Hong Kong is renowned as the shopping mecca of Asia with arguably the most breath taking night lights of any City in the world, a brief visit to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and one will find that the district is the exact embodiment of these two claims to fame.
Located at the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula across from Hong Kong Island, this must visit tourist destination is quite literally a world shopping bazaar with its seemingly endless amounts of stalls, shops, markets and malls, offering patrons goods from souvenirs and fake Rolexes, to the latest cameras, jewellery and any luxury brand you can think of.
Just on Canton Road, which has some of the most expensive retail rents in the whole world, is flanked with numerous flagships stores of major luxury brands and where you can find Harbour City the largest shopping Mall in Hong Kong which boasts 2 million square feet of floor space and over 700 retail shops. To have an idea how ardent consumerism is in Tsim Sha Tsui even the Heritage site of the Former Marine Police Quarters has been revamped into a dual purpose upscale Shopping Mall/Museum called the 1881 Heritage.
If there is an image of the amazing cityscape and night lights that is synonymous with Hong Kong, chances are that it was captured from Tsim Sha Tsui. Despite being the typical tourist trap, the district undeniably offers some of the most awe inspiring views looking across the Victoria Harbour to the Hong Kong Island cityscape.
From the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre is one of the best vantage points of the night lights of Hong Kong and it’s not unreasonable to think that the backdrop of the cult Sci-fi movie Blade Runner directly drew inspiration from this spectacle.
Tsim Shai Tsui has a plethora of iconic Landmarks and heritage sites, including the St Andrew’s and Rosary Churches, the Kowloon Mosque, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Space Museum and the famous Clock Tower which is the sole remnant of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Station. In the 1920’s it was possible to board a train from this Station and connect through China, Russia and Europe all the way to London in just 10 days.
Another notable landmark is the historic Peninsula Hotel near the waterfront. This famous luxury hotel opened in 1928 and has since been the go-to lodging for prominent figures and celebrities, through-out the years the hotel played host to many historically significant events including the formal British surrender to the Japanese which took place rather specifically in room 336 on Christmas night in 1941.
In sharp contrast to the Peninsula Hotel, is the infamous Chungking Mansions which was featured in Wong Kar Wai’s 1994 hit film Chungking Express. Built in the 1960’s it was once the most upmarket residential development in Tsim Sha Tsui with superb open harbour views. When those views were blocked by surrounding developments in the 70’s, started its gradual fall from grace and soon became a notorious place of no frills, low budget accommodation as it is known today.
To cater to the endless stream of shopping excursions to Tsim Sha Tsui by tourist and locals, there are countless dining options in the area, and coupled with the fact that these pedestrians are more willing to spend, it is not surprising that Tsim Sha Tsui has developed into a popular destination for foodies with some of the best food on offer in Hong Kong. In Tsim Sha Tsui you can experience the most eclectic hotel dining by world class chefs to arguably the best bowl of beef brisket noodles in Hong Kong.
Some popular destinations is around Carnovan Road and Ashley Road, along these two stretches of road offer a mind boggling spectrum of dining options, with many that are so popular they have diners lining up in the streets at peak hours. Also along Kimberley Road is where you can find Hong Kong’s own Koreatown, this small unassuming area has the best Korean food you can find in the whole of Hong Kong.
There is also plenty of nightlife options in Tsim Sha Tsui, with numerous hotel and rooftop bars that offer amazing views, English and Irish pubs along Ashley Road, KTV in Tsim Sha Tsui East, trendy western bars and bistros all along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, local nightclubs and bars in Minden Avenue, and Knutsford Terrace which has plenty of outdoor seating and is especially popular for socialising.
Whether you are a shopaholic, foodie, history buff, movie buff, photographer or reveller, Tsim Sha Tsui can be the ideal place to visit in Hong Kong and if you don’t mind the crowds, a great place to live as well.
Information on Tsim Sha Tsui provided by Home Net, Licensed Hong Kong Property Agency.