Walking Around Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District

Walking Around Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre hosts traditional Chinese opera during the Chinese New Year, Photo Credit: Lee Yiu Tung / Shutterstock
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Take a walk through Hong Kong’s West Kowloon cultural district to discover the little-known architectural gems of this dazzling and vibrant neighbourhood


October 28 , 2021
08 Min Read

West Kowloon Cultural District, spread over 40 hectares of reclaimed land, is a place unto itself. A bustling neighborhood which offers a cultural window into the bustling city known for its businesses and entertainment. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board website – this emerging neighborhood connects the traditional craftsmanship, historic buildings, authentic dining and shopping experiences in the city to the new bustling energy of an international art and culture district.

One of the best ways to enjoy the cultural extravaganza is to take any of the five thematic walking routes highlighting Art Deco designs, Victorian Gothic giants, Neoclassical structures, modern architectural wonders that date back to the 1800s, and local flavours all in one stroll.

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Some of the key stops on the way are:

Yau Ma Tei Theatre

Built in 1930, it is the only surviving pre-World War II theatre in the south of the Kowloon Peninsula. The theatre resonates with a nostalgic Hong Kong charm that speaks of its history as a pre-war cinema.

Just across the road from the Yau Ma Tei Theatre lies the sprawling and frenetic Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market, which has been an integral part of local living since it was first built in 1913, supplying fresh produce to the neighborhood.

 
 
 
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Hong Kong West Kowloon Station

 
 
 
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The Hong Kong West Kowloon Station is a landmark building on Hong Kong’s skyline, and one of the world’s largest underground cross-border railway stations. The station was constructed using 8,000 tonnes of steel (which is almost the weight of the Eiffel Tower) and over 4,000 pieces of glazing panels to enhance natural lighting. The harmonious and curved lines on the rooftop sky corridor and sightseeing deck echoes the ocean waves lapping at the harbour, a perfect Instagramable spot.

West Kowloon Station also connects, High Speed Rail – city’s fastest cross-boundary, to 58 Mainland stations without interchange.

Tin Hau Temple, Yau Ma Tei

 
 
 
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In the middle of the kitchenware shops that line Shanghai Street, lies an unexpected patch of calm, the Tin Hau Temple, the largest temple complex dedicated to the eponymous Chinese sea goddess. As the story goes Hong Kong was originally a fishing community, many Tin Hau temples were erected along the waterfront for seafarers to pray for safety on voyages. This one marks where the old Yau Ma Tei shoreline used to be before land reclamation shifted it almost three kilometres inland.

Comprising five adjacent buildings, the temple compound served as a place of worship as well as a free school until 1955. Tin Hau Temple and the adjoining buildings were declared a monument in 2020 and have now transformed into a space with a mini banyan tree and photo spots that take you on a trip down memory lane.  

Xiqu Centre

 
 
 
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The Xiqu Centre is Hong Kong’s new venue for Cantonese opera and other forms of Chinese traditional theatre that blends the traditional and contemporary to reflect the evolving nature of art. The welcoming two-theatre venue offers something for seasoned as well as newcomers.

In the Grand Theatre, seasoned fans can watch performances by some of the best troupes in the region. In the Tea House Theatre, travelers can enjoy a complete immersion in Chinese culture, heritage, and cuisine. The beautiful building provides you with a perfect spot to get your Insta perfect picture. 

Kowloon Union Church

 
 
 
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Built in 1930 by the London Missionary Society, the Kowloon Union Church is one of the earliest inter-denominational churches in Hong Kong. The building boasts a mix of East and West in its design. The red brick and granite structure were fashioned in a Gothic style, but also contains Asian elements, such as a Chinese tiled pitched roof. Its stained-glass windows above the central altar were inspired by the shape of the Bagua eight trigrams prevalent in Taoism. The double hammer-beam timber roof trusses are a rare feature as well.

 For more details of the walks, the installation arts, dining and shopping, check here.


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