In summer 2013, I spent six full days in Hong Kong exploring the ins and outs of one of Asia’s greatest cities. As I’ve been dreaming about Hong Kong since my childhood days of watching Cantonese films, I was able to tick it off my bucket list and capture these pictures on the Olympus EP-3.
1) Tin Hau Temple
A quiet afternoon at Tin Hau Temple on Temple Street. Hong Kong is home to over 600 temples, of which more than 70 are dedicated to Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea. The protector of fishermen and sailors, she is a venered figure for residents living in coastal areas like Hong Kong.
2) The Jade Market
Just outside Tin Hau Temple is the Jade Market, popular with tourists looking for jade bracelets, amulets, Buddha statues, trinkets and souvenirs. The Chinese character for jade is made up of the words ‘beauty’ and ‘purity’, which explains why it’s seen as a good luck charm.
3) The Blue House
The Blue House located on Stone Nullah Lane is a heritage building famed for its 1920s Lingnan-style architecture. Located in Wan Chai district, the Grade I Historical Building housed the kung fu studio of Lam Sai-wing in the 1950s, a student of legendary kung fu master Wong Fei-hung.
4) Veggies at the Wan Chai Old Market
A colourful vegetable store outside Wan Chai Old Market. Wan Chai is one of Hong Kong’s oldest neighbourhoods, where the earliest coastlines were located on Queen’s Road East. The area was first home to Chinese villagers, who were mostly fishermen.
5) Meat Market in Wan Chai
A pork butcher outside Wan Chai Old Market. According to the USDA Census of Agriculture, Hong Kong ranks #3 for pork consumption per capita by country, following closely after Denmark and Spain, thanks to famous dishes like char siew buns, pork chops and pork congee.
6) Trams in Wan Chai
The ubiquitous double decker trams running along Johnston Road in Wan Chai district. The white 4-storey colonial building is The Pawn, whose original tenant was the famous Woo Cheong Pawn Shop. Today, it is a popular British fine dining restaurant and gastropub.
7) Victoria Peak
The Peak is Hong Kong’s number one attraction with its jaw-dropping views of the island. Known also as Victoria Peak or Mount Austin, it is the highest mountain in Hong Kong at almost 2,000 feet. The tram ride is extremely steep but scenic.
8) Nighttime at Victoria Peak
The view at night is completely different from daytime – it’s one of the most amazing I’ve seen in the world. A quick tip: Take the public bus on your way down instead of the tram – you’ll get awesome views as the bus goes winding down and dangerously close to the edge.
9) Junk Boat on Victoria Harbour
A typical junk boat sails past the Victoria Harbour with Hong Kong Island in the backdrop. This photo was taken at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Kowloon at about 7.30pm while I was waiting for the Symphony of Lights to begin at 8pm.
10) Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
The Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, or TST for short, is a great place for a relaxing stroll. The promenade is where the Avenue of the Stars is located, a stretch of celebrity handprints of Hong Kong’s movie stars like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
11) The Ladies Market
The Ladies Market is another one of Hong Kong’s top tourist attractions. Located along Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok, it’s a great place to buy T-shirts, Chinese fabrics, handbags and shoes. However, it’s pretty touristy and I would recommend it only if you have souvenirs to buy.
12) The Goldfish Market
Just before you get to the Ladies Market is the The Goldfish Market, located along Tung Choi Street North. Here, a man is waiting for customers at his aquarium shop, which sells all kinds of pet fish, tortoises, plants, algae and corals.
13) Goldfish Galore
These small tropical fishes are wrapped in translucent plastic bags with prices written on them in blue marker. The Goldfish Market is open daily from 10am to 10pm, with new shipment of fishes arriving every week for pet enthusiasts.
14) Good Luck Goldfish
Brightly-coloured goldfish displayed in an aquarium tank outside a store to attract customers. Goldfish are popular as pets because of feng shui beliefs that an aquarium of goldish is an auspicious addition to one’s home to bring good luck and fortune.
15) Electric Tram
Getting on the electric tram at night is one of the best ways to sightsee in Hong Kong. Running across Hong Kong Island from east to west, the ride costs a flat fare of HKD2.30 (that’s a quarter in the US!) and is one of few double-decker tram systems left in the world today.
16) Bank of China
The tram route passes the financial district of Central and Admiralty. The edifice with the big X is the Bank of China Building lighting up at night – one of my favourite skyscrapers in Hong Kong. No wonder so many Hollywood blockbusters are filmed here (like The Dark Knight)!
17) Johnston Road
The electric tram also took a slow journey along Johnston Road in Wan Chai. Here, the night markets come alive at about 8pm, with plenty of locals and tourists alike shopping for clothes, toys and electronics.
18) Mong Kok Broadway
Mong Kok is one of the liveliest and busiest areas in Hong Kong. A legion of red cabs are stuck in traffic, with advertisements in the background for Broadway electronic store and WeChat, a version of Whatsapp that’s popular in China and Hong Kong.
19) The Streets of Mong Kok
A scene from a street in Mong Kok at night, similar to the busy pedestrian crossing of Shibuya in Tokyo. Hong Kong is one of Asia’s fastest cities, with a population of 7 million and a gross domestic product of 248.6 billion USD per year.
20) Shau Kei Wan
The tram journey ends in Shau Kei Wan, a residential suburb on the eastern coast of Hong Kong Island. It is almost 10pm and traditional businesses like pharmacies and opticians have closed, but the night has just begun for food proprietors as locals come out to eat with their families.
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