CHINA  |  Hong Kong, China Travel Guide
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Wanchai, lying just to the east of Admiralty, was once home to brothels notorious among sailors and the area’s seedy ambience and charms form the setting for Richard Mason’s novel about a Wanchai prostitute, The World of Suzie Wong. The book was later made into a movie, although much of this was actually shot around Hollywood Road in adjacent Sheung Wan. These days only an inkling of Wanchai’s former iniquity remains in the form of a few girlie bars which are outnumbered by a newer collection of pubs, clubs and restaurants, all set amidst the obligatory sea of skyscrapers. The most impressive of Wanchai’s buildings are near the harbor. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre at 1 Harbour Road resembles anything from a manta ray to lotus petals, depending on your perspective, and was where Hong Kong was formally returned to China in 1997. Outside the building, Golden Bauhinia Square holds daily flag raising and lowering ceremonies popular with mainland tourists. Behind the Exhibition Centre, Central Plaza’s golden glow is unmissable and you can ascend to the 46th floor for good views over the harbor.

Hong Kong's Causeway Bay

East along the tramlines from Wanchai, Hennessy Road becomes Yee Woo Street and you’ll approach Hong Kong's Causeway Bay, which seems to be inaccurately named until you realize that this bustling district was under water until the 1950s! While there’s plenty of eating and shopping to be done in Causeway Bay, along with a range of accommodation options, there is little to see. Down on the waterfront the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter is full of yachts and sampans. Nearby the Noon Day Gun still sounds daily in homage to bygone days. Victoria Park in the east also affords some respite from Causeway Bay’s hustle and bustle. Farther out, the 200-year-old Tin Hau temple by the MTR station of the same name (exit B) is also worth a look. The temple was built by a Hakka family who found a statue to Tin Hau among some rocks on the shore and so they erected a shelter to house it. Over time that became the temple you can see today. Aside from these “sights,” activities focus on shopping and one of the best places to do this is Times Square, which is actually a couple of modern towers packed with shops and restaurants.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park, situated in the Causeway Bay area, offers some of the largest open green in the city and is a popular tai chi spot. There are a number of recreational facilities (including a public swimming pool and a boating lake). On June 4th every year, the park is transformed into a sea of candles in remembrance of the Tian’anmen Square Incident, testimony to Hong Kong’s relative freedom from mainland authority. If you’re visiting during Chinese New Year it’s worth paying a visit as the park hosts the annual flower fair.

Happy Valley

Happy Valley, at 2 Sports Road, is the colonial institution of Hong Kong’s first race track. It was established in 1846 when the land on which it now stands was just a mosquito-infested marsh. Racing was a popular pastime for the British and, ever since its opening, Happy Valley has generated huge revenue. It still remains one of the places to be seen. Racing season is from September to June and if you’re a racing enthusiast you may find the Hong Kong Racing Museum of interest. It offers a detailed history of horseracing in Hong Kong, the history of Happy Valley and even houses the skeleton of one of Hong Kong’s bestloved racehorses, Silver Lining.

Last updated December 4, 2010
Posted in   China  |  Hong Kong
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