Experience the sights and sounds at your own pace while strolling through the streets of Central and neighbouring Sheung Wan on a self-guided walk while exploring Hong Kong’s rich history, culture, art and entertainment scenes. Five distinctively themed walking routes have been thoughtfully designed in a form of a walking guide to reveal over 100 years of Hong Kong history.
Central is well-known as a glitzy financial district, jam-packed with skyscrapers, but beneath the stunning skyline, history, art, food and culture have taken root in this once colonial neighbourhood.
Along the way, witness the dramatic transformations that have characterised Central’s short but colourful history, and explore a city that is constantly changing but has never forgotten its origins.
The ‘Old Town Central’ walking guide encapsulates the greatest charms from East and West, where the past and present, tradition and innovation, and bustle and tranquillity coexist, blend and collide.
To best discover and experience the vibrant Central district including its colonial monuments, temples, art galleries, street art displays, antique stores, hip boutiques, trending restaurants, rooftop bars and local delicacies.
The journey of history and heritage through Central and Sheung Wan was where the story of modern Hong Kong began. From Possession Point, where the British flag was first officially raised, to the Tai Ping Shan area, where many Chinese first settled in the 1840s, this journey passes through some of the city’s oldest, historic streets and offers glimpses of what life was like when the future world city was still in its infancy.
Crazy for Art
A stroll down the picturesque Hollywood Road, one of the oldest streets in Hong Kong, lined with galleries offers a huge range of artworks, from ancient to contemporary and from Asian to Western. Artists and art connoisseurs of all levels can seek inspiration and enjoy the creative graffiti art on the walls of the many side alleys leading off the street.
Tasting Hong Kong
Central is a paradise for food lovers; this route offers a world of choices only steps from each other. From traditional dim sum to international and fusion cuisine to local dai pai dongs and tantalising street food, there is something to cater to every taste bud.
Hidden Gems in Back Alleys
For the treasure hunters, the walk begins at Upper Lascar Row, where a fascinating mix of antiques and Chinese calligraphy dealers can be found in this street. The route makes its way uphill to the blooming creative neighbourhood on Tai Ping Shan Street and in the PoHo area, where design studios are nestled between teahouses; and the Bridges Street area – a melting pot of old and new, with second-hand books and knick-knacks that feeds your imagination about the city’s past.
Something for Everyone
For those with limited time, this tour covers the top landmarks and points of interest from each thematic tour. Travelers will discover heritage sites, explore art, sample local food and hunt for hidden treasures in a warren of narrow streets and alleys before ending the trip at Pottinger Street in the vibrant heart of the neighbourhood.
The article was first published in Business Today June 2017.