There is one thing I get to learn every single time I return to Hong Kong: It never gets boring! Even though this layover was shattered with rain and wind, I found myself scouting for beautiful Urban Decay architecture in North Point and Causeway Bay, wandered underneath the shiny red lanterns of luxury shopping mile Lee Tung Avenue, took a peek at the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai Market and finally found peace and quiet at Pak Tai Temple.
Urban Decay Scouting
If you are seeking extraordinary facade and building shots while visiting Hong Kong but you don´t want to leave the city boundaries, Causeway Bay, North Point and Quarry Bay are great locations to simply wander through the streets with no official destination while having your eyes up in the sky. These neighborhoods are studded with exceptional architecture and are a Mekka for everyone interested in this type of photography. Wherever it is the run-down facades of highrise buildings or the hustle and bustle of the everyday life in the narrow streets beneath, time will fly as you discover one remarkable viewpoint after the other.
Lee Tung Avenue
Also known as the Wedding Card Street, the 200 meters long pedestrian zone in the upper Wan Chai district was once well-known as a publishing and manufacturing spot for wedding cards and other related items. Having been completely demolished in 2007 as part of a remodeling plan, Lee Tung Avenue serves nowadays as a luxury shopping and residential complex and is a highly popular sightseeing spot due to the many red lanterns that have been installed above the open air mall. As there are many hip cafés and restaurants, the street and surroundings are a great location to enjoy a quick lunch at while exploring the scenery.
Wan Chai Market & Blue House
Being one of the few original tong lau houses left in Hong Kong, the Blue House is more or less a landmark for this traditional Hong Kong architecture style and should therefore be on everyone´s bucket list. Just a stone´s throw away from the Wan Chai Market, the building is located on the emerging Stone Nullah Lane and is part of the Wan Chai Heritage Trail. This also includes the Wan Chai Market itself. The building and the surrounding back streets are still in use today and hundreds of little shops and retailers are selling everything from food to souvenirs and clothing.
Pak Tai Temple
Officially named Yuk Hui Kung (Jade Void Palace), this temple was built by Wan Chai residents in 1863. The Pak Tai statue inside the main hall is three meters tall and about 400 years old, much older than the temple itself. On either side there are halls for other deities, including the Three Pristine Ones, Lung Mo (Dragon Mother), and the God of Wealth. Don’t miss the murals inside the halls, which portray scenes of life in olden times — including the staging of a Cantonese opera. A beautiful hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the Wan Chai district and absolutely worth seeing. Not only for the impressive lantern installation on the ceiling!
Hong Kong Skyline at Night
There is nothing like a Star Ferry crossing during twilight from Wan Chai over to Kowloon. Only a few cities in the world can call such a breathtaking illuminated skyline their own which simply looks fantastic at every time of day and in every kind of weather. Of course, the view from Tsim Sha Tsui onto Hong Kong Island is the most impressive one. Particularly if you are lucky and the world-famous junk “Aqua Luna” with her distinctive red sails is part of your panorama.
Causeway Bay Promenade & Victoria Park
I love to explore a city by walking. Not only because in my opinion you will have a much more detailed and authentic sightseeing experience, but also since it is a great way to fight jet lag by being active the entire day. This might help you to sleep through the night and therefore adjust more quickly to the local time. And you have access to almost every location that could reveal gorgeous outlooks and perspectives. Like the Causeway Bay Promenade, for example. Being currently a major construction site for the revitalized harbor promenade, you may still walk along the shoreline and enjoy fantastic vistas of Kowloon or the fishermen´s marinas from here. It is also just a short distance from Victoria Park. The park was formerly a typhoon shelter known as Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, part of Victoria Harbour, used as a refuge by fishing boats and yachts during typhoon seasons. In the 1950s, the shelter was reclaimed and the park was built there. It has long been a gathering place for domestic workers on Sundays, their usual day off. Since the early 2000s, helpers from Indonesia have come to predominate, in and around the western end of the Park, as their numbers in Hong Kong have increased relative to those from the Philippines.
While being a constant visitor to Hong Kong momentarily due to my primarily deployment on the A380 service, I have to admit that it does actually not bother me too much to come here at least once a month. There is so much to see and to experience that one will definitely not feel bored! Following, I have attached more photos of my latest Hong Kong layover. I hope you will like them and maybe I will have one day have the pleasure to fly you to one of Asia´s most exciting cities! Safe travels!