One of the hotels of Hong Kong, if not the world, The Peninsula Hotel was not used for its intended purpose - a hotel - until two years after its completion. It served as the headquarters for the British Army during the war with China in 1926, which it also did again during World War II. On 25 December 1941, at the end of the Battle of Hong Kong, British colonial officials led by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, surrendered in person at the Japanese headquarters on the third floor of The Peninsula.
In 1994, the hotel was expanded with a 30-storey tower that follows the same style as the existing building. The facade of the existing hotel building was preserved, including the forecourt, the lobby and the front facade. It's so exclusive and a must for celebrities and the like that it features a heli-pad on the roof! Not only is the hotel a famous institution in Hong Kong, it also is famous for its fleet of 14 long wheelbase Rolls Royces which ferry its clients to the airport and back. In fact, Michael Palin, who stayed here during the making of his 1988 series Around the World in 80 Days arrived at the cargo port only to be transferred to the hotel in one of the Rollers!
If you want anything in Hong Kong here is where to find it - just be careful not to look around - you might just come away with more purchases than you expected.
These markets open at 4pm but you need to wait until dark to get the effect of the many colourful stalls holding just about anything you could think of.
Some stall-holders will even brave a rain storm in the hope of making a sale. The night I went was very wet.
The Avenue of Stars was designed from the Walk of Fame in Hollywood and is located in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is a promenade along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour. As with the ‘walk’ in Hollywood it honours celebrities of the film industry of Hong Kong.
The promenade was built in 1982 around the New World Centre and was opened to the public in 2004. Entry is at many points from Salisbury Park and the promenade continues to the Clock Tower near the Star Ferry terminal. There are statues along the walk – some depicting movie making and others of individual stars. The statue of Bruce Lee is popular with locals and visitors alike. There were 101 stars honoured at last count (according to Wikipedia).
The Avenue of Stars is a popular place from which to view the nightly Symphony of Lights.
Nathan Road is the main road in Kowloon, Hong Kong and goes from Tsim Sha Tsui to Mong Kok. It is famous for its shops, restaurants and tourists.
It was started in 1861 as the first road built in Kowloon after the land was ceded to Great Britain. It was originally named Robinson Road but was confused with a road of the same name on Hong Kong Island. Its name was changed to Nathan Road in 1909 after Sir Matthew Nathan, the 13th Governor of Hong Kong.
The shop signs are unique in the way that they are placed out over the road. This helps produce a wonderland of lights at night.
- @ 8AM, from our hostel in Mongkok, take bus in Nathan Road to Tsim Sha Tsui...
- alight at TST, take Cameron Rd and head straight to Chatham Road South
- turn left Park Hotel and Ramada Hotel and walk straight to Rosary Catholic Church. Across the road is the HKg Museum of History
- retrace steps back to Nathan Rd, have time to visit Parklane boutiques, and cut over to Haiphong Rd to the Kowloon Park – explore the park, it's beautiful...
- then from Haiphong Rd., walk straight till you reach Canton Rd.
- to your left, walk straight to the Star Ferry terminal in Salisbury Rd to go Tourist Info Center - get brochures, ask questions
- from the Center, proceed to the Promenade/Avenue of Stars. Start from the Clock Tower onwards…walk the Av. of Stars…take pictures...
- retrace steps back to the ferry terminal, take ferry to Central, HKg Island...
For more pictures of the tour, please see my walking tour travelogues...
Nathan Road is a main road that roads straight through the middle of Kowloon and Mongkok, from north to south. It was the first road to be built in Kowloon, in 1861, after the land was ceded to the British following the second Opium War. The road runs for about 4km (2.5 miles) from the Peninsula and Sheraton hotels on Salisbury Road past the infamous Chungking and Mirador Mansions, Kowloon Park (this first section is known as the Golden Mile) before heading on up into Mongkok. It's a real mixture of glitzy posh hotels and crumbling apartments but is lit up with non-stop neon-lit signs and is best viewed at night when walking from the nearby Temple Street Market.
This wonderful new garden, opened in November 2006, is located in the Diamond Hill area of New Kowloon opposite the Chin Lin Nunnery. The garden is designed in the style of the Tang Dynasty, a classical circulatory landscaped garden based on the blue print of the Jiangshouju Garden in Shanxi Province, China. It covers an area of 35,000m2 and includes trees, rocks, hillocks and water features such as ponds, waterfalls and fountains. Along the route are timber structures in the Tang architectural style such as pavilions, terraces, verandahs, halls, bridges and gates. There are small exhibitions including an architecture gallery and rock gallery. It really is a lovely, peaceful spot in the middle of the urban hustle and bustle. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist nunnery in Diamond Hill, New Kowloon and located in amongst several high-rise apartments blocks. But that doesn't spoil the beauty of it as it is exceptionally beautiful with courtyards containing lotus ponds full of Choy carp whilst the complex buildings have been built out of wood in the style of Tang architecture (AD618-907) without the use of a single nail. A gem of Chinese monastic architecture, it has 16 Buddhist halls, a Zen-style rock garden and a magnificent Ten Thousand Buddha’s Pagoda. The nunnery was founded in the 1930s and a massive renovation was undertaken in the 1980s. It's a wonderful peaceful place to visit and one of my favourite places to visit whilst I was in Hong Kong. Opposite is a lovely garden that was opened in 2006.
Open: 7am-5pm Thur-Tue.
This large and busy Taoist temple in the Wong Tai Sin district of New Kowloon, is dedicated to the Great Immortal Wong who lived in the 4th century A.D. Wong Tai Sin is regarded as the bringer of good luck and a healer of illnesses via a practice called Kau Cim where prayers are answered in the form of fortune telling Chi Chi Sticks. 100 sticks are placed in a bamboo cylindrical cup and the querent thinks silently or whispers it to the deity about their question. The shaking of the cylinder results in at least one stick leaving the cylinder and being dropped onto the floor. Each stick, with its designated number, represents one answer via an answer paper. The writing on the piece of paper will provide an answer to the question.
The Hong Kong Museum of History first opened in 1975 and occupies an area of 7,000 sq.m., over 8 galleries with over 3,700 exhibits. The museum's collection centres on history, archaeology and ethnography. 19th and 20th century photographs illustrate the development of the former colony, while archaeological finds - the Museum is officially responsible for all excavations in Hong Kong - document all the region's cultural phases, going right back to prehistory. The ethnographical department is concerned with arts and crafts, beliefs and customs, traditional agriculture and architecture. This museum is a must see whilst in Hong Kong.
Open: 10am-6pm Mondays, Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10am-7pm on Sundays. Closed on Tuesdays.
Admission: HK$10 but is free on Wednesdays.
The theme of the Museum of Science is technological and scientific progress in many fields of human activity. With its 500 or so exhibits, it is a "hands on" museum, where visitors can set robots in motion, learn to operate the very latest communications technology or study complex scientific and technical matters with the aid of a computer. It attracts younger visitors in particular and helps to familiarize them with the latest equipment. One section explains the history of the Chinese art of natural healing and the importance of yin and yang. Particularly popular, too, is the aircraft department, where visitors can test their skill on nerve-tingling flight-simulators. A particular attraction is the 22m/72ft high electricity generator, which is activated twice daily. Another exhibit is a DC-3 suspended from the ceiling which is the first Hong Kong airliner operated by Cathy Pacific.
The attractive four-story building was designed by the internationally known Italian architect Remo Riva and completed in 1990.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays : 1pm - 9pm
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays : 10am - 9pm
Closed Thursdays. Admission: HK$25
This large 33 acre (13.47 hectare) park is a breath of (well I was going to say) fresh air in the middle of Kowloon. The park was formerly the site of Whitfield Camp barracks for the British with a battery along its western side until it was redeveloped in 1970. Today the park makes for a pleasant visit with a swimming pool, sports centre, children's playground, aviary, Chinese garden, bird lake and exhibition centre.
Open: 6am - midnight
This mosque is one of the four principal mosques in Hong Kong and is located along Nathan Road at the southern end of Kowloon Park. It was built in 1984 and is capable of accommodating up to approximately 2000 people.
Chungking Mansions, built in 1961, has been synonymous in Hong Kong for cheap accommodation, shops and curry restaurants for years. It's a 17-storey, five block, crumbling, ugly heap of a building that certainly won't win any awards for being aesthetically pleasing on the eye. But somehow it's because of all this that it endears you to visit and take a look to see just what it's like (I'll let you draw your own conclusions if you do decide to visit). It sits on near the southern end of the long Nathan Road in Kowloon, right in the heart of where everything happens in the area. Mirador Mansions, just along the road, is of a similar standard.
The old Railway Clock Tower is a landmark in Hong Kong. It is located right at the bottom tip of Kowloon in an area known as Tsim Sha Tsui, near where the Star Ferry terminates. It is the only remnant of the original site of the former Kowloon Station on the Kowloon-Canton Railway. It was built in 1915 out of red bricks and granite and is 44 metres high, topped with a 7 metre high lightning rod.