Watch: West Kowloon
Thematic Walking Guides
Where modern architecture meets history
Boasting structures that date back to the 1800s, there is a surprising amount of history to be gleaned from the area’s architecture, with vestiges of a bygone era still unchangingly rooted within a city that has evolved around them.
Let us bring you zigzagging through the streets of West Kowloon, where you can expect to see Art Deco designs, Victorian Gothic giants, Neoclassical structures, and modern architectural wonders all in one leisurely stroll.
Made by hand: Local treasures of West Kowloon
West Kowloon was 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 as they ply their traditional crafts with well-practised hands and check in on skilled tailors, mahjong makers, and jade sellers to behold their labours of love, born of decades of experience.
West Kowloon: Art in panorama
With state-of-the-art museum facilities, award-winning architecture, the new Palace Museum due to be unveiled in mid-2022, and a wealth of traditional crafts hidden in Jordan and Yau Ma Tei, this is Hong Kong’s international arts hub for good reason!
Let us introduce you to a series of places to check out — an amalgamation of live music, indie films, Chinese opera, internationally acclaimed arts, and local Hong Kong grassroots creators.
See urban art in all its forms
If hunting for street art sounds like your kind of day, 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.
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. Have your camera ready — you never know when something along the way might make for an interesting snap!
Feast your way through delicious local flavours
If local flavours are your bread and butter when it comes to exploring new places, then no doubt West Kowloon will satisfy those wanting taste buds. Alongside finding knick-knacks in quirky vintage emporiums, you can also feast your way through several time-honoured, family-run establishments that have played a part in shaping Hong Kong’s culinary landscape.
From traditional sweets and desserts to handmade noodles and preserved foods, follow this guide to be served historical slices of the West Kowloon neighbourhood through some unmissable flavours.
The West Kowloon Cultural District is a growing arts and cultural hub with performance and exhibition centres, green open spaces, and a waterfront promenade perfect for enjoying sunset views and evening strolls. It is currently home to exciting new cultural venues, with more opening in the near future.
The Xiqu Centre is Hong Kong’s new venue for Cantonese opera and other forms of Chinese traditional theatre (xiqu). In the Grand Theatre, seasoned fans can watch performances by some of the best troupes in the region. In the Tea House Theatre, designed to recreate the authentic atmosphere of Hong Kong’s early 20th century tea houses, new audiences can enjoy an introduction to the art form through narrated excerpted performances presented with tea and dim sum. There are also regular programmes of film screenings, workshops, talks, exhibitions, and guided tours.
Hong Kong’s new centre for contemporary performance in the heart of the West Kowloon Art Park presents multi-genre performances and events. Partnering with emerging and established artists from Hong Kong and around the world, Freespace nurtures diverse creative voices. The Box at Freespace is Hong Kong’ largest blackbox theatre and Lau Bak Livehouse — a small bar and performance space — offers a diverse venue to showcase the local music scene as well as to host workshops, film screenings and cultural events.
The Art Park offers open green spaces where visitors can relax, play or picnic on the lawns, and a long waterfront promenade perfect for sunset views of the harbour. A vibrant venue for open-air performances, exhibitions and other cultural events, the Art Park is also home to the free art and cultural series Freespace Happening, presenting live music, performances, workshops, handicraft stalls and other attractions on the second Sunday of each month between September and March.
Red Brick Building
Head down Shek Lung Street to reach the Red Brick Building, which housed the Overseers’ Quarters and service facilities of the Former Pumping Station. More commonly known as the Red Brick Building, it is architecturally distinctive in its red brick exterior, striking a bold contrast against its modern, sky-scraping neighbours. In fact, this is the only structure that remains of the former pumping station built in 1895 — one of the oldest in Hong Kong!
Tin Hau Temple, Yau Ma Tei
In the middle of the kitchenware shops that line Shanghai Street lies an unexpected patch of calm in the Tin Hau Temple, the largest temple complex dedicated to Tin Hau in Kowloon. Enter through the doorway on Public Square Street and spot the historic Shiwan ceramic figurines and the Nine-Dragon Wall. On the 23rd day of the third month of the Lunar calendar (usually May in the Gregorian calendar), the Tin Hau Temple hosts the Tin Hau Festival, paying tribute to one of Hong Kong’s most popular deities.