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In the last two years of the pandemic, the West Kowloon neighbourhood in Hong Kong has been thriving. The best of the old and new Hong Kong comes to life here, where historical architecture and time-tested artisanal handicrafts are juxtaposed with art museums, green spaces, and performance centres. Here’s what this artsy neighbourhood has to offer!
1. Immerse yourself in a blend of the old and new at the Xiqu Centre
For starters, the best way to experience West Kowloon’s seamless blend of modernity and tradition is a visit to the Xiqu Centre! Step inside the Xiqu atrium and the architecture will leave you in awe. Made up of over 10,000 curved metal fins, you’ll get a picture-perfect photo from any angle; whether you’re looking up from the ground level or looking down from one of the balconies at the podium and steps, it’s simply heaven for those chasing those IG-worthy moments! If you’re a lover of all things arts and culture, catch a traditional Cantonese opera performance-, and soak yourself in Hong Kong’s deep cultural heritage. The small teahouse theatre is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and it’s a 90-minute performance with a variety of acts. You even get to sip some tea while you enjoy Cantonese opera! It is designed for new audiences, so if you’re completely clueless, don’t worry, there’s an expert moderator who will narrate along the way. If you can’t get enough of the tea, bring home a memento from Hong Kong’s premier tea shop house LockCha located on the lower ground floor. Address: 88 Austin Rd W, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong KongOpening hours: 10am-10.30pm dailyPrice: Check this link to find out moreDirections: Check this link to find out moreWebsiteHalal food nearby: Hung's Chinese Restaurant
Credit: Hung's Chinese RestaurantTucked in a corner of Chungking Mansion building, this restaurant serves authentic halal Chinese cuisine! For those who love chicken, you’d be excited to know that this restaurant is known for its yummy crispy roasted chicken. The crispiness of the skin gave the tender meat a really good balance of texture!Halal Status: Muslim-ownedAddress: Chungking Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong KongOpening hours: 11am - 11pm dailyContact: +852 2721 2286Directions: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station – exit D1. A 4-minute walk to Chungking Mansion / A 14-min train ride from East Tsim Sha Tsui Station.
2. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a visit to one of HK’s oldest temples
Right in the heart of Hong Kong’s busiest neighbourhood is the quiet, contemplative Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei. It is one of the many Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong and was dedicated to Tin Hau, the goddess of the sea. Did you know that she was believed to protect local fishermen who set sail into the oceans? There's a series of charming photo opportunities perfect for your social media feeds! Take a trip down memory lane with the cart noodle kiosk, or snap a magical picture next to the mini banyan tree. For book and art lovers, walk into the temple’s southern chambers and you’ll find a hidden bookstore that carries an amazing selection of books and cultural artefacts about Chinese mythology and culture.Address: 56-58 Temple Street, Temple St, Yau Ma Tei, Hong KongOpening hours: 8am-5pm dailyPrice: Free entryDirections:Take the MTR to Yau Ma Tei Station, exit C, and walk about three blocks south.P.S. When in Hong Kong, you definitely have to try the food, and we got you covered with our Muslim-friendly halal food guide right here.
3. Sample the freshest fruits in town at HK’s largest wholesale fruit market
Just a 4-minute walk away from the temple, Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market is home to more than 200 fruit stalls, selling all kinds of exotic and seasonal produce at affordable prices. Choose from the big, juicy Shine Muscat grapes to Tasmanian cherries to Japanese white corn, and Hawaiian papaya, the list is endless! The best part is that you can sample all of these for free, and if you love them, you can buy them in small amounts! When the stores are closed, you can find shutter art such as personified apples, oranges, and pineapples to mahjong-playing locals. Come in the mid-morning after the stalls have finished with the early morning bidding session, or before the stores open to the public! Around the corner along Ferry Street, check out the long mosaic mural reflecting scenes of this lively market! Address:202 Reclamation St, Yau Ma Tei, Hong KongOpening hours: 10.30am-12am daily; closed on SaturdaysPrice: Differs based on fruits and stalls you visitDirections: Go to Exit B2 from Yau Ma Tei Station. After exit, walk along Waterloo Road in the direction of Shanghai Street, and you will arrive at the Fruit Market in 5 to 10 minutes.Halal food nearby: Islam FoodIf you have to pick only one dish at Islam Food, let it be the veal goulash. So crispy and juicy, you’ll be wanting more! But do be careful as you take your first bite, the stew is hot and it may squirt onto your clothes. Halal Status: Only Halal-certified ingredients and meat usedAverage Price: HKD38 (Dim sum), HKD75 (Dishes)Opening Hours: Open daily; 11.30AM - 11.30PMAddress: G/F, No. 33-35 Tak Ku Ling Rd, Kowloon City, KowloonDirections: Lok Fu MTR Station – Exit B. 17 min walk to Islam Food.Contact: +852 2382 2822
4. Get a customised embroidered slipper as a souvenir
Don’t get us wrong, keychains and magnets from the cities we’ve travelled to are great, but where else can you gift a customised embroidered slipper to your loved ones or for yourself, if not in West Kowloon? Sindart is one of the oldest handmade slipper stores in West Kowloon, which keeps the unique art of Cantonese embroidery alive! Third-generation owner Miru Wong has added modern elements, and also made the footwear suitable for everyday use, so you can wear it out on the streets or at home. You can choose to have one customised or have your pick at their wide collection of contemporary, unique designs. Here’s a fun fact: Embroidered slippers were actually a symbol of wealth! Address: Po Lok Building, Hong Kong, Jordan, Woosung St, 150-164號寶靈商場1樓16-17號舖Opening hours: 2 pm-8.30 pm daily Directions: Jordan MTR C2 ExitFacebook | InstagramHalal food nearby: Ah Lung Pakistan Halal FoodNestled on a busy street in Hong Kong’s Jordan district, Ah Long Pakistan Halal Food has been serving its Pakistani curry for over 50 years. It’s not really Pakistani curry per se, rather it’s a fusion of Chinese and South Asian flavours, which promises to be a meal you won’t forget: just look at the throng of customers everyday! A popular dish you must try is their speciality, the beef brisket curry. Served with a generous portion of jasmine rice, it really hits the comfort spot! Halal status: Muslim-ownedAddress: Po Lok Building, Hong Kong, Jordan, Woosung St, 150-164號寶靈商場1樓16-17號舖Opening hours: 11am-11pm daily Price: Starting from HKD 55 Directions: 1 min walk from Temple Night Market
5. Take a break with a boost of sugar from this popular dessert shop
With all the walking you’ll do, a little sugar pump is what you’ll need and the famed A1 Tofu Company is here to fix your cravings. A1 Tofu Company has been selling beancurd for more than 50 years, and are popular for their soft and velvety smooth texture! Side note: do a jiggle shot of the beancurd, it’s oddly satisfying! There are so many flavours available, but the popular ones among locals are the black sesame, Horlicks and almond paste if you need a little help deciding! Halal status: Muslim-friendly ingredients used such as sesame and other nuts/beans, water, glutinous rice, and sweeteners. No pork or alcohol is served. As this eatery is not halal-certified we advise you to dine at your own discretion. Address: G/F, 38 Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po (深水埗桂林街38號地下)Opening hours: 10.30am-12.30am dailyPrice: HKD9Directions: Alight at MTR Sham Shui Po station Exit C2. 5 minute walk down Kweilin St.P.S. Looking for more halal food ideas? Check out the list of eateries from HKTB’s website here!
6. Enjoy a laid-back day at the green king of West Kowloon
Vacations are all about lazy days and what better way to do so than at the Art Park? Located in the heart of the West Kowloon Cultural District, which was opened late last year as part of Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Hongkong Neighbourhoods Campaign, Art Park invites you to enjoy its open green spaces – a rarity in busy Hong Kong! There are many things to do, from jogging or biking along the waterfront promenade, picnic on the Great Lawn, and taking some aesthetic pictures with the Victoria Harbour and the iconic Hongkong skyline as the stunning backdrop. Day or night, the view is spectacular nonetheless; but the best photo opportunity comes during the golden hour when you’ll see the skies in the area turn to a warm glorious hue! You can also soak in some art and culture here as well, through their open-air performances, art exhibitions and other cultural events. Oh, did we mention that you’ll get FREE Wi-Fi and also a portable charger for rent if your smartphone runs out of battery?! It’s truly the best of both worlds right here! Address:West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong KongOpening hours: 6am-11pm dailyPrice: Free Directions: Exit from MTR Kowloon Station Exit E4 or E5. Walk along Nga Cheung road and cross the footbridge into the West Kowloon Cultural District (approx. 10 minutes).Halal food nearby: 2DPThere are many vegetarian and vegan-friendly eateries in Hong Kong, but make sure to visit 2DP for their innovative take on Western cuisine. You’ll find cafe staples such as pizza, pasta, breakfast platters, and burgers here but with a twist - everything is plant-based! For something sweeter, they also have a range of desserts including waffles, shaved ice, and locally-inspired puddings and soups. Halal Status: Fully vegetarian menu, with some vegan options. Basic ingredients are listed on the in-store menus in English. No alcohol is served, but do note that they have Kombucha listed under the drinks.Average Price: HKD80 for mains (Weekday Lunch Sets available)Opening Hours: Open daily; 12PM - 12AM (Sun - Mon), 12PM - 12.30AM (Fri - Sat)Address: G/F, The Lamma Tower, 12-12A Hau Fook St. Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong KongContact: +852 3705 9590Direction: Take Bus 77M to Hankow Centre stop, and then walk about 8 mins to reach the restaurant. Facebook | InstagramP.S. We have produced a special video for you to explore West Kowloon through the eyes of a Singaporean Muslim woman who has been living in Hong Kong! Check it out down below to see what it’s like!West Kowloon summarises the best of what Hong Kong has to offer: cultural and culinary adventures, extraordinary spaces and outstanding experiences. There are exciting surprises on every corner, which makes each visit to West Kowloon feel like your first time! So, will you be heading to West Kowloon this year? This article is brought to you by Hong Kong Tourism Board.