No.105-107 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Elegant, exotic and hip, the old neighborhood of Sheung Wan is an eclectic blend of shopping experiences dominated by traditional Chinese beliefs and businesses.
Start with the historic Western Market, which offers an array of handicraft shops nestled inside an Edwardian-style mall. To the west is Dried Seafood Street, Wing Lok Street and Bonham Strand West, where locals head to purchase dried abalone, scallops and other pungent products for soups and tonics. Make sure to drop into Koh Shing Street, where you’ll witness the ancient practice of Chinese medicine in action.
To the east of Western Market, you can also browse the antiques shops and curios on and around Cat Street, before wrapping up your day by perusing the designer household accessories and hip restaurants in the shabby colonial chic of Gough Street.
Referring to the area south of Hollywood Road, SoHo is the multicultural wine, dine and swanky nightlife side of Central. The upmarket bars and exotic restaurants of SoHo’s historic and narrow streets are chic to the extreme.
Come during the day to explore the neighbourhoods attractive fashion boutiques, art galleries and antiques shops. Indulge in lunch and a glass of vino or hang around for sundown, when SoHo really comes into its own.
Lan Kwai Fong is one of Hong Kong’s most popular nightlife hot spots and home to over 90 restaurants and bars. The atmosphere ranges from stylish wine pairings to raucous jelly shots and the food on offer is as diverse as the clientele.
Thanks to Hong Kong’s dominance in Asian cinema, this centre of late-night revelry is so renowned that its official street sign is more photographed than many of the celebrities who haunt its clubs. Mostly, the area is crowded with people from the surrounding offices of Central, eager to shake off the working day or week. Get in the thick of it with a street side perch, or watch the antics on the road below from one of the upper floors.
Lan Kwai Fong usually hosts carnivals and other celebrations during major festivals, such as Halloween, Christmas and New Year and has its own beer festival.
Everywhere you step in Hong Kong, you’d be hard-pressed to miss signs of the city’s unique fusion of East and West—a complex multicultural vibe that makes it such a unique and easy-to-navigate travel destination. Hong Kong’s Chinese and British make-up runs through its fabric: it’s in the very stone of its preserved buildings and the old-fashioned street signs, on the racks of local fashion designers and the tables of the best restaurateurs. From this cultural fusion—these leftovers from the past—emerges a new, modern Hong Kong.
Statue Square in the middle of downtown Hong Kong is a fine symbol of the city’s architectural complexity. First named “Royal Square” when it was built in the late 19th century, it was later dubbed Statue Square due to the number of effigies here: Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Edward VII were all honored in kind. The only statue still standing after World War II is that of Sir Thomas Jackson, a former HSBC chief. Bordering the square sits the Legislative Council Building: neo-classical in style, its designers—who had previously worked on the British monarchy’s Buckingham Palace—incorporated Far Eastern characteristics such as airy balconies and double-layered Chinese tiles on the roof. Its foundation is made from hundreds of Chinese fir tree trunks that were driven into the reclaimed ground. Another colonial remnant here is the oval-shaped Elizabeth II postbox: this red pill box is the last of its kind and you’ll notice that it’s now been painted green—a symbol of post-1997 Hong Kong.
Overlooking the square towers the iconic HSBC Main Building, a thoroughly modern take on an ancient Chinese concept. Designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster (London’s The Gherkin), components were brought in from all over the world, but it is the building’s distinctive feng shui that really gives it character. Its ideal orientation (water in front; mountains behind) is enhanced by the unusual alignment of external steel columns believed to ward off evil spirits; an internal layout that is divided into five zones to mirror the five elements of fire, earth, water, wood and metal; and a pair of lion statues (Stephen and Stitt) marking the entrance that are said to guard the building’s wealth.