If you’re looking for the beating heart of Hong Kong, look no further than the colourful, chaotic and utterly charming neighbourhood of Central.
When I visit a city I always love to get to the center of it all – the place where the city began, and in many ways this is it, where you’ll find layers of history, traditions and culture merging with modernity and technology. And this is what I love most about Hong Kong, how pop up cocktail bars share the same cobblestone streets as ancient temples, and old world tailors sit amongst luxury brands. Which is why I’m excited to bring you the second guide (see the first here) in my series with Hong Kong Tourism, this time all about Old Town Central. Being the modern city it is, time stands still for no one in Hong Kong, but if you know where to look in Central you’ll find remnants of the past that remind Hong Kong where it has come from, as well as beacons of the future which show where it is going.
My favourite ribbon store on Pottinger Street
Possession Street is worth noting as the British navy landed at nearby Possession Point and began 150 years of colonial rule. These days it’s home to lots of restaurants and boutiques, and the odd antique and ‘shop-that-sells-everything’ stores that will give you a sense of local life.
Possession Street, Sheung Wan
Man Mo Temple
Built in the mid 1800’s, Man Mo Temple pays tribute to the God of Literature and the God of War, and is such a beautiful place to visit to get a real sense of Chinese culture and traditions. There’s a serenity to the incense burning and decor that will have you feeling a world away from the streets of Central.
124-126 Hollywood Rd, Tai Ping Shan, Hong Kong
Cat St Market
When I first arrived in Hong Kong I spent a lot of my time visiting Cat Street Markets, sifting through the old antiques and checking out all the cast off vintage clothing. It felt so different to anything I had ever experienced before. For any newcomer it is a fantastic place to start the day, my tip is to visit the smaller antique shops on the side streets that are treasure troves of old items!
Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan
Tai Ping Shan Street
When most people think of Hong Kong they think of sky scrapers and rush hour traffic, but in Tai Ping Shan Street you can get a sense of a slower pace of Hong Kong, with walk up buildings, corner cafes and a pedestrianized feel. Visit the boutiques, cafes and galleries located along the street and down the side streets.
Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan
Chances are all that walking is going to have given you a bit of an appetite, in which case you should stop into this lovely corner cafe for a Masala Chai and a fig scone. Chances are you’ll feel like staying a while!
18 Tai Ping Shan St, Tai Ping Shan, Hong Kong
If you’re looking for gorgeous porcelain shops, you’ve come to the right place. On both Staunton and Peel streets you will find traditional stores selling a range of wares. If you’re like me, you might just
need a spare suitcase.
Tung Wan Ceramics Store, Staunton Street, Soho
Ho Lee Fook
I can honestly say this Chinese Restaurant is one of my favorites in Hong Kong, we go there weekly! You’ll probably have to wait for a table, so put your name down and get a drink either at Aberdeen Social or Quinary.
1 Elgin St, Central, Hong Kong
Looking for some innovative food with a touch of local flavour? Then you simply have to try Little Bao. With her innovative take on the traditional ‘bao’ or Chinese buns, May Chow, owner and chef makes old new again, in the most delicious way possible!
66 Staunton St, Central, Hong Kong
Aberdeen Street Social
I love stopping by PMQ for a browse, and always end up having a drink (or 3) on the terrace at Aberdeen Street Social, it’s another spot that will have you feeling that the chaos of the streets is a world away.
G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St, Central, Hong Kong
Graham Street Markets
Another place that captivated me when I arrived in Hong Kong, these bustling markets are a great place to see the real lives of local Hong Kong people, shopping for produce, running their stalls and eating noodle soup.
Fine Print Cafe and Bar
A local favorite of mine, if you visit chances are I’ll be here too (come say hey!). Run by Australians, this tiny cafe serves great coffee and avo toast in the day, and wine and cheese at night… What more could you want?
38 Peel St, Central, Hong Kong
Central is characterized by a number of staircases that lead you up the hill, but none is more iconic than Pottinger Street, made out of stone slabs and running between Queens Road Central and Wyndham Street. As you lurch your way up (or down) you’ll see colour and chaos – haberdashery stores, costume shops and bars jostling for prime position.
Pottinger Street, Central
Pin this map for later!
Visiting the antique stores on Hollywood Road.
Serene moments in Man Mo Temple.
Fun on Cat Street.
It’s so pretty, you won’t want to leave!
101 uses for the colour red.
The shop that inspired 9734902 DIYS.
Hong Kong Tourism Board have recently launched a fantastic set of self guided walking tours, with five different themes depending on what you are looking to immerse yourself in. Make sure to check them out here, or grab yourself a hard copy when you land.
See the first post in this series, another area you must visit!
This post is in collaboration with Hong Kong Tourism.