For a long time, Hong Kong has been a city of constant change. That frenetic, rejuvenating energy has captured the hearts of many. But sometimes it's important to hold your breath and remember how Hong Kong's past has shaped the present. Want to get a fuller picture of Hong Kong's history? You've come to the right place.
This historic building, built in the 1920s, is not to be missed if you pass through Stone Nullah Lane. One of three Lingnan-style stores in the "Blue House Cluster," this part of Wan Chai has been spared demolition and now, after a four-year renovation, looks better than ever. The complex includes residential buildings, a hotel, a community service center and, most uniquely, a space dedicated to documenting and showcasing the story of Hong Kong. Last year, it was awarded UNESCO's highest heritage dialogue award, the Award of Excellence. It is a real treat for anyone who wants to step back in time.
Pawnshops have a long history in Hong Kong. The industry's symbol - a coin with an inverted bat, symbolizing wealth and riches - is one of the city's most recognizable icons. Today, there are about 205 pawnshops in Hong Kong, mainly in Wanchai, Central and Kowloon. Sham Shui Po is particularly home to the Old Hang Hang and Nam Cheong pawnshops, which are some of the city's most beautiful places.
Once known as the "Dark City", Kowloon Walled City was a notorious and allegedly lawless enclave that was eventually demolished in 1993. It was once the most densely populated place on earth, with 33,000 dwellings on just 2.7 hectares (equivalent to 3.2 hectares) at one stage. That's a million people per square mile. Although not as dangerous as portrayed in popular culture, the Walled City was ordered to go before the handover. Crazy structures are still a popular part of local culture, and remnants can still be found in the parks that replaced the buildings.
Located at the foot of Jardine's Lookout, Haw Aw-boon, also known as "King Tiger's Head", was built in 1935. The building's garden became the first theme park in Hong Kong and was immortalized in media such as Street Fighter II. Sadly, in 2004, the garden and its exotic decorations were demolished and replaced by the sprawling residential area The Legend, and in 2017, the mansion itself was converted into a private music school called The Haw Par Music Farm. only time will tell if this monument will remain preserved.
Along Cumberland Road in Kowloon Tong sits the former home of kung fu legend Bruce Lee, a relatively small house that was unfortunately turned into a lovers' hotel in 1974 when it was bought by Mainland tycoon Yu Panglin. When Panglin died in 2015, fans wanted to turn it into a museum to commemorate the icon's life, but nothing was ever heard of it. Finally, the building was demolished in September 2019.
Sham Shui Po is not only a great place to buy electronics, it is also one of the oldest neighborhoods in Hong Kong. At 170 Yee Kuk Street, you can find a Grade II listed building built in the 1920s. This historic building is one of the few remaining veranda-style houses in Hong Kong, and was once the home of Sun King King, who framed a painting. Although dilapidated, its structure is a reminder that Sham Shui Po is still a sleepy neighborhood on the edge of town, rather than the increasingly trendy location it is becoming.
"The Tung Lung Chau Rock Carvings are roughly 3,000 years old, the oldest and largest of their kind in Hong Kong, measuring 1.8 million by 2.4 million. The carvings, which sit on the sea near the ruins of Tung Lung Chau, are animal-shaped and have an intricate spiral shape, and some experts believe they depict the image of a dragon. Petroglyphs are not common in Hong Kong, so they are definitely worth seeing.