‘Kowloon is an area in the Northern part of Hong Kong and was a separate city before being purchased by Britain in 1860 and reunited with China in 1997…’
It’s a thriving area of the city, filled with noise and colour and it seems like nothing ever stops to rest. This is a quick guide to six amazing sights to see in the Kowloon area of Hong Kong…
Nathan Road by Night
When I first visited Hong Kong in 2005, I was bummed by how foggy the view was from my 20th-floor hotel window. What I didn’t realise at the time was that it’s pretty much always like this. It wasn’t due to fog; it was smog and you quickly get used to it. Nathan Square provides a kind of focal point for the area and probably has some of the best night markets I’ve ever been to.
I recall thinking there was probably nothing I couldn’t purchase while I was shopping. I spent my time buying video games for my stepson, bags for me and, for some unknown reason, a myriad of incense sticks.
Take a Ride on Hong Kong’s famous Star Ferry
If you’re looking to get yourself some amazing shots of Hong Kong, hopping the Star Ferry and crossing Victoria Harbour is a must. It’s not the comfiest of crossings if I recall, but it does give you a fabulous sense of the city. The crossing takes a little more than 10 minutes and is one of the more serene activities to indulge in. Most notably, going when the sun goes down gives you a magical view of the Hong Kong skyline.
Monkey around in Kam Shan Park
Hong Kong looks like it’s full of multi-storey homes, hotels and office buildings. However, it does have a good chunk of beautiful countryside. Taking a little time out from the lively city allows you to get to know the other side of Hong Kong. And Kam Sham is the perfect place to do it.
The park, locally known as Monkey Hill, covers just shy of 3.5 square kilometres. It has walks, jogging trails and wonderful views of Smuggler’s Hill. The main draw of the park for visitors, however, is the large conservation of Macaque monkeys. From a total population of 2,100 monkeys in Hong Kong, 1,800 of them can be found here. The fine and possible jail sentence for injuring or killing any of these national treasures is steep. The people and the government are (rightly) very protective of their furry neighbours.
Worship at Wong Tai Sin Temple
This temple is home to 3 faiths; including Taoism, Buddhism, and the great Confucius. The structure itself is dedicated to The Great Immortal Wong, who was a Taoist deity with great healing powers.
Prior to 1956, the temple was only open to Taoists and their families, before being opened to the general public. Visitors to the site – and it attracts a LOT – are a result of the traditional Chinese architecture and colourful reds, yellows and greens of the painted structures and arches.
The Good Wish Garden is probably the highlight because it’s here you can try out the practice of kay cim. This is where you can light incense sticks and shake a cylinder of bamboo to receive your fortune.
Immerse Yourself in Culture at Tsim Sha Tsui
Known locally as TST this area dominates part of Victoria Harbour. It’s a magnet for tourists and locals for authentic food, shopping and nightlife. In addition to that all-important view of the Hong Kong skyline, of course. The Avenue of Stars is located here; the HK equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
This avenue pays homage to the stars of Hong Kong, including the legend that is Bruce Lee. At night, this is the location for the Symphony of Lights, which kicks off at 8 pm and sets the night sky ablaze with colour.
There are also various museums in this area, including the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The Science Museum focuses on five different themes, including Life Science and Natural Science and Technology.
The Energy Machine in the building, standing at a rather impressive 72ft, is the largest of its kind in the world. The Museum of Art is no less impressive and likely to be yet more so when it reopens its doors in 2019, after being closed for remodelling. It focuses on Chinese art and houses a collection with more than 16,000 pieces. It also has an especially relevant Tea Ware section, which is the first Tea Museum on the planet.
Also located in the TST area, this park covers a massive (relatively speaking) 33 acres of prime land. Reconstructed and reopened in 1989, the park is designed in traditional Chinese style. It includes a Maze Garden, Sculpture Walk, Aviary, Sports Centre and a Swimming Pool that can hold 1,500 people. Quite why you’d want to go swimming with 1,499 other people is beyond me, but go right ahead.
The park puts on free performances on weekends, which are very popular with locals and visitors. These include bird watching and martial arts. Who wouldn’t want to take a martial arts class in the middle of a park in Hong Kong on a Sunday afternoon?? Exercise, personal safety AND with these surroundings? Sign me up.
What are your go-to sights in Kowloon?