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.
Sheung Wan, This is the end of the Island Line, thank you for travelling on the MTR.
We have arrived in Sheung Wan, please exit from the train, thank you.”
If you arrived in Hong Kong just before December 28th, 2014, congratulations! You were one of the last passengers to hear Cheri Chan‘s soothing voice announcing Sheung Wan to passengers as a final destination of the MTR blue Island Line. Hong Kongers, however, have been hearing this announcement since May 1986, when the station first opened. The station certainly carries a bit of history and connection with the adjacent Western Market, one of the older surviving landmarks in Hong Kong.
In days prior, Sheung Wan was a bustling station, with Hong Kongers further West of the station taking buses and trams to Sheung Wan to reach another destination for work, shopping, or any of the other daily rituals we humans regularly perform. Good luck to lost travellers and those stopping to text or in the station – you would almost certainly get barked at or pushed around by the busy, Hong Kong crowd if you ever needed to stop.
Today, four short months later at the time of this post, Sheung Wan has emptied out considerably, looking like a mere shell of its former glory days. The station looks quite new, with its spiffy plastic, khaki coloured, curved facade, which is a unique design choice when compared to the relatively older stations, like Central Station.
So what do people do in Sheung Wan? Just outside, you’re greeted with the edges of the business crowd of Central, the next district over. It also serves as a popular lunch destination with fruit juices, street food, Hong Kong style cafes and fast food just perfect for a lunch break. But don’t write off Sheung Wan just yet; it definitely carries its own vibe that is distinct and noticeable. Soho is also firmly placed in Sheung Wan, an area known for its large expat community, antique shops, renovated walk-up apartments, hipster coffee and brunch shops. Does it sound like I’m hating? Maybe a little, but I have been known to brunch out there from time to time at Cafe Deadend and Oldish.