June 12, 2011
We take a subway and walking tour of downtown Hong Kong today.
Our first stop is the International Financial Center. Soaring 420 metres above the Central waterfront, this imposing landmark is currently Hong Kong’s tallest building and among the world’s highest structures. The International Finance Center was completed in 2003 as part of a complex that includes a shopping mall and hotel, as well as the Hong Kong Station of the MTR Airport Express lines. The first four floors are taken up with the ifc mall, which is home to some of the worlds most exclusive retailers: Armani, Cartier, Tiffany, and Apple, to name only a few.
Next we visit Western Market, renovated in 1991 and converted into a shopping complex, it’s an Edwardian-style building featuring shops selling arts and crafts and fabric. Completed in 1906, the impressive building has a red brick exterior with a handsome granite arch over its entrance. The market now houses shops formerly located in old alleys in the heart of Central, which sold all manner of cloth. The building is also home to traditional handicraft stalls and a number of cafes. The top floor is home to the Grand Stage where dance lovers can rendezvous and enjoy a romantic dinner.
From Western Market, we take a subway and then walk to Man Mo Temple. Man Mo Temple is a picturesque tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). The temple is located about halfway along Cat Street and a stop here in its quiet, incense-shrouded interior makes a pleasant break from the tourist jam. You can see giant incense coils hanging overhead everywhere.
We walk along Hollywood Streets and Cat Streets. Crammed with antique shops and an open-air curio market, Hollywood Road and Upper Lascar Row, also known as ‘Cat Street’ is an ideal place for picking up eclectic souvenirs and gifts. Everything from Ming dynasty furniture and lotus lamps to Mao badges and ancient snuff bottles is on sale here.
Strolling along Hollywood Road we soon discover Hong Kong’s “SoHo”, the area “South of Hollywood Road”. It offers a wide range of upmarket international restaurants and bars along Staunton Street, Elgin Street and Shelley Street.
We jump on what the Guinness Book of World Records calls the world’s longest covered escalator and experience the cosmopolitan atmosphere of this great city from above the streets.
When the lights go down, the “in crowd” heads for Lan Kwai Fong. Lan Kwai Fong is a buzzing centre of clubs, bars and restaurants. With western-style restaurants, nightclubs, delicatessens and bars, Lan Kwai Fong is a must visit for night owls and people watchers.