The first half of this post is mainly for my colleagues staying in Mongkok, the second half is for all the bits and pieces I have left over about south Kowloon.
Our employer puts us up at the Royal Plaza Hotel at 193 Prince Edward Road West, Mongkok, www.royalplaza.com.hk. It’s an excellent hotel with great facilities including a big, well-equipped gym and a large outdoor swimming pool. The breakfast is fully comprehensive with plenty of choices and the restaurant has a good rep although I’ve never tried it. You even get a free mobile phone to use during your stay.
The views of uptown Kowloon from my hotel window were great.
In terms of logistics, the hotel so well located that you can be in Central within forty minutes (on foot followed by metro) or instead head out to the New Territories without having to travel through town. And it’s within walking distance of all the temptations of Mongkok.
Please click the Mongkok link on the home page index to access reviews of all the eateries I’ve been to. Everywhere mentioned is on this Google map.
When heading south on the MTR to Central, the two nearest stations, Prince Edward and Mongkok, are equidistant from the hotel, but I prefer to go to Prince Edward as the station is much less hectic.
The Prince Edward station is also near the Sunshine Laundry at 44-62 Tai Nan Street, www.sunshinelaundry.com.hk (exit C2 of Prince Edward MTR) so you can pick up your dry cleaning after work (opening hours are 0800~2100). Dry cleaning one shirt cost me HK$17 as opposed to HK$90 to wash and another HK$68 to iron in the hotel! It can take 5 days for it to be ready though so some forward planning is required.
On the other hand, at the weekend, if you exit Mongkok station via exit B2 on Fife St, you get to witness all the madness on Sai Yeung Choi Street. Street performers take over between noon and 10pm on Saturday and Sunday when the area is made pedestrian only. Buskers, boppers, singers and various talent show hopefuls come together to create mind-boggling mayhem. It’s definitely a spectacle worth seeing.
For a taste of old Hong Kong, I recommend a walk along Reclamation Street.
It’s not a particularly pretty area but it’ll give you a good idea of how things used to be.
The area is ripe for redevelopment and probably won’t be around much longer.
On the subject of construction, it’s interesting to observe that builders in Hong Kong always use bamboo scaffolding, even when constructing modern skyscrapers! Bamboo is much more flexible than metal scaffolding but I still wouldn’t like to be bouncing around on it at the top!
Next to the entrance of the Holiday Express on Dundas Street there’s an imitation of a Banksy stencil.
In the original the rioter is throwing a bunch of flowers but this has been replaced by a book in the Hong Kong version. The piece is a controversial comment on the authorities draconian response to the democracy demonstrators earlier in 2016.
Nearby Portland Street is also very atmospheric to walk around at night.
It’s Hong Kong’s red light district so it has a very seedy atmosphere but it’s relatively safe.
There’s a Snake Restaurant here but I never had the courage to go in by myself without knowing what to ask for.
I did a fair bit of shopping on my 2016 trip. I bought a new Samsung Galaxy S8 from a vendor at Sin Tat Plaza at 83 Argyle Street (Mongkok MTR exit D2). This shopping centre for phones was once notorious for rip-offs and fake models but has been (mostly) cleaned up in recent years.
My phone was £150 cheaper than at home but I later found out the charger socket was faulty, hence the price. It wasn’t a problem (I got a wireless charger) but if you want more security then go to Broadway or Fortress (branches all over). Buying products that have their own box is a way of making sure they are original. Reviews here.
Other than China, I don’t think I’ve been anywhere where people are so addicted to their phones. Hong Kongers seem to be constantly on their mobiles when they’re walking around.
I also got a suit made at Sam’s Tailor at Ground Floor, K&L Burlington Arcade 90-94C Nathan Rd, (Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Exit B1) www.samstailor.com. He’s the most famous tailor in town and Kylie Minogue, Gwen Stefani, Avril Levigne, Bjork, Roberta Flack, Celine Dion, Steffi Graf, Joan Collins, Naomi Campbell, Hilary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, amongst others, have all been customers. You will run a gauntlet of other tailor touts on the way so you could compare prices but I didn’t bother. I’ve barely worn it but the suit fitted well despite being pretty cheap (around £200 as I recall).
I also got two pairs of reading glasses around the corner at Tai Kwong Optical, 22-28 Mody Road, taikwongoptical.com. The quality was good, prices were fair, and he had a good selection of frames. Small shops like this will give you a better price than the chains.
While you’re in the area you could drop in on the Avenue of Comic Stars over the road at Kowloon Park Drive, www.comicavenue.hk. Handy if you have kids to entertain but a bit silly otherwise.
Here are a few signs I came across that tickled me.
Walking around Hong Kong Island next!