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On Walkabout In: Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Prior Posting: Arrival In Hong Kong

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After arriving in Hong Kong and getting some sleep the next morning I got up early and took a walk around the Wan Chai neighborhood I was staying in. Wan Chai is located near the center of the north shore of Hong Kong island:

Historically Wan Chai has been known as a seedy area for sailors visiting the city looking for a good time. This seedy image was only reinforced with the release of the movie The World of Suzie Wong. It would go on to be the principle red light district for US servicemen on R&R during the Vietnam War as well. However, this seedy image isn’t very noticeable anymore. I didn’t see one prostitute the whole time I stayed in the area not that I was looking for them.

Anyway I started my walk from my hotel, The Charterhouse which is the tall white high rise building pictured below:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

I have never been to Hong Kong before so this was the first time I have ever walked in the city and my initial impressions of the neighborhood was how this place felt like Seoul, Korea with Chinese signs everywhere. The place was busy with lots people, bright advertising signs and noisy traffic:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

However, once I saw the trams and double decker buses rolling down the street it quickly differentiated Hong Kong from Korea:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

I decided to walk around the neighborhood and back to my hotel just to get familiar with my surroundings. I walked towards the harbor and near the water there is a major road that is lined with some of the larger buildings that make up the famous Hong Kong skyline:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

The biggest building I could see was the Central Plaza building that was once the highest building in Asia between 1992 and 1996. Today it is just the second highest building in Hong Kong:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

The building is 378 meters high and serves as the office building for such companies as Nvidia, ExxonMobile, Chevron, and Sun Microsystems. I thought it was a pretty nice looking building which would be a reoccurring thought throughout my trip to Hong Kong because many of the buildings were in my opinion quite impressive and inspiring to look at.  Across the major through road and adjacent to Victoria Harbor on reclaimed land, the city of Hong Kong has constructed a huge convention center called the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center (HKCEC):

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

This structure was still undergoing some construction, but it also looked quite impressive and was absolutely huge. From the shore I started walking back into the city and passed a street lined with a large store selling Chinese antiques:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

I looked in the store and it appeared to be quite upscale with people browsing at the antiques in business suits so I felt it was best if I just kept moving along. As I walked into the city I came to the main Hennessy Road that runs through the heart of Hong Kong. Looking down the road I could see into the Central area of Hong Kong where most of the main buildings in the city are located:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

From here I started walking back towards Wan Chai and wouldn’t you know it, I ran into a Outback Steakhouse:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

Is there any place in the world besides Australia that doesn’t have Outback Steakhouses now? Hong Kong pretty much has every fast food outlet you can imagine as well, but the whole time I was in Hong Kong I didn’t bother eating any fast food because that is not what I came to Hong Kong to do. The whole time in the city I ate at Chinese restaurants which were quite good.

While walking back to the hotel I did see this older building which I thought was pretty cool looking:

Picture from Wan Chai Hong Kong

One of the interesting things about Hong Kong is how the old and the new buildings in the city actually integrate quite well with one another. There are however in Wan Chai a number of decrepit buildings that appeared that they should be condemned. So there are a lot of cool buildings to look at in Hong Kong, but there are also a number of eyesores which was something I was surprised to see. However, there was much more of the city left to check out, which I was definitely looking forward to.

Next Posting: Victoria Peak

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