This series aims to take readers through the subway stations of Hong Kong. The Mass Transit Railway (MTR), has about 86 major railway stations in all, and is one of the most profitable rail systems in the world. On average, the railway serves about 5 million trips in Hong Kong, daily. Each station represents a microcosm of life. People in Hong Kong visit or live in a particular area because of many factors, including financial, convenience, status, profession, geography, etc. In consequence, people coming and going in the stations are often a reflection of what the location provides. This series serves to pay homage to the many walks of life that call Hong Kong home.
Tin Hau (天后) is one of my favourite locations in Hong Kong. The entire area is a wonder of historic buildings, temples, fantastic restaurants and dessert spots of every variety. The name Tin Hau originally comes from a goddess whose main job is to protect fishermen and sailors. Just as these traditional occupations have now fallen into the shadows, I feel that that’s what’s happened to Tin Hau in a sense. It’s often a secondary recommendation in Hong Kong’s complete travel guide – let’s keep it that way. It’s one of the few enclaves in Hong Kong where I feel like the Hong Kong nightlife experience hasn’t been thoroughly watered down by yet. If you’re visiting, it’s a only 10 minute walk away from Causeway Bay, a must visit shopping district in Hong Kong.
As soon as you step outside the train, you’re greeted by a very aggressive orange (for some reason this colour seems to follow me around). In close proximity outside the station is the aptly named street, Electric Road. At night this neighbourhood really lights up with people coming from work, looking to meet up with family or friends for a well-deserved gourmet Hong Kong meal and drink. If you’re in Hong Kong on a layover and want to experience a smash-and-grab round of local eats with incredible atmosphere, I’d recommend Electric Road to anyone in a heartbeat.
Close by is another often overlooked gem of Hong Kong and one of my favourite weekend haunts, Tai Hang. I feel like Tai Hang is Hong Kong’s answer to hipness of New York’s Williamsburg, London’s Shoreditch, or Tokyo’s Shimokita. Tai Hang was originally a slum until the 90s, until they decided to clean up the area (see: hyper-gentrify). Today, you can still find remnants of some of the best architecture and antique signage representative of an older, colonial Hong Kong. A strange mix of high-end apartment complexes, coffee shops, relic cha chaan tengs, fancy boutique eateries, bars, clothing stores and car garages, there’s lots to take in. You’re quite likely to spot a celebrity or billionaire grabbing a cup o’ Joe here; it’s become an area where the well-heeled living in the mid-levels above Tin Hau slip in for a controlled, “down market” experience.
Take an evening in Tin Hau if you’re ever in Hong Kong – you won’t regret it.