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Kowloon

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Kowloon

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Street in Tsim Sha Shui

Kowloon (九龍, "nine dragons" in Cantonese) is the peninsula to the north of Hong Kong Island. It lacks some of the glamour of the Island, but makes up for it with unmatched and distinctly Chinese vibrancy: Kowloon is by some measures the most densely populated place on the planet, and has a matching array of places to shop, eat and sleep. Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀), the tip of the peninsula, is Hong Kong's main tourist drag and backpacker ghetto, while Mong Kok (旺角) packs in a huge array of shops and markets in an area of less than a square kilometer.

Get in

The classic way to get to Kowloon is by the Star Ferry from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui, only $2.2. Most of Hong Kong's rail lines also converge on Kowloon.

See

  • Kowloon Park
  • Cruise ships berthed at Ocean Terminal
  • The Kowloon Waterfront offers splendid views of the Hong Kong shoreline and skyline. At night the best spots to take photographs from are occupied by enterprising locals who will take your picture for money.
  • A Symphony Of Lights. Every night at 8pm there is a light show involving Hong Kong Island's key buildings. On Monday evenings, spectators can listen to the show's music and English narration live at the Avenue of Stars, on radio on FM103.4 MHz or by calling 35 665 665. [1]
  • Built in the 1950s, Shek Kip Mei Estate is the only place where you can see the living conditions in Hong Kong during the 50s - 60s. There are still a few blocks of buildings built in 1950s and residents are still living in them! Get off at Shek Kip Mei MTR Station and it is accessible on foot.
  • Hong Kong Space Museum

Do

  • Hong Kong Cultural Centre
  • Tai Chi Free lessons in English every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning from 8am-9am on the Avenue of Stars.

Buy

If your budget doesn't quite stretch to the Tiffanys, Guccis and Shanghai Tangs of Hong Kong Island, head down to Kowloon for more affordable shopping.

Stores

  • Tsim Sha Tsui's main drag Nathan Road is packed with stores, particularly cheap electronics shops. Be careful when shopping here: these slippery guys know every trick in the book and some stores are notorious for overcharging tourists. Normally locals seldom go to Tsim Sha Tsui for electronic products. It is more advisible to go to Mong Kok or Sham Shui Po instead.
  • Harbour City is an enormous shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, the largest in Hong Kong. It is next to the Star Ferry pier. There are almost shops of any description there. The goods are mostly mid price range to high price brand name goods.

If you are booklover on travel and like to meet other backpackers, you can try The Travellers Home Bookshop located on 2/f 55 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

  • Festival Walk is another excellent shopping all in the suburb of Kowloon Tong. A very pleasant place to shop, similar to Pacific Place but more catered for locals.
  • New Century Plaza, adjacent to the Mongkok train station, is popular with Mainland Chinese tourists. Offers a decent range of mid range to low range products.
  • Langham Place, located in Mongkok, is an entertainment complex comprising of a 15-storey shopping mall, a 59-level Grade A office tower and the 5-star Langham Place Hotel. Over 300 shops where you will find everything from fashion labels to casual wear, from accessories to electronics. On special occassions, large crowds will gather under the Digital Sky to celebrate festive events such as New Year's Eve countdown. Throughout the year, there will also be live musical performances, art exhibitions, and a host of special events to keep everyone entertained.
  • Lok Fu Centre, next to Lok Fu MTR station, is a place for cheaper goods and food. Located in a public housing estate, goods are generally cheaper and affordable by the local general public. There is also a large department store there.

Markets

  • The Night Market is a set of street blocks in Kowloon barricaded after end of day working hours, with vendor tables in the street selling almost anything (usually until midnight). Lots of touristy stuff, but also some bargain items like Chinese silk pajamas, toys and cheap leather goods.
  • The colorful Flower Market and the adjoining Bird Garden (Prince Edward St West) are worth a visit even if shrubs and parrots aren't high on your shopping list.
  • In Mongkok, Tung Choi Street (通菜街), also known as the Womens' Market (女人街), is Kowloon's biggest outdoor bazaar shopping experience. In a nearby street shops sell sports goods and shoes at reasonable prices. The pedestrian zone is mostly for electronic goods. There are several small shopping malls selling computer products but are probably more suitable for locals. Everything is cheaper here but beware of being ripped off.
  • Cheung Sha Wan Road is famous for garments. There are many shops selling clothes along Cheung Sha Wan Road. It is within walking distance from Sham Shui Po MTR Station. A number of bus routes also pass through Cheung Sha Wan Road.

Electronics and Computers

  • Sham Shui Po has the biggest number of computer and electronic vendors. Golden Computer Centre is the largest computer mall in Hong Kong, with both hardware and software vendors competing extremely vigorously. The nearby Apliu Street is a collection of electronic stalls, where you can find mobile phones, small electronic devices as well as tools. See the Selected Routes for more information.
  • Mong Kok is popular for AV products and computers. Shops can be found along the road, but normally the shops on upper floors , which tourists may often miss, always sell things cheaper. A block of famous "upper floor" AV shops, which is popular among locals, is Fa Yuen Commercial Building (75-77 Fa Yuen Street), easily accessible from Mong Kok MTR Station.

Eat

Kowloon is the place to go for cheap and authentic Chinese food

Dim sum

  • Jade Palace (Star House, 4th floor) is a tasty and tourist-friendly dim sum spot. Order by selecting from a card (also in English), not from a cart. Try the shrimp and chive dumplings and the tripe in ginger soup. Dim sum served from 11 AM to 3 PM daily, dishes $16-40 each.
  • Choi Lung Restaurant (Shek Kip Mei MTR Station, B2 Exit) is a typical local Chinese Restaurant offering dim sum and Cantonese style dinner. Dim Sum starts from HK$4.80. It is a nightclub after seven with lots of beautiful music.

Budget

  • Food Court on 8/F, Dragon Centre, Sham Shui Po (near Sham Shui Po MTR Station, accessible on foot) provides a variety of Chinese, Southeast Asian and Western cusines at an attractive range of price. Dishes range from HK$10 up.
  • Fa Yuen Street Complex (123A Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, near Mong Kok MTR Station and Mong Kok KCR Station) is a complex consisting of a wet market, cooked food centre, sports centre and library. It is a place where you can find cheap and genuine Hong Kong local style food in Kowloon downtown.
  • Chunking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui houses many budget Indian Restaurants. Touts at the enterance will lead you to the restaurants inside.

Drink

  • Felix, atop the Peninsula Hotel on Salisbury Rd, is known for its Philippe Starck interior and the views of the harbour skyline, especially from the men's bathroom. According to legend the world's first screwdriver was also mixed up in here; these days sampling this simple mix of orange juice and vodka will set you back around HKD$99 a pop.

Sleep

Budget

A large number of guesthouses are located in Mong Kok. They offer cheap accommodation. A complete list of licensed guesthouses is available on the Government's web site. Choose Yau Tsim Mong (18) district.

  • Dragon Hostel, 83 Argyle St, Mongkok tel. +852-2395 0577, [2]. A short walking distance from the Mongkok MTR Station.

Chung King Mansions on Nathan Road is home to some budget hotels.

Splurge

  • Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Rd, [3]. Hong Kong's grand old hotel with a commanding presence, some of Hong Kong's best bars and restaurants, and equally commanding prices starting at around $2500. Or how about the $50,000 honeymoon suite package including a helicopter tour of the city?
  • New World Renaissance, 22 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel. +852-2-3694111, [4]. Decently located four-star hotel just off the Kowloon waterfront, but it's about 8 minutes on foot to the nearest MTR station and the rooms are not quite as opulent as the lobby. Internet rates from $700.
  • Kowloon Shangri-La, 64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, tel. +852 2721 2111, [5]. Accessible through MTR Exit G. From airport to hotel: Its takes 20 minutes by the Airport Express Train [6] from the Airport to Kowloon Station. Then the Airport Express passengers can take the free Airport Express Shuttle Bus (route K4) from the Kowloon Station to the hotel (duration: 15 minutes).