Different things to do in Hong Kong
During my six days in Hong Kong, my friend Naomi and I did all the usual sightseeing, but there were a few places I wanted to take her which were a little off the usual sightseeing program. One was the previous site of the Kowloon Walled City or as it was colloquially known ‘the lawless city’. I had last visited back in 2008 and just knew Naomi would like its history.I did a little bit of research and found we could take the larger ferry from North Point to Kowloon city. Only thing was I had no idea where to go from Kowloon as I had not previously been there and our map didn’t cover Kowloon but I thought there would be signs…wrong!! Outside the ferry terminal was the bus station and I asked for help but no-one knew which bus would take us to the Walled City including some of the drivers. Finally a lovely man approached us and offered assistance. He found out which bus we should take and off we went. He approached us at the bus stop once again and asked if we knew where to get off. We both laughed as we hadn’t even thought of that…thank goodness for this lovely gentleman.
And when we got off at the bus stop he recommended, I saw this sign…great relief!!We walked to Kowloon Walled City Park; about ten minutes from the bus stop. From the 1950s until 1994, over 50,000 people lived and worked at Kowloon Walled City. It was a massive complex of 300 interconnected buildings that took up an entire city block. A government survey in 1987 showed an estimated 33,000 people resided within the City and at its peak there was an estimated 50,000. Based on this survey, the Walled City had a population density of approximately 1,255,000 inhabitants per square kilometre making it the most densely populated spot in the world.
(source: South China Morning Post)
Until the 1970’s the city was controlled by triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling and opium drug abuse along with an inordinate amount of dentists. Police, customs and taxation officers were said to be afraid to enter.
(source: Greg Girard ‘City of Darkness Revisited’)
In 1987, the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the Walled City. After an arduous eviction process, demolition began in 1993 and was completed in 1994. A park now stands in its place with some historical artefacts from the Walled City remaining including remnants of the South Gate. Once you enter the park, you immediately come across a model of the walled city; it’s amazing to see how many buildings comprised the city. The park has many beautiful gardens, statues, terraces and floral walks.Every plant and tree is beautifully manicured and maintained including bonsai and one long bush shaped as a dragon…There is also an educational aspect which was really interesting. We watched a few videos on the city and its occupants. There were dozens of alleyways often only 1–2 metres wide with poor lighting and drainage. Construction in the city went unregulated, and most of the roughly 350 buildings were built with poor foundations and few or no utilities including electricity.
(photo taken from video in park)
We then strolled around the park looking at the trees, pavilions, lakes and gardens…so lovely.We decided to take a taxi to the Star Ferry terminal to get back onto Hong Kong Island; one of my favourite things to do in HK, enjoying the views of the well-lit buildings along the harbour front. And also passing by one of several junk boats on the harbour…After hopping off the ferry, we decided to walk back to our hotel and along the way we stopped and bought pineapple cakes, which really are fresh milky bread with a sweet topping – not a pineapple in sight but delicious anyway.Another great day out in fabulous Hong Kong!