beancurd with minced pork. food served at the tables. It’s a
$150 a head. real favourite with travellers,
and good fun.
Tao Heung
Floor 3, Silvercord Court, 30 Canton Rd Someplace Else
(entrance beside cinema on Haiphong Basement, Sheraton Hotel, 20 Nathan
Rd) T 2375 9128. Daily from 7.30am. Rd T 2721 6151. Daily 11am–2am;
First-rate and inexpensive dim happy hour 4–8pm. Upmarket
sum restaurant where you’ll singles bar, whose large, rowdy
need to come early for a two-floor bar-restaurant has
window-seat facing Kowloon live music, free popcorn nibbles,
Park. Try the white radish cake, Tex-Mex and Asian snacks and a
roast pork sheung fan (stuffed good cocktail list.
rice noodles), and the beef
rissoles with celery. Stag’s Head
11 Hart Avenue T 2369 3142. Daily
Yan Toh Heen noon–4am, happy hour daily noon–
Inter-Continental Hotel, 18 Salisbury Rd 10pm. Popular pub attracting
T 2721 1211. Daily noon–2.30pm & expats and tourists alike; almost

Contents Places
103

P L A C ES Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui


 N E D K E L LY ’ S L A S T S TA N D

always has Britpop plus beer, a small selection of beers. The


spirit and wine promotions. decor is nondescript, but there’s
a good mix of locals, expats
Watering Hole and tourists, the bar staff are
Basement, 1A Mody Rd T 2312 2288. friendly, and it’s big enough to
Daily 4pm–1pm. An enormous harbour lots of dark nooks and
subterranean bar with darts and crannies.

Contents Places
104

Kowloon: Yau Ma Tei


and Mong Kok
Yau Ma Tei, north of Jordan Road, was one of the
first areas to be built upon after the British acquired
Kowloon in 1860. The bucolic name (loosely meaning
Kowloon: Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok P L A C ES

“sesame fields”) has long been redundant – the area


being home to a grid of main roads and container port
projects – though a vibrant night market, plus Hong
Kong’s largest jade market and a temple of some repute
provide good reasons to come up this way. North of Yau
Ma Tei, Mong Kok is one of the most densely popu-
lated areas in the world, its main roads and backstreets
packed with decrepit tenement blocks where a good
proportion of the Hong Kong people spend their lives in
cramped, and occasionally grim, conditions. Despite all
this – and a reputation as the heartland of Hong Kong’s
Triad gangs – Mong Kok is not a threatening place, and
boasts several more excellent street markets. You can
also buy electronic goods and accessories at lower
prices than in Tsim Sha Tsui, and with less chance of
being ripped off – though note that the district is at the
heart of Hong Kong’s massive pirated computer soft-
ware industry.
Mong Kok’s northern limit is Boundary Street, which
until 1898 and the acquisition of the New Territories
marked the border with China.

Shanghai and Reclamation offering concrete proof that the


streets Cantonese demand absolutely
The streets north off Jordan fresh food, with fish, frogs and
Road are interesting places to turtles alive in tanks and buckets
browse amongst some low- for shoppers to inspect.
key businesses which serve the
locals’ daily needs. Shanghai Temple Street Night Market
Street contains an eclectic and Temple Street Night Market
attractive mix of shops and stalls (daily 5–11pm) is the most
selling items as diverse as bright- famous market in Kowloon,
red Chinese wedding gowns, crammed with stalls selling
embroidered pillow cases, tourist-oriented gear, including
lacquered shrines, statuettes, clothes (for men particularly),
chopping blocks, incense and Bruce Lee dolls and electrical
kitchenware. To the west, knick-knacks, household
Reclamation Street sports goods, watches, cheap CDs and
an intense produce market jewellery, while fortune-tellers

Contents Places
105

YAU MA TEI & BOUNDARY STREET


MONG KOK Bird
Market
Flower
Market

ROA P O
T ROAD
MARKE

D
FA YU

N
FLOWER

YUE
Prince Edward
MTR

ENSTREE
A
AD
A RD RO
E EDW
PRINC

T
N AT H A

P L A C ES Kowloon: Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok


Goldfish

SAI YEUN
N ROA Market

SAI Y
G
D

CHOI STRE

TUNG CH
RE ET Mong Kok
BUTE ST

EE ST
KCR
ET

OI

REE
STREET

T
OAD
KOK R
MONG

T
Mong Kok
TREE
FIFE S MTR B
REE T
LE ST
ARGY
1
TUNG

STREET
F A YU

NELSON
CHOI ST
NATHAN

EN

SAI YE
REET

MONG KOK
ST R EE
ROAD

E STRE
T

ST RE ET Ladies
ET

TU N G
SH A N Market
PO RT LA
SHAN
RECLA
CANT

TREE T
SOY S
N D ST
GHAI
ON R

M AT I

RE ET
STREE
OAD

ON S

T
S S TR EE
DUNDA
N
TREE

T
T

RE ET C
PI TT ST
2

OAD
LOO R
W AT E R
Yau Ma Tei
MTR
LANE
MAN MING

D
YAU MA TEI E
E
NG LAN
WING SI
MTR station
REET
UARE ST
PUBLIC SQ
EATING & DRINKING
Chuen Cheung Kui 1 Jade Tin Hau
Joyful Vegetarian 2 Market Temple

KANS
U STRE
ET
STREET

ACCOMMODATION
ET

Booth Lodge D
STREET

F
ATION
Y STRE

SAIGON PAK HO
Caritas Bianchi STREET
I STREET
RECLAM

GHAI
BATTER

Lodge E
SHAN

Dragon Hostel B G
ET

International House NINGP


E STRE
ROAD

O STRE
(YMCA) C ET Temple Street
Night Market
CANTON

TEMPL

Majestic G NANK
ING ST
Nathan F REET
0 200 m
JORD
Royal Plaza A AN R
OAD

Contents Places
Kowloon: Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok P L A C ES 106

 TEMPLE STREET NIGHT MARKET

and herbalists set up stalls in the The Jade Market


surrounding streets. If you’re Kansu St, Yau Ma Tei. Daily 9am–6pm.
lucky, there’ll also be impromptu Yau Ma Tei’s Jade Market
performances of Cantonese features several hundred stalls
opera. About halfway up the selling an enormous selection
street you’ll see an undercover of jade jewellery, statues and
area of alfresco seafood antique reproductions. In part,
restaurants with wobbly tables jade owes its value to the fact
and stools: a couple of plates that it’s a hard stone and very
of sea snails, prawns, mussels difficult to carve; it’s also said
or clams, with a beer or two, by the Chinese to promote
won’t be expensive (fish often longevity and prevent decay
is though – fix all prices in (royalty used to be buried in
advance), and it’s a great place to jade suits made of thousands
stop for a while and take in the of tiny tiles held together with
atmosphere. Some of the stalls gold wire). There are basically
even have formal English menus, two kinds of jade: nephrite
if you want to know exactly (which can be varying shades
what you’re getting. of green), and the rarer jadeite,
much of which comes
 C A M E R A S H O P, T E M P L E S T R E E T N I G H T M A R K E T
from Burma and
which can be all sorts
of colours. A rough
guide to quality is
that the jade should
be cold to the touch
and with a pure colour
that remains constant
all the way through;
coloured tinges or
blemishes can reduce
the value. However,
unless you know your
stuff, the scope for

Contents Places
107
crowded run of shops festooned
with all kinds of ornamental
and tropical fish in tanks and
fairground-like plastic bags, as
well as the necessary accessories
for displaying them in the
home. Goldfish especially are a
popular symbol of good fortune
and wealth in China (the words
“gold fish” sound the same

P L A C ES Kowloon: Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok


 THE JADE MARKET
as “gold surplus” in Chinese)
and are believed to invoke a
being misled is considerable, so trouble-free life; you’ll often
it’s more enjoyable to just poke see drawings of fish or fish-
around the stalls to see what shaped lanterns in temples or on
turns up for a few dollars – note display during Chinese festivals.
that all the serious buying is Consequently, great care is taken
over before lunch. with their breeding, and some
can cost thousands of dollars.
Tin Hau Temple
Temple St, Yau Ma Tei. Daily 8am–6pm. The Flower Market
That Yau Ma Tei was once A block northeast of the top
a working harbour is clear end of Tung Choi Street is
from the presence of the Tin Flower Market Road. There
Hau Temple, dedicated to the are dozens of inexpensive
ubiquitous southern Chinese sea flower and plant shops here
goddess. The small area fronting (daily 10am–6pm), and at the
the complex is usually teeming weekend many more vendors
with men sitting around or bring in trucks full of orchids,
gambling at backgammon and orange trees and other exotica,
mahjong, and people may ask crowding the narrow pavements
for alms as you go in. The main with stalls. It’s particularly
hall, in typical heavy stone, is good around Chinese New
around a century old; of the Year, when people come to
three other halls here, the one buy narcissi, orange trees and
to the left is dedicated to Shea plum blossom to decorate their
Tan, protector of the local apartments.
community, and the ones to the
 THE FLOWER MARKET
right to Shing Wong, the city
god, and Fook Tak, an earth god.

The Ladies’ and Goldfish


markets
Two more interesting markets
can be found in Mong Kok’s
Tung Choi Street. Between
Dundas and Shantung streets,
the crowded stalls of the
Ladies’ Market’s (active from
about 10am–5pm) sell mostly
inexpensive clothing. North of
Bute Street, the Goldfish Market
(same hours) is one long,

Contents Places
108
The Bird Market
Yuen Po St, off Prince Edward Rd, Restaurants
Mong Kok. Daily 7am–8pm. Mong
Kok’s Bird Market is housed Chuen Cheung Kui
in a purpose-built Chinese- 91–95 Fa Yuen St, Mong Kok
style garden. There are two or T 2395 9370. Daily 11am–midnight.
three dozen stalls crammed Hakka cooking from China’s
with caged songbirds, parakeets, Guangdong province – try the
mynah birds, live crickets tied salt-baked chicken or tofu cubes
up in little plastic bags (they’re stuffed with mince. Moderate
Kowloon: Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok P L A C ES

fed to the birds with chopsticks), prices make this a popular place
birdseed barrels and newly with locals, and there’s also an
made bamboo cages – minus English menu.
bird these start at $60 or so,
though the more elaborate ones Joyful Vegetarian
run into the hundreds. Little 530 Nathan Rd, Yau Ma Tei
porcelain bird bowls and other T 2780 2230. Daily 10am–11pm.
paraphernalia cost from around Inexpensive Chinese vegetarian
$10. It’s interesting just to watch meals, all beautifully presented
the local men who bring their – try the sweet and sour “fish”
own caged birds here for an with pine nuts. Like most
airing and to listen to them sing; vegetarian establishments, it
taking your songbird out for a serves takeaway meals out front.
walk is a popular pastime among
older Chinese men, one you’ll
see often in the more traditional
areas of Hong Kong.

Contents Places
109

The New Territories


The 794 square kilometres between Kowloon and the
Chinese border are known as the New Territories, home
to just under half of the SAR’s population. Dominat-
ing the landscape are the massive, purpose-built New
Towns, their towering housing estates, streets and shop-
ping malls often as busy and boisterous as anywhere in

P L A C ES The New Territories


Hong Kong, though lacking the intense claustrophobia
of Central or Kowloon. Yet hidden in amongst the New
Towns are nineteenth-century temples, some fascinating
museums and markets, and traditional walled villages
which have managed to retain their old identities, and
remain inhabited by the clans that built them.
The New Towns can’t completely obscure the essen-
tially rural nature of much of the New Territories, and
although it’s not as easy as it once was to spot water
buffalo, some country roads still feature teeming duck
farms and isolated houses. What’s more, large parts of
the New Territories have been designated country parks,
offering excellent hiking, rock climbing and coastal
walks; the easterly Sai Kung Peninsula is excellent for
outdoor pursuits, while the adventurous could see the
whole of the New Territories from a hiker’s viewpoint
by following the various cross-territory trails. Thanks to
public buses and the KCR rail lines, there isn’t any single
destination in the New Territories that can’t be reached
on a day-trip from Hong Kong’s downtown areas – which
is fortunate considering the scarcity of hotel accom-
modation in the area, though hikers can make use of a
couple of remote youth hostels (see p.152).
 W O N G TA I S I N T E M P L E
Wong Tai Sin Temple
Lung Cheung Rd. Wong Tai Sin MTR.
Daily 7am–5.30pm. Small donation
expected. Though lying just
inside Kowloon, the lavishly
decorated Wong Tai Sin Temple,
built in 1921, is well worth a
detour on your way into the
New Territories. Wong Tai Sin
(“Yellow Immortal”) was a
Taoist monk during the Jin
Dynasty (265–420AD) who
achieved enlightenment after
forty years of meditation and
became known for his healing

Contents Places
110

THE NEW TERRITORIES


Shenzhen
GUANGDONG (CHINA)

Sheung
N
MAI PO
MARSHES Shui
Sheung
Deep Bay Shui

Mai Po
The New Territories P L A C ES

Hong Kong Village


Wetland Park

Tin Shui Shui Tau


Wai Tsuen Village

Yuen Kam Tin Kat Hing Wai Tai Mo


Shan (957m)
Long Kam Sheung
Road Mac Lehose Trail
Tuen

R o u t e Tw i s k
Mun D
Tuen Mun
Sam Tung
M ac L Uk Museum
ehose Trail
Tsuen Wan
Wu King
Castle
Peak
Bay

Chek
Lap
Kok

Lantau
ACCOMMODATION
Bradbury Hall Youth Hostel C
Bradbury Lodge Youth Hostel A EATING
Pak Sha O Youth Hostel B Chuan Hu Xiao Chi 1
0 5 km Saigon Beach Resort E Lung Wah 2
Sze Lok Yuen Youth Hostel D Tung Kee Seafood 3

powers. The temple is Hong scores of fortune-tellers, who


Kong’s major Taoist shrine, and read palms, bumps, feet and
some three million people visit faces; some speak English and
annually to pay their respects, many display testimonials from
wish for long life and have satisfied customers – if you
their fortunes told. The temple’s want to find out your chances at
forecourt walls are lined with the races, this is the place to ask.

Hiking trail information


Hiking maps and information for all country parks and trails covered below can be
found at the Government Bookshop (see p.167), and online at W www.afcd.gov.hk.
English-language bookshops also stock the pocket-sized Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong,
with maps and trail accounts.

Contents Places
111

ED AREA Sham Chun River


OS
CL
Starling
Inlet
PLOVER COVE
COUNTRY
PARK
PAT SIN LENG
Bride's
COUNTRY PARK Pool
Tap Mun
Plover Cove Chau
Tai Mei Tuk

P L A C ES The New Territories


Reservoir l
A ne
Tai an
Tai o Ch B
Wo Po Tol SAI KUNG
1 WEST COUNTRY
Tai Po Tolo Harbour PARK
Market C
TAI MO SHAN Mac Lehos

eT
COUNTRY PARK

rail
Ma Liu Shui SAI KUNG EAST
University Pak Tam COUNTRY PARK
Ten Chung
Thousand Racecourse
Buddhas E
Monastery Sha Tin
Sha Tin
2 Sai 3 High Island
Tsang Tai Uk Kung Reservoir
Tai
Wai Che Kung Temple High
Amah LION ROCK Island
Rock Lion COUNTRY PARK Kiu
Rock Wong Tai Tsui
Kowloon Sin Temple
Tong Chau
i Sin
Hill
g Ta
ond

Mong
Tsim Kok
Won
Diam

Sha
TsuiKowloon Tai Au Mun
Hung Hom Beach 1
Beach 2
Central Clearwater Bay
Tin Hau
Temple
MTR line &
Joss House station
Hong Kong Bay KCR line &
Island station
Light Rail (LR)
AEL/Tung Chung
line & stations

The main temple building sought, and at Wong Tai Sin’s


with its statue of Wong Tai Sin festival, on the twenty-third
is often closed, but kneeling day of the eighth lunar month
crowds perpetually pack out (usually in September).
the front courtyard, everyone Behind the main building
burning incense and shaking is the Good Wish Garden
pots full of numbered bamboo (Tues–Sun 9am–4pm; $2), with
strips, known as “fortune Chinese pavilions, carp ponds
sticks”. When one falls out it’s and waterfalls.
exchanged for a piece of paper
bearing the same number, Lion Rock Country Park
which has a prediction written Tai Wai KCR. Use “Che Kung Miu”
on it. The busiest days at the exit, then follow Hung Mui Kuk Rd
temple are around Chinese New 900m to its end at the park entrance.
Year, when luck is particularly Free. Lion Rock Country Park

Contents Places
112
covers a wild ridge of
hills just south of the
town of Tai Wai, which
physically splits the
New Territories from
Kowloon. The trail
first heads up for about
thirty minutes from the
park entrance to Amah
Rock (also known as
The New Territories P L A C ES

Yearning for Husband


Rock), said to be a
woman who turned to
stone waiting for her
husband to return from
fishing. Young women  CHE KUNG TEMPLE
make the pilgrimage
up here during the Maiden’s general Che Kung, who is –
Festival, held on the seventh amongst other duties – the god
day of the seventh lunar month of gamblers, the black-roofed
(usually in August). From stone building dates to 1993,
here, Lion Rock is a further its entrance marked by a crowd
hour: continue past a shelter at of fortune-tellers, palm readers
Kowloon Pass, then head left and incense sellers. Inside,
onto the MacLehose Trail (see beyond the courtyard, is a ten-
p.118). Here you bear right at metre-high, aggressive-looking
another smaller shelter, and then statue of the general with a
leave the path to scramble up to drawn sword and a collection
two peaks formed by the lion’s of brass fans, which people turn
“head” and “rump” – on a clear for luck.
day the views over Kowloon Che Kung’s festival is held on
and the harbour are superb. the third day of Chinese New
Lion Rock is also a popular spot Year (in January or February),
for rock climbing – the best when – gambling being so
source of information on which important to the Chinese – the
is W www.hongkongclimbing temple is heaving with people
.com, which provides practical coming here to pray for good
details for a score of routes in luck.
Hong Kong, and links to local
clubs and climbing
 T S A N G TA I U K
centres.

Che Kung Temple


Che Kung Temple KCR.
Follow signs to the temple
for 250m. Daily 9am–5pm.
Free. The austere Che
Kung Temple is worth
a brief look on the
way to the nearby
Tsang Tai Uk village
(see p.113). Dedicated
to the Song Dynasty

Contents Places
113
Tsang Tai Uk people – concentrated today in
Che Kung Temple KCR. Follow signs to Hong Kong and the southern
the village for 500m. Small donation Chinese provinces – were
expected. Tsang Tai Uk (literally dislodged hundreds of years ago
“The Tsangs’ Mansion”) is one by warfare in their homelands
of the New Territories’ lesser- in central China, and have never
touristed walled clan villages, been sure of their welcome in
built by a Hakka family in the places they subsequently settled.
1870s. Though it is somewhat Indeed, hakka translates as
dilapidated, a visit here provides “guest family”, indicating their

P L A C ES The New Territories


an insight into how many of the perpetual status as outsiders.
New Territories’ families used
to live until skyscrapers and Sha Tin
freeways began to dominate the Sha Tin – Sandy Fields – is a
area in the 1980s. sprawling development built
A triple gateway leads into the either side of the Shing Mun
village, which includes a central River; Sha Tin KCR is the
courtyard, wide alleys, a network station for the town itself.
of high-ceilinged rooms and Home to more than half a
the shabby clan ancestral hall. million people, it’s a good place
The most obvious traditional to experience life in a New
feature is the four watchtowers Town, especially in shopping
at each corner of the outer wall, malls such as New Town Plaza,
whose high, rounded eaves are which offers a view of modern
adorned with spikes to keep bad local life and manners: it’s solidly
luck away. The community is Chinese, with crowded shops
still active, the village’s alleyways and good-value restaurants full
choked with bicycles, gas of local families.
canisters, discarded furniture and Aside from the Ten Thousand
drying washing. Buddhas Monastery (see
Fortress-like clan villages p.114), the town’s best-
are a Hakka speciality, as these known sight is the Sha Tin

New Towns
In 1898, when the New Territories were first leased to Britain, fewer than ten
thousand farmers and fishermen lived in the area. Today, the regional population
stands at some 3.5 million, mostly housed in nine New Towns, which were built in
response to Hong Kong’s population explosion in the decades following World War
II. Each New Town is designed to be self-sufficient, and for the majority, they offer
a better environment to live in than the crowded tenement slums of Mong Kok or
the outer reaches of Kowloon. Although residential living space in the New Towns
is similarly limited, more is provided here in the uncluttered layout of public ameni-
ties, civic and leisure services, shops, markets and transport infrastructure.
It’s worth taking the time to look round a New Town, if only to see the environ-
ment in which most local people live, and what can be achieved in just a few years,
given a coherent planning programme. Sha Tin is perhaps the most attractive
example, since it’s splendidly sited and has had time to acquire a certain character.
The most dramatic development, though, is occurring opposite the airport at Tung
Chung on Lantau Island’s north shore (the first New Town outside the New Ter-
ritories); although still under construction, it’s slated to become a major residential
and business centre in its own right.

Contents Places
The New Territories P L A C ES 114

 A NEW TOWN

Racecourse (Racecourse KCR stations W www.heritagemuseum


KCR; open race days only; .gov.hk. Mon & Wed–Sat 10am–6pm,
W www.shatinracetrack.com), Sun & public holidays 10am–7pm.
some 3km northeast. Along $10, Wed free. The Hong Kong
with Happy Valley, this is the Heritage Museum is the SAR’s
only legal outlet for betting largest museum, though it’s
in Hong Kong, despite the really of more interest for
local Chinese obsession with its travelling shows – which
wagering varying amounts of tend to showcase excellent
their pay packet. It’s packed and informative collections
on race days during the season of Chinese art and historical
(Sept–June), with meetings artefacts – than its lacklustre
held on Wednesday evenings or permanent exhibitions. The best
Saturday and Sunday afternoons. of these is the Cantonese Opera
Entry is $10, or you can visit Heritage Hall, full of flamboyant
with the Hong Kong Tourist costumes, embroidered shoes,
Board’s Come Horseracing stage props, and mock-ups of
Tour ($540–790 depending on traditional stage sets. The Gallery
the event), which gets you into of Chinese Art features fine
VIP-only parts of the enclosure: Chinese ceramics, bronze, jade,
you need to be over 18 and lacquerware and stone sculptures;
have been in Hong Kong for while the New Territories
less than three weeks – take Heritage Hall has archeological
your passport to any HKTB remains dating back to 4000
office at least a day before the BC, accounts of Hong Kong’s
race. The biggest annual event various Chinese ethnic groups,
is the Hong Kong Derby in plus information about ancestral
March, a two-kilometre race for worship, feasts and festivals.
four-year-olds, which attracts an
international crowd. The Ten Thousand Buddhas
Monastery
The Hong Kong Heritage Sha Tin KCR. Follow signs for 800m.
Museum Daily 10am–5pm. Free. The Ten
Man Lam Rd, Sha Tin. Signed 600m Thousand Buddhas Monastery
walk from Sha Tin or Che Kung Temple is an appealingly shabby temple

Contents Places
115
the seventeenth
century. Though
it’s developing
rapidly, a few sights
remain and it’s
conveniently close
to the countryside
at Plover Cove.
For train
enthusiasts, the

P L A C ES The New Territories


Hong Kong
Railway Museum
(Shun Tak St,
 THE TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS MONASTERY 800m to the right
from the station
dating from the 1960s, set via Nam Wan Rd, Wan Tau
at the peak of Po Fook Hill. St, Heung Sze Wui St, Po
About four hundred steep steps Heung St, Wai Yi St and On
ascend to the monastery from Fu Rd ; Mon & Wed–Sun
behind the Grand Central Plaza 9am–5pm; free) has a small
Shopping Centre, lined by exhibition of photographs
five hundred life-sized, gilded and restored coaches dating
statues of Buddhist saints. You back to 1911. More traditional
emerge onto a terrace beside sights include the beautiful
the main temple, which has Man Mo Temple (Fu Shin
an undistinguished exterior St, near the museum off On
but houses around thirteen Fu Rd; dawn to dusk; free),
thousand small black-and-gold a shrine to the Taoist gods of
Buddha statues, each about a War and Literature, surrounded
foot high and sculpted in a by interesting old shops
different posture, lining the selling dried seafood, religious
walls to a height of thirty paraphernalia and other
feet or more. The building Chinese wares. Towards the
also contains the embalmed main altar, prayers have been
and gilded body of a monk, written on red plastic plaques
the founder of the monastery. dangling inside the enormous
Outside on the terrace there’s hanging incense coils, which
a small pagoda, along with can burn for weeks.
some shoddy, brightly painted North of the Lam Tsuen
concrete statues of Chinese River the town’s Tin Hau
deities, including a lion and Temple (Ting Kok Rd; free)
elephant (representing the was built around three hundred
Buddhist gods of Wisdom years ago and reflects Tai Po’s
and Benevolence). Vegetarian traditional importance as a
lunches are also available, either fishing centre. It’s also one of
off the menu or from a better- the main venues for celebration
value canteen selection. and devotion during the
annual Tin Hau festival (see
Tai Po p.165), when the whole place
Tai Po Market KCR. Tai Po, is decorated with streamers,
near the east coast halfway banners and little windmills:
to the Chinese border, has if your visit coincides you
been a market town since can catch Cantonese opera

Contents Places
The New Territories P L A C ES 116

 P L O V E R C O V E C O U N T R Y PA R K

performances on a temporary Leng Country Park – the


stage over the road. name means “Eight Immortals
Peak” and the trails through it
Plover Cove and Pat Sin Leng follow a string of ridges north
country parks to Starling Inlet (around 10km)
Plover Cove Country Park or west and then south back to
occupies a rugged east coast Tai Po (15km). The hikes are
peninsula north of Plover Cove great exercise and have fabulous
Reservoir, whose dam wall coastal views, as the hilltops are
has turned a former marine bare granite, with low shrubs
bay into one of Hong Kong’s on upper slopes and lightly
major water sources. The access wooded lowlands. Neither
point is Tai Mei Tuk hamlet requires special skills, beyond
(bus #75K from Tai Po Market being reasonably fit – gradients
KCR), comprising a clutch are steep, so take plenty of water.
of houses, food and drink
stalls, the Bradbury Lodge Youth Sheung Shui
Hostel, and a visitors’ centre Sheung Shui KCR. Sheung Shui
(Mon, Wed–Sun 9.30–11.30am is only 3km from the Chinese
& 1.30–4.30pm) providing border, and is worth a visit as an
hiking advice. From here you unpretentious place where you
can either follow the road can see ordinary people going
around the reservoir or hike about their daily activities. The
cross-country for 5km to main part is Shek Wu Hui, an
Bride’s Pool, a pretty series interconnected block of streets
of forested waterfalls, popular typifying a down-to-earth New
with picnickers. Other trails Territories’ market town, a
from here continue downriver jumble of cheap clothes stalls,
a few kilometres to Chung herbalists’ shops, canteens and
Mei, an abandoned village Hakka women on their way to
once populated by farmers and market laden down with goods
scallop gatherers; and 5km north and bags. The food market off
to the shores of Starling Inlet, the main San Fung Avenue
from where you can return to is excellent but not for the
Tai Mei Tuk via Pat Sin Leng’s squeamish; it’s stuffed with fruit
pathways (see below). and vegetables, preserved eggs
Tai Mei Tuk is also the starting and live fish, crabs and prawns,
point for hikes into Pat Sin and freshly slaughtered fowl.

Contents Places
117
The other part of
Sheung Shui is Po
Sheung Tsuen, the
original village over to
the west. It’s an almost
medieval raggle-taggle
of buildings with
dank alleys between
the houses, just wide
enough for one person

P L A C ES The New Territories


to walk down. The
houses are a strange
mixture, some brand-
new with bright tiling,
 S A M TA N G U K
others just corrugated
iron and cheap plaster.
The eighteenth-century Liu developments over in China,
Man Shek Tong ancestral hall with boardwalks, hides and a
(Wed & Thurs, Sat & Sun, 9am– comprehensive information
1pm & 2–5pm; free) is the only centre.
sight here as such, still in use
by the locals and retaining its Sam Tung Uk Museum
original crumbly surroundings, Kwu Uk Lane, Tsuen Wan. Follow
carved and decorated in signs from Tsuen Wan MTR for 100m.
traditional fashion. Wed–Sun 9am–5pm. Free. Sam Tung
Uk Museum is an eighteenth-
Mai Po Marshes century Hakka walled village,
Best visited between October founded by a clan from China’s
and May, the Mai Po Marshes Fujian province. As the New
are a site of international Town of Tsuen Wan went up
importance for migratory around it in the 1980s, the
waterfowl such as Dalmatian villagers moved out and it
pelicans and black-faced became a museum, unlike Hong
spoonbills. One access point Kong’s several accessible Hakka
– for dedicated birders only – is villages which are still lived in
the isolated Mai Po Nature today.
Reserve near Mai Po village, The name means “three-
run by the WWF (T 2526 4473, beamed dwelling”, after the
W www.wwf.org.hk/eng/maipo; three-roofed halls that form the
a taxi from Sheung Shui KCR central axis, onto which new
costs about $60), with floating housing was added as the village
hides for bird-watching. grew; there’s a common room
The other place worth seeing for villagers; a central hall for
is the Hong Kong Wetland banquets and gatherings; and
Park near Tin Shui Wai (T 3152 an ancestral hall painted bright
2666, W http://afcdnewsite red and green, which faces the
.sunnyvision.com/others/ main entrance. The village’s
wetlandpark/html-en/index- separate buildings are connected
en.htm; Tin Shui Wai KCR by narrow lanes – open-air
and then Light Rail to Wetland corridors really – and display
Park), a more accessible but traditional farming implements,
contrived area of reclaimed some beautiful blackwood
ponds looking across to highrise furniture, and more functional

Contents Places
118
chairs, tables, cooking utensils 22km from its western end at
and cleaning tools (all sourced Tuen Mun.
from contemporary villages in
China). Outside, the gardens Kam Tin
have been landscaped to show Kam Sheung Rd KCR. Kam Tin
where there would have been township is famous for its
a threshing ground and a fish outlying walled villages, though
pond, and there’s a gatehouse these are not now particularly
beyond, which would have traditional. Kat Hing Wai
guarded the entrance to the (take exit B from the KCR,
The New Territories P L A C ES

village. cross the small footbridge, turn


left and follow Kam Sheung
Tai Mo Shan Rd to the intersection, turn
Train to Tsuen Wan MTR, then bus #51 right onto Kam Tin Rd and
from the Tai Ho Rd flyover behind the walk for 100m; daily 9am–5pm;
station, to the junction of Route Twisk $1) is the best known, with
and Tai Mo Shan Rd. Looming high square walls and a moat, and
above Tsuen Wan, at 957m Tai has been inhabited for four
Mo Shan is Hong Kong’s highest hundred years by the Tang
peak, contained inside Tai Mo clan. It was infamous as a
Shan Country Park. The trail centre of resistance to the
to the peak starts on Route British takeover of the New
Twisk, the road running west of Territories in 1898, for which
the mountain. Ten minutes up the iron gates of the village
adjacent Tai Mo Shan Road is a were confiscated – they were
visitors’ centre (Mon, Wed–Sun returned in 1925 after having
9.30am–4.30pm; T 2498 9326) been found in Ireland. Today,
with details of all the local trails; Kat Hing Wai is somewhat
there’s also accommodation if commercialized, its buildings
you walk further up Tai Mo badly restored, and the main
Shan Road at Sze Lok Yuen street lined with souvenir stalls
Youth Hostel (see p.153; 30min). and Hakka ladies posing for
The exposed, three-hour climb photos in traditional garb.
along a concrete track to the About 600m north over a
peak takes in broad views south canal from here on Shui Tau
over Kowloon; at the top you’re Road, Shui Tau Tsuen village
just off the MacLehose Trail, is bigger, though new building

The MacLehose Trail


The MacLehose Trail is a hundred-kilometre-long hiking route west from Pak Tam
Chung on the Sai Kung Peninsula to the New Town of Tuen Mun, divided into ten dif-
ferent stages. In addition to 21 campsites (concentrated mostly around the Sai Kung
Peninsula end of the trail; see W www.afcd.gov.hk for facilities and locations), there
are three IYHF youth hostels near the trail: Sze Lok Yuen hostel at Tai Mo Shan, and
Bradbury Hall and Pak Sha O hostels on the Sai Kung Peninsula (see p.152–53) – all
accommodation must be booked in advance. You could do the whole trail in four or
five days, but most people take it more slowly, particularly in the summer heat. The
terrain is largely steep, bare or lightly vegetated hillsides with spectacular views
(especially of the easternmost sections’ coast, with brilliant blue sea, secluded
beaches and rugged hilltops); lower valleys and gulleys have pockets of forest.

Contents Places
119

P L A C ES The New Territories


 C L E A R W AT E R B AY

on the outskirts has destroyed The Sai Kung Peninsula


the sense of a walled settlement, The Sai Kung Peninsula
and many of the old buildings encompasses 75 square
are decrepit. The elegant carved kilometres of unpolluted
roofs are still apparent, though, headlands, coves, woodland
and a walk around the tight and beaches in Hong Kong’s
alleys reveals an ancestral hall easternmost reaches. Some parts
and the elderly Tin Hau Temple. are very wild, but there are also
marked paths and lots of quiet
Clearwater Bay places for a picnic, despite the
Bus #91 (#91R on Sundays) from peninsula’s increasing popularity.
Diamond Hill MTR. Clearwater Bay Sai Kung town (bus #92
is a broad inlet at the mainland’s from Diamond Hill MTR or
southeastern extremity. Tai Au Choi Hung MTR) is the main
Mun is the only settlement, gateway, a pleasant blend of
boasting two beaches, the small fishing port and low-key tourist
#1 and the much bigger #2, retreat with a daily fish market
the latter 5km to the south and (6–11am), some good seafood
packed with weekend crowds. restaurants serving “bamboo
From the bus stop at beach fish”, and a few bars. You
#2, follow the road uphill for can catch kaidos (on-demand
500m to where a marked path ferries) from the jetty here to
leads up onto the peninsula’s nearby islands and beaches; the
exposed ridge and runs most popular trip is the short
for about 3km, providing run across to Kiu Tsui Chau
marvellous seascapes before (Sharp Island, about $25 return),
you descend to the venerable whose small main beach at Hap
Tin Hau Temple on Joss Mun Bay, hemmed in by green
House Bay. This is a major site headlands, is one of the prettiest
for Hong Kong’s annual Tin in the area, although prone to
Hau celebrations (see p.165), weekend crowds.
but is otherwise a quiet and Bus #94 (daily 6.30am–9pm)
simple whitewashed structure, runs from Sai Kung’s bus
whose entrance is guarded by terminus to Pak Tam Chung,
two stone lions: turn the balls start of the MacLehose Trail and
in their mouths three times site of the Sai Kung Peninsula
for luck. visitors’ centre (Mon, Wed–Sun

Contents Places
120
isolated bays along Sai
Kung’s northern coast.
There’s not much to
do on grassy Tap Man
Chau island, however,
except get lunch at one
of the cheap restaurants
near the pier; there’s no
accommodation on the
island, so don’t miss the
The New Territories P L A C ES

last boat back.

Restaurants
Chuan Hu Xiao Chi
Tai Ming Lane, Tai Po T 2657
6838. Daily 11am–10pm.
Just off the main
 KCR TRAIN square towards the Tai
Po Hotel, this kitsch
9.30am–4.30pm; T 2792 7365) little restaurant with green
and nearby Sheung Yiu Folk booths, sunflower-yellow walls
Museum (Mon, Wed–Sun and wooden tables serves
9am–4pm; free), based around inexpensive, tasty Sichuan- and
an abandoned, traditional walled Shanghai-inspired dim sum.
village. The first stage of the
MacLehose Trail runs southeast Lung Wah
from here around the High Wo Che St, Sha Tin T 2691 1594.
Island Reservoir, an easy walk Daily 10.30am–10.30pm. This
along a vehicle track – the man- place serves greasy pigeon
made “water and hills” scenery is – a Cantonese speciality – plus
a little bland, however. beancurd and almond desserts.
The Sai Kung Peninsula’s The restaurant is inexpensive
north coast is fairly inaccessible, and traditional, with a garden
though it can be seen easily full of mahjong players at
enough by riding the ferry outdoor tables, and gets packed
(daily 8.30am & 3pm, extra at the weekend.
departure 10.35am Sat & Sun;
$25) through the Tolo Channel Tung Kee Seafood
to Tap Mun Chau island Waterfront, Sai Kung. Their
from Ma Liu Shui jetty (a speciality is “bamboo fish”: carp,
signposted ten-minute walk stuffed with preserved turnip
from University KCR). The and chargrilled outside on a
75-minute ride makes for a fine hand-rotated bamboo pole, at
trip to soak up the views: the around $150 a head.
early morning departure calls at

Contents Places
121

Lantau
Twice the size of Hong Kong Island, Lantau has enough
sights to merit a couple of full days’ exploration.
The site of Hong Kong’s international airport, it also
sports some excellent beaches, rugged countryside
criss-crossed by hiking trails, and the recently opened
Disneyland. More traditional offerings include Po Lin

P L A C ES Lantau
Monastery, boasting the world’s largest seated bronze
Buddha statue situated outdoors, old forts at Tung
Chang and Fan Lau and the unusual fishing village of
Tai O, which is built in part of corrugated iron – about
as far as from the usual hi-tech image of Hong Kong as
it’s possible to get. Day-trips are easy, but you can also
stay the night at several places (see p.153).

Mui Wo to Discovery Bay Wan Tau Road to the end, cross


All ferries from Hong Kong the bridge over the river and
Island dock at Mui Wo follow the sandy bay round to
(“Plum Cove”), also known the right. A signpost eventually
as Silvermine Bay. This is points up some steps onto the
the least interesting place on bare hills, with some excellent
Lantau, but it’s an important bus views along the way over to
terminus, with some pleasant Hong Kong Island. The Trappist
accommodation and restaurants, monastery is not open to the
and also marks the eastern end public, so follow the road past
of the Lantau Trail (see box, it downhill to a signposted path
p.124). towards Discovery Bay. This
Lantau’s best short hike (3hr) New Town is a too-perfect copy
is northeast from Mui Wo of idealized middle-American
over the hills, via a Trappist suburbia, with happy blonde
monastery, to Discovery Bay. families zipping about in golf
Head along the seafront Tung carts, and very few Chinese
 S I LV E R M I N E B AY, M U I W O

Contents Places
122

LANTAU
ACCOMMODATION
Babylon Villa D
Mui Wo Inn A
S. G. Davis Youth
Hotel C
Silvermine Beach
Hotel B

0 3 km
Lantau P L A C ES

Chek
Lap
Kok

Tung Chung
MTR line

Tung
Chung
Fort

Hau Wong
Miu Po Lin
Monastery Sunset
C
Peak
Lantau Peak (869m)
Tai O (934m)
The Big
LANTAU T
Buddha RA
IL

Cheung
AIL
Sha D
Shek Pik U TR
LANTA
Reservoir
IL
Tong Fuk
TRA
NTAU
LA

Tai Long Wan

Kau Ling Chung Beach


Fan Lau Fort

Visiting Lantau
The main way to reach Lantau is by ferry from Hong Kong Island, but the MTR is
more convenient if you’re heading for Tung Chung or Disneyland. Once here, local
buses connect major sites, as do the island’s pale blue taxis.
Ferries to Mui Wo, on the island’s east coast, depart from the Outer Islands
Ferry Piers in Central every thirty minutes between 6.10am and 12.30am.
Roughly every third sailing is by ordinary ferry (55min; Mon–Sat $11.30, Sun
$16.70), while the rest are fast ferries (40min; Mon–Sat $22.20, Sun $32). Buy
tickets before you travel at ticket offices at the pier. For ferry information,
contact Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry Ltd (T 2815 6063, W www.nwff|.com.hk).
MTR services operate approximately from 6am to 1am: from Central, it takes
thirty-five minutes to Disneyland and forty minutes to Tung Chung.

Contents Places
123

Tsing
Ma Bridge
Ma
Wan

The Brothers

Y
WA
GH
HI
T AU Hong Kong
L AN Disneyland
TH

P L A C ES Lantau
R
NO Penny’s
AY Bay
W
ES
S

PR
/EX
WAY Discovery (Central)
RT RAIL
AIRPO
Bay
Tai Kau Yi
Shui Chau
Hang
Peng Chau

A Trappist
B Monastery

Mui Wo (Central)
Mui Wo
(Silvermine Bay) Chau
Kung To
Nam Shan
Hei Ling
Chau
Pui O al)
Ham Tin (Centr
Chi Ma Wan
N
Pui O
Beach Chi Ma Wan
Peninsula

Cheung Chau Lantau Trail


Footpath
Main ferry &
kaido routes
Shek Kwu Cable- car
Chau

faces. The main attraction is Disney’s ten other franchises


a 24-hour hydrofoil back to is a bit tame, and queues can
Central ($27; 30min); there are also be a drag. It’s split into
also buses to the rest of the four zones: Main Street USA,
island. a re-created early-twentieth-
century mid-American shopping
Hong Kong Disneyland street (though the goods on
W www.hongkongdisneyland.com. sale are distinctly Chinese);
Daily 10am–8pm. Mon–Fri $295, Adventureland, home to
children $170; Sat & Sun $350/200. Tarzan’s treehouse (made of
Yan O/Disneyland MTR. The world’s fake bamboo) and a jungle
newest and smallest Disneyland, river cruise; Tomorrowland,
this theme park is worth a visit whose excellent rides include
if you’ve time to kill between a blacked-out rollercoaster;
flights, but compared with and Fantasyland, populated

Contents Places
124

The Lantau Trail


More than half of Lantau is designated country park, and the circular Lantau Trail
loops for 70km around its southern half, passing ten campsites and the island’s
two youth hostels along the way. For detailed information on the trail’s twelve
stages, including campsite details, check out W www.afcd.gov.hk, the Country
Parks Authority’s website; the Lantau Trail leaflet (available at the ferry pier in
Mui Wo); or Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong, available in English-language bookshops.
Don’t underestimate the steep, exposed trails – take a hat, sunscreen and water.
The nine-kilometre section from Mui Wo to Sunset Peak (about 7hr return) gives a
Lantau P L A C ES

good taste of the whole trail: an initially wooded path which climbs to open high-
lands of thin pasture and stony slopes, with magnificent views down to the coast
at every turn. Other good sections are the ten-kilometre easy walk (3hr) above the
coast between Fan Lau and Tai O, and trails along the south coast covered below.

by a host of Disney characters, several low-key restaurants and


and whose best feature is the bars. Further west, the road
PhilharMagic 3D film show. strikes inland to the Shek
Pik Reservoir (13km; 4hr on
The south coast foot), landscaped to provide
Lantau’s best beaches line the picnic areas and walking trails;
south coast. All of them are you can also just glimpse the
accessible on foot from Mui Big Buddha from here. From
Wo along the Lantau Trail, or Shek Pik there’s a walking
by bus #1 or #2 (to Tai O and track (20min) to another shady
Po Lin Monastery respectively beach at Tai Long Wan, from
from Mui Wo) as far as Shek where you can agin pick up
Pik Reservoir. Closest to Mui the Lantau Trail for 5km/1.5hr
Wo is Pui O beach (9km; to Fan Lau, an abandoned,
3hr on foot), an excellent spot overgrown village at Lantau’s
with barbecue pits and a free southwestern headland, where
campsite. The next beach along the remains of a 1300-year-
is Cheung Sha (5km; 1hr old rectangular fort overlook
30min from Pui O on foot), a stunning crescent bay, and
Hong Kong’s longest stretch bright green lagoons at the
of sand at 2km, partly shaded back of beautiful Kau Ling
with casuarina trees and with Chung beach.

Pink dolphins
Hong Kong’s waters are home to the world’s entire population of pink dolphins
(a subspecies of the Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin), currently estimated at
180 animals. Mostly seen off western Lantau, their low numbers are thought to
be the result of a combination of increasingly polluted waters and over-fishing.
Trips to see them are run by Hong Kong Dolphinwatch (T 2984 1414, W www
.hkdolphinwatch.com; 5hr; $320 for adults, $160 for children), part of the profits
from which go the WWF to support dolphin research projects. While the trips could
potentially disrupt the dolphins, Dolphinwatch believes that the tours form only a
tiny amount of local marine traffic, and might hopefully increase awareness about
these endangered animals.

Contents Places
125

P L A C ES Lantau
 TA I O

Tai O fishermen, and a lovely carved


Bus #1 from Mui Wo, #11 from Tung roof-frieze displaying two
Chung, or #21 from Po Lin Monastery. roaring dragons.
The largest and oldest village
on Lantau, Tai O is home to Po Lin Monastery
two thousand people. There’s Ngong Ping. Daily 10am–6pm. Bus
plenty of interest in its old #2 from Mui Wo, #21 from Tai O
lanes, including shrines, temples, or #23 from Tung Chung. Po Lin
and a quarter full of tin-roofed Monastery sits at the terminus
stilt-houses built over the water. of the cable-car from Tung
From the bus stop, you cross Chung (see p.126), just below
a small bridge onto the main Lantau Peak. The complex is
street, which is lined by people much grander than is usual in
selling dried and live seafood,
 BIG BUDDHA
and there’s also a tiny museum
(daily 9am–5pm, free), displaying
everyday artefacts such as
washboards, the prows from
a Dragon Boat, a threshing
machine and a cutlass. At the
bridge, operators offer short
boat trips around the nearby
inlets, to see the village from the
water ($10–25 depending on
where you want to go).
The pick of the village’s
temples is Hau Wong Miu
(free) on Kat Hing Back Street,
about two minutes’ walk from
the bridge. Built in 1699, it
contains the local boat used in
the annual Dragon Boat Races
(see p.166), some shark bones,
a whale head found by Tai O

Contents Places
126
Hong Kong, and houses a noted Fung Wong Shan – is the
group of statues of the Buddha second highest in Hong Kong,
– all three of which are fairly and a popular place to watch
restrained given their setting, at the sunrise. The steep, two-
around only three metres high. kilometre trail from Po Lin
There’s nothing at all restrained to the summit takes about an
about the temple itself, though, hour to complete, and on a
which is painted and sculpted in clear day the views reach as far
gaudy colours. Inside the main as Macau. You can pick up the
courtyard, a huge dining hall Lantau Trail here and continue
Lantau P L A C ES

(11.30am–5pm; set meals $60– 5km (2hr 30min) east to the


100) is continually awash with slightly lower Tai Tung Shan,
diners filling up on vegetarian or “Sunset Peak”, from where
meals. it’s a further hour to Mui Wo
All this pales into (see p.121).
insignificance besides the
gigantic Big Buddha (daily Tung Chung
10am–5.30pm; free), at the top There are two reasons to visit
of a flight of steps in front of Tung Chung, a burgeoning
the monastery. Completed in New Town near the airport on
1993, the bronze figure seated Lantau’s north coast: to ride the
in a ring of outsized lotus cable-car to Po Lin Monastery,
petals is 34m high and weighs nicknamed “Ngong Ping 360”
250 tonnes. Climb the steps (Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat &
for supreme views over the Sun 10am–6.30pm; $58 one-
surrounding hills and down to way, $88 return); and for a
the temple complex. The nearby look at Tung Chung Fort,
S.G. Davis Youth Hostel, about signposted 2km west of the
500m along the Lantau Peak centre on Yu Tung Road. The
track, makes a convenient base crenellated stone walls (currently
for a dawn ascent of the peak. surrounding a school) date
back to 1817, and were built
Lantau Peak on the orders of the viceroy of
The 934-metre Lantau Peak Guangdong province to defend
– more properly known as Lantau’s northern coast.

Contents Places
127

Other islands
The Hong Kong SAR encompasses some 260-odd
islands, the vast majority of which are tiny, barren and
uninhabited. Lantau aside, Lamma, Cheung Chau and
Peng Chau are the pick, being uncluttered and rela-
tively laid-back, though hardly uncharted territory – all
had been settled by the Chinese long before the British

P L A C ES Other islands
arrived.
One major draw is the beaches, at least for sunbath-
ing – local pollution means that swimming is often not
an option (signs in English at beaches give levels for the
day and state whether swimming is allowed). Lamma
and Cheung Chau are also noted for their seafood res-
taurants and food stalls, while villages offer a slice of
traditional Chinese life. If nothing else, the islands make
excellent escapes from city stress; acccommodation is
available on all of them (see p.153).

Lamma sand beach with barbecue pits,


Lamma is an elongated a couple of places to eat and
fourteen-square-kilometres of drink, and unfortunately close
land inhabited by five thousand views of the power station.
people, with well-marked paths The path continues around
linking its settlements to small the beach and up the hill on
beaches, green hilltops, and the other side, before levelling
pleasant seascapes. Yung Shue out at a viewing point marked
Wan is a pretty, tree-shaded by a Chinese pavilion. Carry
village at the northwestern end on down the hill, past the vast
of the island where the bulk of cement works to your left,
Lamma’s residents live, and the to some houses, from where
main ferry terminus. There’s a sidetracks lead to Lo So Shing,
gloomy, century-old Tin Hau another beach with changing
temple here but otherwise rooms, showers, a snack kiosk
nothing to stop you beginning and more barbecue pits.
the walk across the island. At the end of the main path
Twenty minutes along a good (around 5km, or 1hr 30min on
concrete path is Hung Shing foot from Yung Shue Wan), Sok
Ye, where there’s a tiny, shaded Kwu Wan is a fish-farming

Visiting Lamma
Ferries to Yung Shue Wan depart from the Outer Islands Ferry Piers in Central
(Mon–Sat 6.30am–12.30am, Sun 7.30am–12.30am; 30min; $15).
Ferries to Sok Kwu Wan depart from the Outer Islands Ferry Piers in Central
(daily 7.20am–11.30pm; 25min; $15).
Buy tickets before you travel from the ticket offices at the pier. For ferry information,
contact Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry Ltd (t2815 6063, W www.hkkf.com.hk).

Contents Places
128

deen)
ber
(A Pak Kok Tsuen LAMMA

en)
al) en

(Aberde
(C
(Centr
tra
l)
0 1 km
A
1 Yung Shue Wan
Sha Po
New Village
Tin Hau
Temple
N

Power B
Station Hung
Other islands P L A C ES

Shing
Ye Beach Quarry
Chinese Pavilion Cement
Works

Mo Tat Wan
2
Lo So Shing Sok Kwu Wan
Beach Tin Hau
Temple

ACCOMMODATION Shek Pai Wan Beach


Bali Inn
Holiday Resort A Tung O
Concerto Inn B
Mount
Stenhouse Sham
EATING (353m) Wan
Concerto Inn Café B Beach
Lamma Seaview
Man Fung Restaurant 1
Rainbow Seafood 2 Ferry route

village and second ferry terminus the fishermen and women. There’s
for Hong Kong Island; floating another Tin Hau temple here by
wooden frames cover the water, the main pier, along which Sok
interspersed with rowing boats, Kwu Wan’s seafood restaurants
junks and the canvas shelters of form a line, with outdoor tables
overlooking the bay, and large
 WALKING TRAIL, LAMMA
fish tanks set back on the street.
Some restaurants have English
menus, but always ask the price
first, particularly if you’re choosing
your fish straight from the tank.
Walking tracks link Sok Kwu
Wan, via the small village of
Mo Tat Wan, to spacious
Shek Pai Wan beach on
Lamma’s southeastern coast
– about an hour’s walk in all.
There’s also a trail from Sok
Kwu Wan up to the summit
of Mount Stenhouse (also
known as Shan Tei Tong), 353m
up in the middle of the island’s
southwestern bulge – it’s a two-
hour hike each way, with fine
views as the reward.

Contents Places
129

Visiting Cheung Chau


Ferries to Cheung Chau depart from the Outer Islands Ferry Piers in Central (daily
24hr; 40–55min; ordinary ferry Mon–Sat $11.30, Sun $16.70; fast ferry Mon–Sat
$22.20, Sun $32).
Buy tickets before you travel from ticket offices at the pier. For ferry information,
contact the New World First Ferry Company (T 2131 8181, W www.nwff.com.hk).

Cheung Chau surrendering to government

P L A C ES Other islands
Cheung Chau - “Long Island” – forces in 1810, he was appointed
was the stronghold of the Qing head of the local Chinese navy.
Dynasty pirate Cheung Po Tsai. Today, Cheung Chau is the
Along with his forty thousand most densely populated of the
followers, he terrorized shipping outlying islands, and its streets
and villages along the adjacent and harbour are busy day and
Chinese coast, reputedly hiding night. Walking tracks lead to the
his booty in a cave at Cheung requisite beaches and seascapes,
Chau’s southern end. After but the main attractions are

ACCOMMODATION
Warwick A
CHEUNG CHAU
EATING & DRINKING
Hong Kee 1
Kam Gun 2 PAK R OAD
NG
CH EU
Tian Ran 3 Tung Wan Tsai

Tai Kwai Wan

Reservoir
D

N
OA
AI R
KW
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Temple
(Ce
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an
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SAN

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Tung Wan
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T

Tai Long Wan Ferry Pier TUNG


WAN RD
Typhoon Shelter
Kwun Yam
Vase Human
TAI SAN ST

Wan Beach
Rock Head
2 A
3 Windsurf Kwun Yam Rock
PEAK RD Centre
TAI RING

Wan Temple
D
TAI H

Sports
Ground FA PENG
DON

PEAK R Alliance
BOSCO RD
D

Bible Seminary
Salesian
Tin Hau House
Temple LUNG Nam
TSAI Meteorological Tam
RD
N

Station Wan
WA

TSUEN
SAI

Cheung Po Cemeteries R OAD


Tsai Cave SAI
K
PEA

WAN
0 500 m
Italian Beach

Ferry Route

Contents Places
Other islands P L A C ES 130

 PA K TA I T E M P L E , C H E U N G C H A U

watching the thriving traditional of the village, various paths lead


life in the main village, with its up to a hilltop reservoir and
fishing boats and stalls, and – as views over the whole island.
ever – sampling local seafood. From the village, crossing
Ferries dock at Cheung east over the narrow middle
Chau Village, where the of the island lands you at the
island’s population and activity long Tung Wan beach and,
is concentrated. The waterfront around the southern headland,
road hosts a large daily market Kwun Yam Wan beach, the
(busy all day), where fishermen, best on the island. Alternatively,
fruit-and-veg sellers and for a two-hour walk from
cultivated-pearl traders rub the village, follow the shore
shoulders. Just beyond the pier, southwest from the ferry pier
down Tung Wan Road, you’ll to a pavilion overlooking the
see an ancient banyan tree, harbour and a landscaped picnic
whose base is often cluttered area. Behind this is a side-path
with makeshift altars.
 B O AT S , P E N G C H A U H A R B O U R
One block in from the water
on San Hing Street, the Pak
Tai Temple (free) is dedicated
to the “Northern Emperor”,
protector against floods.
Inside is an 800-year-old iron
sword believed to bring luck
to fishermen, and a gilded
sedan chair, for carrying the
god’s statue during festivals.
The temple is the venue for
the vibrant annual four-day
Cheung Chau Bun Festival,
held to placate the vengeful
spirits of those killed by Cheung
Chau’s pirates (see p.165). North

Contents Places
131

Visiting Peng Chau


Ferries to Peng Chau depart from the Outer Islands Ferry Piers in Central (daily
7am–midnight; 25–40min; ordinary ferry Mon–Sat $11.30, Sun $16.70; fast ferry
Mon–Sat $22.20, Sun $32).
Buy tickets before boarding at the pier’s ticket office. For ferry information, con-
tact the New World First Ferry Company (t2131 8181, W www.nwff.com.hk).

down between the rocks onto of nearby Lantau and shipping

P L A C ES Other islands
a small rocky beach and up to lanes from the island’s peak, a
a headland covered in large, fifteen-minute walk up stone
rounded granite boulders, which steps from the back of town.
has some superb views over Really, though, Peng Chau’s
the sea on a calm day. The path main appeal is a meal at one
continues down to Pak Tso of its many low-key seafood
Wan beach – small and sandy, restaurants, where the food is as
though a little grubby – and good and as cheap as on any of
then into the shady lanes on the the islands.
village outskirts, which you can
follow northeast to Kwun Yam
Wan beach. Restaurants
Most of the following open
Peng Chau daily mid-morning and close
Peng Chau is a tiny horseshoe- by 9pm, according to whether
shaped blob of land with little they still have customers. At all
obvious attraction beyond alfresco businesses, make sure
some quiet streets. Wing On you fix prices when ordering to
Street, just back from the pier, avoid rip-offs.
is typical: part market, part
residential, with an eighteenth- Concerto Inn Café
century Tin Hau temple, noodle Hung Shing Ye beach, Lamma T 2982
shops, Chinese herbalists and no 1668, W www.concertoinn.com.hk.
traffic. Some shops sell hand- Near a small and quiet beach,
painted porcelain, a local cottage this hotel restaurant is set on a
industry. Tung Wan, the island’s delightful terrace and serves an
only real beach, is a bit gritty eclectic range of Southeast Asian
but there are outstanding views dishes. Mains from $60.
 S E A F O O D R E S TA U R A N T, C H E U N G C H A U

Contents Places
132
Hong Kee and fish from live tanks, plus
Cheung Chau waterfront. Waterfront a long list of budget rice and
tables overlooking all sorts of noodle dishes.
small craft, serving delicious
garlic-fried prawns, scallops Rainbow Seafood
and quick-fried fish pieces. Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma T 2982 8100.
Inexpensive to moderately Fresh seafood which you pick
priced. directly from the tank; along
with lightly steamed whole fish,
Kam Gun they do masterful deep-fried
Other islands P L A C ES

Near the banyan tree, Cheung Chau squid with chillies and salt.
Village. Daily 7am–noon. Excellent Slightly overpriced for what you
dim sum on the first floor, served get, but not expensive.
in a crowded, noisy Chinese
environment – there’s no Tian Ran
English sign or menus, but it’s Cheung Chau waterfront. Rickety
easy to find. Inexpensive. outdoor tables overlooking
harbour, where you can wolf
Lamma Seaview Man Fung down all sorts of desserts
Restaurant – glutinous rice balls, grass jelly,
Near the pier, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma mango and sago drinks – and
T 2982 0719. Pleasant views from also staple light meals such
outdoor tables under beach as prawn wonton soup. Very
umbrellas. Fresh crab, abalone, inexpensive.

Contents Places
133

Macau
Sixty kilometres west from Hong Kong across the Pearl
River delta, the former Portuguese enclave of Macau
occupies a 26 square-kilometre peninsula and a couple
of tiny islands jutting off the Chinese mainland. As in
Hong Kong, Macau’s atmosphere has been shaped by
the blending of European and Chinese culture, espe-

P L A C ES Macau
cially noticeable in the antique colonial architecture and
unique Macanese food that exists alongside a Canton-
ese-speaking population. Although laid-back compared
with Hong Kong, Macau attracts millions of big-spend-
ing tourists each year, who gamble at its many casinos
– it’s the only place in China where they have been
legalised.
Macau’s downtown area is easy to negotiate on foot,
though the few hills can make for tiring climbing in the
heat of the day. It’s here you’ll find a packed quarter
of old forts, churches, shops and homes lining narrow
streets, alongside a more modern casino strip built on
reclaimed land. There are also a couple of lively tem-
ples, several museums illuminating Macau’s long asso-
ciation with fishing and trade, and a series of beautiful
gardens and squares. South from the peninsula across
three long, ribbon-like bridges, Taipa and Coloane are
conjoined islands with a few minor sights, including a
black-sand beach.

Largo do Senado Domingos and adjacent streets


Largo do Senado (Senate is a food and clothing market.
Square) is Macau’s public On the east side of the square,
focus, cobbled and surrounded Santa Casa de Misericórdia
by elegant colonial buildings (Mon–Sat 10am–5.30pm;
painted pale pink, yellow MOP$5) is Macau’s oldest social
or white, with shuttered institution, founded in 1569 by
upper storeys and street- Dom Belchior Carneiro, the
level colonnades. There’s a city’s first Catholic bishop. His
small fountain in the middle, skull is displayed in a wood-
while west down Rua de São panelled museum upstairs, along

Money in Macau
Macau’s currency is the pataca (MOP$), divided into avos. Coins come in 10, 20
and 50 avo denominations, notes in 10, 50, 100, and MOP$1000. The Hong Kong
dollar and pataca are almost equal in value; you can use Hong Kong dollars in
Macau but not pataca in Hong Kong.

Contents Places
134

Visiting Macau from Hong Kong


By sea
Ferries to Macau’s Porto Exterior (Outer Harbour) Jetfoil Terminal leave from the
Macau Ferry Terminal, Shun Tak Centre, Central, Hong Kong Island (daily 24hr; 1–4
per hour; W www.turbojet.com.hk), and the China Ferry Terminal, Canton Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon (daily 7am–midnight; 2 per hour; W www.nwff.com.hk).
Both services take 55 minutes and cost about HK$140 one-way (HK$280 return),
though discounts are often available. It’s advisable to book in advance (through
the website or at the terminals) at weekends and on public holidays; buying a
Macau P L A C ES

return ticket saves time at the other end.


Aim to be at the ferry terminal at least thirty minutes before departure to clear
customs. You’ll be allowed on with a suitcase or rucksack, but anything more and
you’ll have to check it in, and pay an extra $20–40.

By air
A helicopter service to Macau’s Jetfoil Terminal operates from the Macau Ferry
Terminal on Hong Kong Island (daily 9am–10.30pm; 2 per hour; Hong Kong t2108
4838, Macau t727288, W www.helihongkong.com). The journey takes twenty
minutes and costs HK$1210 one-way, HK$2420 for a return; (HK$1310/2620 at
weekends). In Hong Kong, buy tickets from the window adjacent to the ferry ticket
office in the Shun Tak Centre; in Macau, tickets are sold from marked booths on
the second floor of the Jetfoil Terminal.

with porcelain marked with the upstairs library (Mon–Fri


Jesuit logo “JHS”. 1–7pm) is stacked with a large
The Senate House itself, collection of books about China
the Leal Senado (Mon–Sun (many in English), dating from
9am–9pm; free), faces Largo do the sixteenth century onwards.
Senado on Avenida de Almeida On the next level up, the Senate
Ribeiro. It’s of traditional Chamber – a grand room with
Portuguese design, with interior panelled walls and ceiling and
courtyard walls decorated with excellent views over the square
classic blue-and-white azulejo – is open to the public when
tiling, and an ornamental not being used for official
courtyard out the back. The functions.
 LARGO DO SENADO

Contents Places
135
Sun Yat-sen
Zhuhai Memorial
Park Portas do Cerco
MACAU

AMARA
REIRA DO
AVE
NID
AD
AP

ISTMO FER
ON
ILHA

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VERDE AVENIDA DO CONSELHE

AIO

AM
IRO BORJA

EM

IZAD
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Canidrome

E
DE
A1

OR
RU

ON
AD
AV

NID
E NID

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A1

AV
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AIO

A
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AV
EN

AC
ID
EL A

P L A C ES Macau
NT AV
DO
IRA

AL
EN CO

AR
M RO
AL ID

M
A NE
A DO AV
EN
DE DO A
1 MESQ
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NID OU
Porto AVE IDA VID
COELHO

A
UIT

EIR
OR
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Interior PAT DO AR
Cemitero ER
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DO HO RIA
RP
R GA IS
VIE
A DE

Protestante L TA
RIBEIR A

PA
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XA

BR CO ON
S CA
AD

Jardim S ID
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A PO TA TA S
RU CAM IDA
TR

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Luis de OS Jardim A
EN Cable-car
RUA DA

ES

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Camões E NT Lou Lim Ieoc AV


REPOUSO

TR FR A
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Hong Kong D
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HILL City

ILH
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A D CON

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DA

Temple Fortaleza ADA C Casino


RU
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Buses
A
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da STR Jai-Alai
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AM
Tourist Floating Terminal
IDA
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EN
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AV
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China Ferry D Sé Santa Casa UES Casino


LOR

GA RU E 4 RG AD 3
D R IG
Centre
LA EN
Terminal M A F
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AS

BO S S
A ME DE
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Hospederia G GA
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Vong Kung Teatro CE


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IQ Francisco Plaza Cultural


NT

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D’A

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LourençoPADR Agostinho Porto
AR

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Temple Bishop’s Palace Airport


NAD

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& Penha Chapel


R.
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P Cemetery
AV

Fortaleza Q
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de Barra Lago Sai Racecourse


E DE

Van
ICA

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TAIPA-COLOANE CAUSEWAY
CAR

AV 10 11
BL

DA R U
EP Tower
VALH

Taipa
Village
O

N
LOTUS BRIDGE
PON

Porta do
Entendimento Cotai
TE S

Frontier Post Ka Ho
AI V

Parque
N
AN

de Seac R
Pai Van
Coloane
Village 12 13 Hác Sá
0 500 m S
0 250 m
Cheoc Van COLOANE

Taipa
ACCOMMODATION EATING & DRINKING
Central C Pensão Ka Va H A Lorcha 7 O’Barril 2 3
Hyatt Regency Q Pousada de Alfonso III 5 O Porto Interior 6
Kingsway N Coloane S Café Nga Tim/ Ou Mun 3
Ko Wah E Pousada de Chan Chi Mei 12 Paparoca 11
Lisboa M São Tiago O Fat Siu Lau 2 Platão 3
Man Va D Royal B Galo 10 Praia Grande 8
Mandarin Sun Sun G Henri’s Galley 9 Safari 4
Oriental I Tin Tin Villa K Lord Stowe’s
Metropole L Vila Nam Loon J Bakery 13
Mondial A Vila Universal F Macau
New Century P Westin Resort R Vegetarian Farm 1

East off Largo do Senado, and undistinguished Sé,


two small lanes slope a short Macau’s cathedral, last rebuilt
way uphill to another, smaller in 1937 and featuring some
cobbled square and the squat fine stained glass. At the north

Contents Places
136
São Paulo
North of São Domingos,
through a nest of cobbled
lanes flanked by pastelarias
(shops selling sweets, biscuits
and roast meats), stands the
imposing facade of São Paulo
church. Founded in 1602,
its rich design reflected the
cosmopolitan nature of early
Macau P L A C ES

Macau – designed by an Italian


in a Spanish style, and built
by Japanese craftsmen. São
Paulo became a noted centre
of learning until the expulsion
of the Jesuits from Macau,
after which it became an army
barracks. In 1835 a fire, which
had started in the kitchens,
 S Ã O PA U L O destroyed the entire complex
except for the carved stone
end of Largo do Senado, front.
the arcaded buildings peter On approaching up the wide
out in the adjacent Largo swathe of steps it seems at first
São Domingos, which holds that the church still stands, but
Macau’s most beautiful church, on reaching the terrace the
the seventeenth-century facade alone is revealed, like
Baroque São Domingos (open a theatre backdrop, rising in
afternoons; enquire at the metal four chipped and cracked tiers.
side gate). Its cream-and-stucco The symbolic statues and reliefs
facade is echoed inside by the include a dove at the top (the
pastel-coloured pillars and Holy Spirit) flanked by the
walls, and by a quiet statue of sun and moon; below is Jesus,
the Virgin and Child. On May around whom reliefs show the
13 every year the church is implements of the Crucifixion
the starting point for a major – a ladder, manacles, a crown of
procession in honour of Our thorns and a flail. Below are the
Lady of Fatima. Virgin Mary and angels, flowers

Land reclamation
Land reclamation has seen the Macau peninsula grow two-and-a-half times
bigger over the last 150 years. The impetus for this, and the ensuing drive for
modernization, is Macau’s determination not to be left out of the economic boom
sweeping the adjacent Chinese mainland. The biggest development projects so far
include Macau’s international airport, the expansion of the Porto Exterior area to
include a cultural centre and theme park, a new Legislative Assembly building, and
the southern peninsula’s waterfront being closed up to form two artificial lakes,
fringed by a network of expressways and bridges to Taipa. One positive aspect of
this modern development on reclaimed land is that the older parts of town haven’t
been targeted for wholesale demolition and reconstruction – something all too
common on the Chinese mainland.

Contents Places
137

P L A C ES Macau
 F O R TA L E Z A D O M O N T E

representing China (a peony) where the scarlet-clad bride


and Japan (chrysanthemum), watches the ritual burning of all
a griffin and a rigged galleon, her possessions on her wedding
while the bottom tier holds four morning. Offbeat items include
Jesuit saints, and the crowning a display on cricket-fighting
words “Mater Dei” above the (where two of these aggressive
central door. insects are pitted against each
other), complete with a tiny
Fortaleza do Monte coffin and grave headstone for
East of São Paulo the solid expired fighters.
Fortaleza do Monte, a fortress
that was part of the São Paulo Hong Kung Temple
complex, saw action only Rua Cinco de Outubro. There’s a
once, when its cannons helped fascinating maze of lanes leading
repel the Dutch in 1622. The west from São Paulo to the
ramparts are still lined with seafront, some of which have
these weathered iron cannons, changed little over the last fifty
with views over almost the years. The unpretentious Hong
whole peninsula. Kung Temple is dedicated to
The fort houses the Museu Kwan Tai, god of riches and
de Macau (Tues–Sun war, and is the focus for the
10am–6pm; MOP$15), which extraordinary Drunken Dragon
explores Macau’s history. The Festival, held on the eighth
first floor charts the arrival day of the fourth lunar month
of the Portuguese and the (April or May). Organized by
heyday of the trading routes, the Fish Retailers’ Association,
with displays of bartered goods the festival features opera,
– wooden casks, porcelain, religious ceremonies, martial
spices, silver and silk. The arts performances, and a parade
second floor has a more from here to the Porto Interior
Chinese theme, with religious (Inner Harbour) via all the local
artefacts, full-sized street and fish shops, by men carrying
house reconstructions, as well as large wooden dragon heads and
videos of customs and festivals consuming vast quantities of
– even a Chinese wedding spirits.

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138
Jardim Luís de Camões lands. Some of the graves were
Daily 6am–10pm. Just off Praça moved here from various resting
Luís de Camões square, the places outside the city walls, as
Jardim Luís de Camões (Camões the pre-1814 headstones show,
Garden) is a very tropical, laid- and now sit slightly forlornly
back spread of banyans, ferns, and somewhat overgrown in this
fan palms, paved terraces and sprawling plot.
flowers. It’s always full of people The most famous resident is
pottering about, exercising the artist George Chinnery, who
or playing cards under the spent his life painting the local
Macau P L A C ES

trees, and commemorates the coast. Some of the cemetery’s


sixteenth-century Portuguese most poignant graves are those
poet who is supposed to have belonging to ordinary seamen:
visited Macau and written part Samuel Smith “died by a fall
of his epic Os Lusíadas (about from aloft”; a cabin boy similarly
Vasco da Gama’s voyages) here. met his end “through the
There’s a bust of Camões, effects of a fall into the hold”;
encircled by granite boulders, while Oliver Mitchell “died of
although there’s no real dysentery”. The grave of the
evidence that he did ever come missionary Robert Morrison,
here. who translated the Bible into
Chinese, is also here, as is that of
Cemitério Protestante his wife, who died in childbirth.
Rua de Entre Campos. Daily
8.30am–5.30pm. The Cemitério Jardim Lou Lim Ieoc
Protestante (Old Protestant Avenida do Conselheiro Ferreira de
Cemetery) houses many of Almeida. Daily dawn–dusk. A high
the non-Portuguese traders wall encloses the beautiful
and visitors who expired Jardim Lou Lim Ieoc, a formal
in the enclave. For decades, arrangement of pavilions, carp
Protestants had no set burial ponds, bamboo groves and
place in Macau: the Catholic frangipani trees. Built in the
Portuguese didn’t want them nineteenth century by the
and the Chinese objected if wealthy Chinese merchant
they were interred on ancestral Lou Kou, it was modelled on
 JARDIM LOU LIM IEOC

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139
the famous classical Chinese
gardens of Suzhou, and typically
manages to appear much more
spacious than it really is – it’s
the only such example in either
Hong Kong or Macau. There
are occasional amateur opera
performances on Sundays.

Guia Hill

P L A C ES Macau
Avenida Sidónio Pais. Guia Hill,
Macau’s apex and site of its
former defence headquarters,
is now a landscaped park. Paths
wind to the top from the
entrances on Estrada da Vittoria
and Avenida Sidonió Pais; from
the latter, there’s also a cable-
car link to the top (Tues–Sun
8am–6pm; MOP$2 one-way,  RUA DA FELICIDADE

MOP$3 return). Either way,


you’ll end up a short walk from Kun Iam Temple
the remains of Fortaleza da Avenida do Coronel Mesquita. Daily
Guia, a fortress completed in 7am–6pm; free. Entered through
1638, and originally designed to a banyan-planted courtyard
defend the border with China crowded with fortune-tellers, the
– though given its perch above 400-year-old Kun Iam Temple is
the whole peninsula it’s seen dedicated to the Bodhisattva of
most service as an observation mercy (known in Hong Kong as
post. There is a network of short, Kwun Yum), and was the venue
disconnected tunnels used in the for the signing of the first-ever
1930s to store munitions, and a Sino-American treaty in 1844.
small seventeenth-century chapel The buildings are of the usual
within the walls dedicated to heavy stone, but their roofs are
Our Lady of Guia. This contains decked in colourful porcelain
an image of the Virgin – who statuettes depicting folktales and
local legend says left the chapel historical scenes. Inside the third
and deflected enemy bullets hall are statues of Kun Iam and
with her robe during the eighteen other Bodhisattvas,
Dutch attack of 1622 – and those who had attained the right
recently uncovered original to enter paradise but chose to
blue-and-pink frescoes, which stay on earth to help humanity.
combine Chinese elements with
Christian religious images. The Rua da Felicidade
chapel’s other function was to On the west side of the
ring its bell to warn of storms, southern peninsula is the
something now taken care of by Porto Interior or Inner
the fortress’s lighthouse, built in Harbour, formerly Macau’s
1865. The best views from the main port area. Inland from
fortress walls are southeast down here is a warren of backstreets,
over the modern Porto Exterior, the most interesting of
and westwards towards Fortaleza which is Rua da Felicidade
do Monte and the old town. (Happiness Street). This

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140
was once a sordid red-light Santo Agostinho, whose pastel
district but now – even walls are decorated with delicate
though the prostitutes linger piped icing. Further south, the
– it comprises an atmospheric square-towered São Lourenço
run of guesthouses, pastelarias church sports a mildewed
selling biscuits and cured pork, exterior framed by palms and fig
and restaurants. Although the trees. Up above on Penha Hill,
tidy shopfronts have all been a stiff walk is rewarded by the
whitewashed, and their shutters nineteenth-century Bishop’s
and big wooden doors carefully Palace and Penha Chapel
Macau P L A C ES

restored and painted red, (daily 9am–5.30pm; free); it’s


the area was still considered peaceful inside, though the
suitably rough to double as exteriors are drab – grand views
Shanghai for the filming of south of the bridges snaking
Indiana Jones and the Temple of over to Taipa compensate.
Doom.
The A-Ma Temple
The Barra Rua do Almirante Sérgio. The A-Ma
The Barra is the district at Temple is Macau’s oldest place
the southern end of Macau’s of worship, founded in 1370 and
peninsula, cut by Rua Central named after a girl whose spirit
and its continuations, a dense would appear to save people at
collection of nineteenth- sea (known in Hong Kong as
century civic buildings and Tin Hau). When the Portuguese
cheap Chinese cafés, clothes- made their first landfall here
making workshops and small in the early 1550s, they
businesses. On Rua Central, the unintentionally named the whole
peppermint-coloured Teatro territory after her (“Macau”
Dom Pedro V now functions being a corruption of A-Ma
as the members-only Clube Kok, the name of the bay).
Macao; opposite is the church of The complex comprises a series
of small stone halls and pavilions
 A-MA TEMPLE
jumbled together on the hillside
amongst granite boulders, all
cluttered with incense spirals and
red-draped wooden models of
boats and statues of the goddess.
Many of these rocks are also
carved with symbols of the A-
Ma story and poems in flowery
Chinese, describing Macau and
its religious associations. There
is an array of fish tanks full of
turtles, onto whose shells people
try to drop coins for good luck.
The busiest time to visit is for the
A-Ma Festival (the 23rd day of
the third moon; April or May;
see p.165).

Museu Marítimo
Rua do Almirante Sérgio. Mon &
Wed–Sun 10am–5.30pm; MOP$10.

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141
Macau’s Museu
Marítimo
(Maritime
Museum) is an
engaging and
well-presented
collection relating
to local fishing
techniques and
festivals, Chinese

P L A C ES Macau
and Portuguese
maritime  GOLDEN DRAGON CASINO, MACAU
prowess, and boat
building. There’s navigational most important fortress, the
equipment, a scale model of Fortaleza da Barra, are now
seventeenth-century Macau, part of the Pousada de São Tiago
traditional clothing used by the hotel. The fortress, completed
fishermen, a host of lovingly in 1629, was designed with ten-
made models of both Chinese metre-high walls and lined with
and Portuguese vessels, and cannons to protect the entrance
even a small collection of to the Inner Harbour. Only
boats moored at the pier. the entranceway, foundations
These include a wooden lorcha and eighteenth-century chapel
– used for chasing pirate ships survive from its original form,
– and racing craft used during but they are easy to see inside
the Dragon Boat Festival (see the hotel.
p.166). The whole collection
is made eminently accessible Avenida da Amizade and the
with the help of explanatory Porto Exterior
English-language notes and The modern area southeast
video displays. of Guia Hill is built on land
reclaimed from the Porto
Fortaleza da Barra Exterior (Outer Harbour)
Rua São Tiago da Barra. Set at over the last few decades. The
Macau’s southernmost tip, the main artery here is the multi-
ruins of what was once Macau’s laned Avenida da Amizade,

Casinos
Macau’s seventeen casinos are frenetic and packed places, generally with little
padding to their primary function as gambling halls – don’t expect Las Vegas-style
glitter.
Games on offer include one-armed bandits or slot machines (called “hungry
tigers” locally), card games like baccarat and blackjack, and some peculiarly
Chinese options: boule is like roulette but with a larger ball and fewer numbers;
pai kao is Chinese dominoes; fan tan involves a cup being scooped through a pile
of buttons which are then counted out in groups of four, bets being laid on how
many are left at the end of the count; and dai-siu (“big-small”) bets on the value
of three dice either having a small (3–9) or big (10–18) value.
Entry is conditional on your being over 18 years old, not wearing shorts, sandals
or slippers, handing over bags and cameras at the door, and carrying a valid pass-
port. Minimum bets are usually MOP$100.

Contents Places
142
whose southern end is marked sits beside the Tourist Activity
by the orange-tiled Lisboa, Centre. The Centre’s best
Macau’s most famous hotel and feature is the Museu do Vinho
a roaring, 1930s-style casino, (Wine Museum; daily 10am–
crowned by a multistorey 6pm; MOP$15), dedicated
circular drum done up like to the history of Portuguese
a wedding cake. Nearby on viniculture; entry gets you a free
Avenida da Praia Grande, the sample, and the shop sells some
São Francisco barracks, built interesting vintages. Back near
in 1864 and painted a deep pink the water, the Floating Casino
Macau P L A C ES

(as are all of Macau’s military is all Chinatown red and gold,
buildings), are the area’s sole but feels dull, while the Jai-Alai
antique. casino is a downmarket, dingy
Moving up Avenida da affair that may live up to your
Amizade, the road is lined with expectations of the seedier side
hotels and casinos, of which of Macau’s gaming industry.
the most eye-catching is the Beyond here, the road and a
gold-plated Sands, whose pedestrian overpass lead to
vast lozenge-shaped interior Macau’s Jetfoil Terminal, the
is all Las Vegas slickness, with town’s main transport hub.
a live band and a high tier of
balcony bars and restaurants. Taipa Village
Behind it on Avenida Xian Taipa’s main point of interest is
Xing Hai, the Macau Cultural old Taipa Village, a few narrow
Centre houses the five- streets surrounding a couple of
storeyed Museum of Art faded old squares. The Portuguese
(Tues–Sun 10am–7pm; T 555 and Macanese restaurants
555; MOP$5), whose collection here are one attraction, and
of period paintings of Macau on Sundays (noon–9pm) the
shares space with travelling streets are packed by a handicraft
exhibitions and temporary market. Rua do Cunha
exhibitions from overseas. The is the main street, a narrow
adjacent waterfront is dominated pedestrianized lane lined with
by a twenty-metre bronze restaurants, pastelarias, and shops
sculpture of Kun Iam. selling daily necessities. This exits
Across Avenida da Amizade into little Feira da Carmo
from the Sands casino, square, surrounded by old pastel-
holidaying mainlanders pose coloured homes, at whose centre
in front of a Golden Lotus is the colonnaded nineteenth-
Flower sculpture, which century marketplace. Two nearby

Visiting Taipa and Coloane


For Taipa Village, take bus #11 from Avenida Almeida Ribeiro near Largo do
Senado, bus #28A from the Jetfoil Terminal, or buses #22 or #33 from the Hotel
Lisboa; all these drop off near Taipa Stadium, a short walk from the village.
For Coloane, catch bus #21 or #21A from the Hotel Lisboa; cutting straight
across Taipa, these both travel down Coloane’s west side to Coloane Village, from
where the #21A and #26 continue via Cheoc Van Beach to Hác Sá Beach. From
Taipa Village, take bus #15, which runs around Coloane’s east side via the Westin
Resort and Hác Sá Beach, before terminating at Coloane Village.

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143

P L A C ES Macau
 HÁC SÁ BEACH

temples to Tin Hau and Pak Tai beaches and a village with
are similarly low key, though Pak the usual mix of temples and
Tai’s sports an impressive stone colonial leftovers.
frieze above the entrance. Parque de Seac Pai Van
Exit Feira da Carmo square (Tues–Sun 9am–5.45pm; free),
onto Rua Correia da Silva, is a landscaped hillside with
and you’ll soon see a flowing gardens, ponds, pavilions, and
set of stairs lined with fig trees, paths up to where a twenty-
which ascend to the small metre-high white-marble
Igreja do Carmo (“Lady statue of A-Ma looks out over
of Carmel Church”; Mon & the water. Coloane Village, a
Wed–Sun 8am–5pm). Just below cluster of cobbled lanes around
sit five early-twentieth-century a little central square and a
mansions set up as Casa Museu seafront row of crumbling
(House Museum; Tues–Sun Chinese houses, shrines and
10am–6pm; MOP$5, free temples, is also home to the
Sunday). The first is comfortably pale yellow St Francis Xavier
airy and filled with tasteful chapel (dawn to dusk), named
period wooden furniture; others after the sixteenth-century
display old photos of Taipa and missionary who passed through
Coloane, costumed mannequins Macau on his way to China and
and temporary art shows. Japan. Out front is a monument
with embedded cannons
Coloane commemorating the repelling
Coloane island was once a of the last pirate attack in 1910.
base for pirates who hid out in Further along the waterfront,
its cliffs and caves, seizing the the Tam Kung Temple houses
cargoes of trading ships passing a whalebone shaped into a
between Macau and China. Dragon Boat with oarsmen.
The island’s main draws are Coloane’s southern coast
peaceful surroundings, some has some good beaches,

Contents Places
Macau P L A C ES 144

 FAT S I U L A U

though the water is unfit for MOP$100 a head, including


swimming. Cheoc Van is well wine.
developed, featuring cafés and
a swimming pool (Mon–Sat Alfonso III
8am–9pm, Sun 8am–midnight; Rua Central 11A T 586272. Mon–Sat
MOP$10). Hác Sá is better, noon–3pm & 6.30–10.30pm.
a long stretch of grey-black Split-level café-restaurant
sand backed by pine trees, with specializing in Portuguese food.
plenty of picnic places, a beach Provincial dishes feature, such
bar and a recreation complex as a mammoth, oily serving
with another pool (Mon–Sat of Álentejo pork with clams,
8am–9pm, Sun 8am–midnight; drenched in fresh coriander
MOP$15). – tasty and good value. Expect
to pay MOP$40–60 per dish.

Restaurants Café Nga Tim/Chan Chi Mei


Largo Eduardo Marques, in front of the
A Lorcha Xavier Chapel, Coloane Village. Daily
Rua do Almirante Sergio 289 noon–1am. Inexpensive menu
T 313193. Wed–Sun 12.30–3.30pm & of Chinese, Macanese and
7–11.30pm. This wood-beamed Portuguese dishes, including
restaurant serves outstanding excellent, fresh seafood.
Portuguese food, and is
consequently always busy – it’s Fat Siu Lau
best to reserve in advance for Rua da Felicidade 64 T 573585. Daily
lunch, when the Portuguese 11am–midnight. One of Macau’s
business community is out in oldest and most famous Chinese
force. There’s a large menu restaurants, with pigeon the
of staples, including serradura, speciality, best eaten with their
a spectacular cream and excellent French fries. Mains
biscuit dessert. Expect to pay cost MOP$60 and upwards.

Contents Places
145
Galo MOP$30–50, set meals from
Rua do Cunha 45, Taipa Village MOP$60 a head.
T 827423. Mon–Fri 10.30am–3.30pm
& 5.30–10.30pm, Sat & Sun O’Barril 2
10.30am–10.30pm. Decorated in Travessa de Sâo. Domingos 12 (the
Portuguese country style, with alleyway running between the Sé and
a photographic menu sporting Largo do Senado). Mon–Fri noon–
boiled meats, steaks, great 11pm, Sat & Sun 10am–11pm. Solid,
grilled squid or crab, and large satisfying well-cooked snacks,
mixed salads. Not great cuisine, sandwiches and soups. Portions

P L A C ES Macau
but hearty and full of flavour. are large and prices cheap.
Around MOP$60 per serving.
O Porto Interior
Henri’s Galley Rua do Almirante Sérgio 259 T 967770.
Avenida da República 4 T 556251. Tues–Sun noon–3pm & 7–11.30pm.
Daily 11am–11pm. Unexciting A smart, relaxed place excelling
decor, compensated by in mid-range Portuguese and
pavement tables with waterfront Macanese fare, served amid a
views. Spicy prawns, roast mix of Chinese wooden screens
pigeon, quail, curried crab, and and terracotta tiling.
African chicken are all terrific.
Mains cost MOP$40–60. Ou Mun Café
Travessa de Sâo Domingos 12,
Lord Stowe’s Bakery Tues–Sun 8am–8pm. It’s debatable
Coloane Village Square, Coloane. Daily whether either this, or the
7am–5pm. Although British- adjacent O’Barril 2, is the best
owned, this is one of the place in town for excellent,
best places to eat natas (small inexpensive coffee and cake.
custard tarts). The recipe is
 PA S T E L A R I A , M A C A U
originally Portuguese, but
this bakery claims to use
a secret, improved version
without animal fat. Buy
takeaways from the bakery
itself, or sit down for coffee
and a light meal at their
café around the corner.

Macau Vegetarian Farm


Avenida do Coronel.
Mesquita 11 T 752824. Daily
11am–9pm. A huge place
opposite the Kun Iam
Temple, serving Chinese
food, which – despite
appearances – is strictly
vegetarian, with tofu,
gluten and mushrooms
prepared cunningly
to resemble meat. The
menu is illustrated with
photographs, making
ordering easy. Mains

Contents Places
146
Paparoca Praia Grande
Rua Correia da Silva 57–59, Taipa Praça Lobo d’Avila, Avenida da Praia
Village T 827636. Daily noon–9pm. Grande T 973022. Daily noon–11pm.
Blue-tiled walls, and an One of Macau’s best Portuguese
inexpensive menu which takes restaurants, whose upstairs
in shrimp balls, clam chowder, rooms have a good harbour
shrimp piri-piri, and Macanese view. The food features pan-
chicken. fried clams with pork, baked
onion soup, and grilled codfish.
Platão MOP$55 and up.
Macau P L A C ES

Travessa de Sâo Domingos 3


T 331818. Tues–Sun noon–11pm. Safari
This lively, pricey restaurant Patio do Cotovelo 14 T 574313.
boasts a great sit-out courtyard Daily 11am–11pm. A pleasant,
in front, perfect for a beer. The unpretentious Macanese
menu is colonial Portuguese restaurant with a 1970s feel.
and includes cod soufflé, baked Serves inexpensive Portuguese
duck rice, and – with advance staples and a few French dishes,
warning – suckling pig. At least such as baked snails and onion
MOP$60 for mains. soup. Their set meal, of soup, a
main, plus dessert or coffee for
MOP$50, is good value.

Contents Places
Accommodation

Contents Accommodation
Contents Accommodation
149

Hostels, guesthouses
and hotels

AC C OM M ODAT IO N Hostels, guesthouses and hotels


Accommodation in Hong Kong Central
doesn’t have to be a major
expense, though space comes at The following are marked on the
a premium. The cheapest option map on pp.52–53 unless noted.
is a dorm bed (around HK$80) Conrad Pacific Place, 88 Queensway
T 2521 3838, W www.conrad.com.hk.
at either one of the seven IYHF
hostels (W www.yha.org.hk), Spiffy modern hotel with characterless but
though these are all in remote large and well-equipped rooms. The hotel
locations and must be booked takes full advantage of its position on the
in advance. There are also many upper floors of Pacific Place towers – there
privately run hostels in Cause- are views from all rooms. $2950
way Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui; Garden View International House
those in the latter, while good (YWCA) 1 Macdonnell Rd T 2877 3737,
W www.ywca.org.hk. Expensive at full
in themselves, are often housed
in vast, seedy concrete blocks. A rate, but excellently located near the Botani-
guesthouse room will have a bit cal Gardens and Lower Peak Tram Terminal.
more space and air conditioning, Often has discounted rates, and a package
perhaps with a minute bathroom for seven consecutive nights is available.
(HK$250). Hotel rooms start at Book in advance. $1250
HK$400 and go up to thousands Island Shangri-La Pacific Place, Supreme
per night. All guesthouses and Court Rd T 2877 3838, W www.shangri-la
hotels offer discounts for long- .com. Excellent Peak and harbour views,
term stays. particularly from the top-floor Cyrano’s bar.
Macau’s rates are similar to Rooms are set around a central atrium hold-
Hong Kong’s but better value, ing a Chinese landscape painting spanning
with more space and better serv- more than forty floors. $2500
ice at the low- and mid-range Ma Wui Hall Youth Hostel Mount Davis,
end of the market. All prices Hong Kong Island T 2817 5715. Bus #5
given are for the cheapest double west along Des Voeux Rd, Central (stop
room unless specified; hostel pric- near Statute Square). Get off 45min later
es are for a dorm bed per person. on Victoria Rd, at junction of the Mount

Booking a room
Hong Kong and Macau don’t really have room seasons. In Hong Kong, the only
time when there will be fewer options than usual is during Chinese New Year
(January or February), or during popular sports events such as the Rugby Sevens.
In Macau, rates rise Friday and Saturday nights and during the Easter Grand Prix,
when rooms can be in short supply. Booking in advance can often secure good
deals at any time, available either by simply phoning up, or through the hotel
website if there is one.
Dedicated websites for Hong Kong include W www.hotels-in-hong-kong.com,
which features discounts, packages and various offers for mostly mid- to upmar-
ket hotels; and the Hong Kong Hotels Association (W www.hkha.org), though they
only deal with hotels that are members of their association. For Macau, either
book through a travel agent in Hong Kong, or phone in advance and bargain.

Contents Accommodation
150
Davis Path – hostel is 30-min walk up neck. All are equipped with standard hotel
path. Hong Kong’s most accessible youth amenities including mini-bar and satellite
hostel, with superb views, cooking facilities TV. $800
(it’s entirely self-catering) and 163 beds,
including some two- to six-person rooms.
Causeway Bay and
Hostels, guesthouses and hotels A C C O M M ODAT ION

Getting here, however, is time consuming.


A taxi from Central will cost $100–150. Happy Valley
Dorms $80, rooms $150
The following are marked on the
Mandarin Oriental 5 Connaught Rd map on p.76–77.
T 2522 0111, W www.mandarinoriental
Alisan Flat A, 5th Floor, Hoito Court,
.com. Considered by many to be Hong 275 Gloucester Rd T 2838 0762,
Kong’s best hotel, with faultless service, W http://home.hkstar.com/~alisangh.
excellent facilities and decor (antique-filled Tidy guesthouse with helpful management;
rooms with balconies, and corridors featur- rooms are the usual cramped boxes, but all
ing eighteenth-century Chinese textiles), have a/c, TV, shower and phone. $320
and an ideal location. $2000 Clean Guesthouse 1st Floor, Room N,
Ritz-Carlton 3 Connaught Rd T 2877 Central Building, 531 Jaffe Rd T 2833
6666, W www.ritzcarlton.com. In a prime 2063. Living up to its name, this very tidy
city-centre location, it’s probably the best and friendly place is one of the best in this
alternative in Central to the Mandarin building; towels, slippers and soap are all
Oriental. Rooms are eminently comfort- provided. $280
able, and there’s a high staff-to-guest Emperor 1 Wang Tak St, Happy Valley