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  • Writer's pictureTania Wee

Getting to know West Kowloon, Hong Kong

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Located in the western part of Kowloon Peninsula, West Kowloon is well-known for being the art and culture hub of Hong Kong. With the district’s rich heritage and vibrant street life in Yau Ma Tei and Jordan along with its two new world-class museums – M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), West Kowloon is set to becoming a landmark neighbourhood in art and cultural tourism.

West Kowloon has long been rich with the local life of the bustling communities of Yau Ma Tei and Jordan and are home to many historical architectures, time-tested stores and traditional craftsmanship, and the artistic lure of the WKCD. With this in mind, Hong Kong Tourism Board recently launched the West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion after featuring popular promotions “Old Town Central” and “Sham Shui Po – Every Bit Local” in the “Hong Kong Neighbourhoods” campaign.

Join us as we take you on a journey through a district rich with art and culture existing as one.

Five walking routes to uncover a rich heritage

Starting from the beautiful shoreline at the WKCD, the West Kowloon neighbourhood programme extends to Yau Ma Tei and Pitt Street, and spans along Nathan Road to reach streets and paths around Austin Road, Jordan.

To reflect the unique characteristics of each area, there are five thematic walking tours that has been devised to focus on Heritage & Craftmanship, Cultural Arts and Culinary Arts. The routes cover many little-known corners of the city that are often overlooked by residents and visitors alike, such as a bookstore hidden in the Tin Hau Temple, a seafood restaurant transformed into an art hotel, and a condiment store promoting western dishes fused with traditional fermented tofu.

The routes offer recommendations for more than 50 points of interest, shops, and restaurants, and are available as an interactive e-map on the West Kowloon neighbourhood campaign page. Special offers have been arranged with shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood for people who take part in the walks to enjoy!

Made by hand Momentos

West Kowloon was also the stomping grounds for a lot of master craftsmen back in the day, some of which survive even now. One can turn a corner and still see elderly artisans working copperware with their hands and keeping forgotten crafts alive alongside convenience stores and luxury brand shops.

Witness the masters at work at Lee Wo Steelyard, the last remaining shop in Hong Kong selling steelyards and Chinese scales or drop by the Cheung Shing Fans Factory on Shanghai Street that opened in the 1950s, selling sandalwood fans and incense on Shanghai Street for over half a century. Did you know that well-heeled, sandalwood fans were a status symbol for the upper class society back then?

Discover Hong Kong’s intangible heritage through the alleys and hidden doorways of West Kowloon, and try your hand at these time-honoured crafts through the workshops hosted by the masters themselves.

Urban Art in every nook, cranny and corner!

Have your cameras ready when exploring West Kowloon because every part of it is worthy of a photo taken. If hunting for street art has you excited, you will want to immerse yourself in the artistic locales of West Kowloon and admire the different forms of art that have permeated its buildings - on them and within their walls.

On the streets of this neighbourhood, explore the hallways of an urban gallery and learn to look up from, check under, and venture behind the mundane facade that makes up the modern humdrum of city living. Catch hard-to-find arthouse films at a community theatre, discover the murals splattered over metal shop shutters, stairwells, and concrete walls, and stop for a cup of tea in a boutique hotel that radiates creative energy.

Your guide to Hong Kong’s West Kowloon

How to get there:

MTR: Exit from Kowloon Station (at Elements) from either Exit E4 or E5, head to Austin Station and take Exit E or West Kowloon Station at Exit G. Bus: China Hong Kong City Bus Terminus at Bus Numbers 3C, 14, 238X and 238P or Austin Road at Bus Numbers 12, 110, 203C, 215X, and 260X.

Taxi: From Central, a taxi takes roughly 18 minutes for a fee of HK$88, subject to traffic and tunnel charges.

For more information on West Kowloon and ideas on what to do, see and eat, please click on over to the West Kowloon page!

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