Top 10 Check-in Spots in Hong Kong

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The building complex of Tai Kwun has over 150 years of history, and is comprised of the former Central Police Station, the Victoria Prison, and the Central Magistry. The complex, which includes monuments of colonial styles combining the East with the West, showcases Hong Kong’s unique historical and cultural values. Among the buildings, Victoria Prison was constructed in 1841 of granite and red brick. The ceiling was covered with wire mesh. The site also preserved the look of the old days. The prison compound is divided into six blocks from A through F, as well as the Superintendent’s House and a watchtower (now known as “Bauhinia House”). Block F was used as an entrance for prisoners starting to serve their sentences. It is also a popular check-in spot for Instagram users to “take mug shots”.

In addition to the revitalized historical monuments, Tai Kwun also features 2 new buildings, including the JC Cube, and JC Contemporary, which are used as show halls and galleries respectively. The revitalized historic building is a new cultural and artistic landmark in Hong Kong and regularly hosts exhibitions, theatrical plays, concerts, and workshops. Since opening up to the public, Tai Kwun has continued to be a popular check-in spot for influencers, with several restaurants and bars where visitors can enjoy a drink while watching the show.

The Blue House on Stone Nullah Lane of Wan Chai is one of Hong Kong’s most preserved tenement block. It is covered in blue paint on the exterior and is therefore referred to as “Blue House”. The block preserved the long and narrow wooden staircases, ceilings, and interior structures. Blue House witnessed the historic changes in Hong Kong and represented the old colonial Hong Kong. As a result, it has a significant value for people interested in history and culture. Blue House, together with the nearby “Yellow House” and “Orange House”, are collectively called the “Blue House architectural complexes”.

There is a “Hong Kong House of Stories” on the ground floor of Blue House which regularly hosts various cultural and artistic events. Visitors can visit art exhibitions, participate in workshops and performances, and experience a variety of arts and cultural events. In addition, Blue House organizes tours for the neighborhood to visit Wan Chai, Central and Sheung Wan, so people can learn about the community culture therein. In addition to checking in to the place, join a guided tour to learn more about the history and culture of Wan Chai.

Originally known as Pottinger Street, “Stone Slabs Street” is colloquially named for its unevenly paved steps made of granite stones. It is one of the Grade I historic buildings.  It was built in the 1840s as one of the oldest streets in Hong Kong, and part of a thriving business district at the time. Stone Slabs Street connects Hollywood Road on the hill to Connaught Road at the foot of the hill. As the section connecting Queen’s Road Central to Hollywood Road is rather steep, the street was covered with stones as steps for ease of access. The stone slabs are aligned alternatively, with one line of slabs protruding and the other line of slabs sunken beneath, which is convenient for pedestrians to walk up and down and allows rainwater to flow along both sides. Therefore, people colloquially call it “Stone Slab Street”.

The street is packed with old shops and stalls. Some have kept the original style of the “tin-sheeted house”. Visitors can see the green tin-sheeted houses built on the streets and catch a glimpse of the old Hong Kong. Hong Kong production films are also frequently filmed in this characteristic street, such as “Lust, Caution”, “Bodyguards and Assassins”, “Infernal Affairs III”, “Yesterday Once More”, etc. On Stone Slabs Street, visitors can experience Hong Kong’s traditional architectural style as well as the local lifestyle and cultural traditions.

M+ is the first global contemporary visual and cultural museum in Asia. On the outside, the museum looks like an inverted “T” character. There are 33 exhibition halls with a minimalistic and open design. Natural light is introduced in the public areas. The courtyard, spiral staircases, and relaxation areas on the second floor are great places to check in for photos. Don’t miss the rooftop garden, which offers views of the West Kowloon Cultural District and Victoria Harbor.

M+ has a large collection of modern and contemporary art, in areas such as visual art, photography, design, film, animation, and architecture. It showcases important art pieces and cultural works from around the world, including works in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Visitors can enjoy the diversity and innovation of art by admiring pieces from varying periods and styles.

Hong Kong Palace Museum is the first museum outside of the Palace Museum in Beijing to showcase the treasures of the Palace. It is located in the West Kowloon Cultural District and covers 13,000 square meters. It is divided into 9 exhibit halls, exhibiting more than 900 precious artifacts lent by the Palace Museum in Beijing. It regularly presents various exhibitions.

The main body of the museum building is of an inverted trapezoid shape. Looking from the outside, it resembles a huge square-shaped ding, with a hollow courtyard space design inside. The museum blends modern aesthetics with traditional Chinese architecture. The underground lobby is flooded with natural light. The entrance doors are decorated with pins just like the Forbidden City herself, with vermilion red as the primary color. There are also 3 atriums inside of the museum. Amongst them, the floor-to-ceiling glass window in the West Atrium overlooks the West Kowloon Cultural District, the skyline on the west side of Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island.

The Hong Kong International Commerce Centre (ICC Tower) is a fascinating landmark with the highest indoor observation deck in Hong Kong. sky100 offers a 24/7 viewing experience with 360-degree panoramic views of the city’s day and night. Visitors can take the high-speed elevators to the observation deck, where they can take in the spectacular panoramic view of the city and the magnificent skyline. On a sunny day, visitors can even enjoy views of Hong Kong’s islands and mountains. This breathtaking view gives visitors the glorious beauty of Hong Kong and brings them a one-of-a-kind sightseeing experience that they cannot forget.

The observation deck of sky100 offers a variety of viewing and experience options. Visitors can take in views of the city from different heights and angles, and find their own spots on the observation deck. ICC is a diversified business center with a variety of restaurants, cafés, and shopping options. Visitors can savor the delicacies at the 100th-floor coffee shop while admiring the beautiful sunset.

The former Yau Ma Tei Police Station is a Grade II historic building in Hong Kong. It is among the few pre-war Police buildings that still exist in Hong Kong. Its colonial British architecture also makes it a popular choice of venue for television and film, such as the highly popular Hong Kong production, “Infernal Affairs”, “Election” and “Young and Dangerous”. While the actual Police Department has now moved from the site, it still attracts many tourists to check in at the door every day.

One may not know about the historical events experienced on the site. In the 1950s and 1960s, several riots have taken place, including the “1st of March incident” in 1952, the Kowloon riot in 1966, and the 1967 Hong Kong riots in 1967. The former Station has been bombed by rioters and subject to attempted arson several times. Therefore, the old-fashioned large iron gates were installed at various entrances of the Station. After visiting the former Yau Ma Tei Police Station, you may also take a walk to the nearby Tin Hau Temple and Temple Street Night Market to experience the local culture of the Hong Kong grassroots.

Ap Liu Street in Sham Shui Po is known for its electronics and industrial products, and is a hub for used electronics, ranging from televisions, computers, tablets, HiFi, music players, radios, and a variety of other home appliances and lighting. Visitors could go on a treasure hunt on the street. Ap Liu Street and its neighboring streets are also home to a variety of Hong Kong-style food, attracting people who love to sample local specialties. Here, diners can sample traditional authentic Hong Kong food such as cart noodles, pork liver noodles, wonton noodles, and snake soups. There are some other local snacks such as steamed vermicelli rolls, fish balls, and pork skin for authentic flavors and unique local food experiences. In recent years, specialty shops and cafés started to enter Sham Shui Po. The renovation of these new shops has become more distinctive, attracting many hipsters to visit and bringing young energy to this old area.

Located next to Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill, Nan Lian Garden covers approximately 35,000 square meters and features diverse trees, rocks, and ponds, curating the artistic garden of the Tang dynasty style. Combined with the Chi Lin Nunnery, the garden is a large imitation of the Tang dynasty building complex and is one of the local characteristic architectures. Open to the public, Yuen Mun Pavilion in Nan Lian Garden is a famous landmark. The shiny building glitters under the sun and is connected by two redwood bridges. It is no wonder that people compare the garden and the pavilion to Kyoto, Japan.

Chi Lin Nunnery has adopted the Tang Dynasty-style wood structure with natural building materials. The wooden parts of the building are all combined by mortise and tenon joints, without the use of a single nail. The proportions of the wood are harmonious and beautiful. The Buddha statue worshipped in the hall is curated based on the Buddhist scripture and imitates the style of Buddha statues in the prosperous period of Tang dynasty. Together with the nearbyHammer Hill Park and Nan Lian Garden, the building complex imitates Tang-dynasty architecture, and is one of Hong Kong’s signature architecture and attractions. Chi Lian Nunnery is also the only “Nun’s practice jungle“ in Hong Kong. It provides a monastery for nuns from all over the world to practice.

Hong Kong is not just a cosmopolitan city. The High Island Reservoir in Sai Kung not too far away boasts of world-class countryside attractions. Nominated by UNESCO in the list of UNESCO Global Geoparks, Hong Kong Geopark has a variety of unique geological forms. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views of volcanic pillars, weathered rocks, faults and strata.

Hong Kong Geopark is comprised of two main zones, namely, the sedimentary rocks in the East Northern New Territories and the volcanic rocks in the Sai Kung East. The Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Zone has a unique hexagonal rock formation formed by a volcanic eruption about 140 million years ago.

Hong Kong Geopark offers a variety of outdoor activities and recreation options. Visitors can wander the park’s hiking trails for natural and scenic views. There are also rock walls and hills for climbing and hiking, attracting hiking enthusiasts and outdoor sports lovers. Visitors can also explore the beaches, islands, and the sandbanks.