Walking Through Kowloon

Updated on December 30, 2017
Anne Harrison profile image

I fell in love with Florence at the age of 10 and have travelled widely since, but there are always more places to discover!

Exploring Kowloon

Hong Kong is a Janus, for the Island and Kowloon present separate faces to the visitor. These two sides of Hong Kong differ completely in atmosphere. For many, Kowloon proves a tourist mecca but personally, for me, it has little appeal; I much prefer the atmosphere and history of the Island.

Yet there parts of Kowloon I find well-worth visiting (not that I ever need an excuse to ride the Star Ferry. I could ride back and forth across that harbour all day; there is always something to see.)

There is always something to see on Hong Kong Harbour - even the boats have eyes! (c) A. Harrison
There is always something to see on Hong Kong Harbour - even the boats have eyes! (c) A. Harrison

Visiting Kowloon Park

Although I have been to Hong Kong many times, this was my first foray into Kowloon Park. Built on the site of an old army encampment, many of the old barrack buildings remain. I have walked past many times, but somehow never taken the time to enter.

I entered off Nathan Road near the Mosque. Immediately I was embraced by a welcoming coolness, a delightful break from the humidity which had blanketed Hong Kong since my arrival. Ponds and running water are everywhere, and already the shady areas were filling up with families come to pass pass their weekend over a picnic.

I lost myself wandering paths at random, past Chinese gardens and into a maze. On one patch of green people of all ages were doing Tai Chi, while in another corners others were warming up for their martial arts class, swords lying on the grass. (Free displays are given every Sunday afternoon.) I found an aviary which included birds from the Amazon, including a colourful macaw and a strange-looking hornbill. The sound of falling water from the numerous fountains fills the air. For the athletic there are two Olympic-size pools; for the artistic a sculpture garden, and for the young at heart there is even a pond with flamingos.

Best of all, there is not a hawker in sight. The chaos of Nathan Road, (where at times I feel not a jury in the world would convict me for murder should another cheap watch be thrust in my face) seems far away, and my soul recovered.

Access: Walk up Nathan Road from the Star Ferry, or else catch the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui.

A monk walking the streets of Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison
A monk walking the streets of Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison

Kowloon : A Walking Tour

A
Kowloon Park:
Kowloon Park, 22 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

get directions

B
Chi Lin Nunnery, Diamond Hill:
Chi Lin Nunnery, 5 Chi Lin Drive, Sheung Yuen Leng, Hong Kong

get directions

C
Bird Market:
Yuen Po Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

get directions

D
Goldfish Market :
Goldfish Market, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

get directions

E
Fa Yuen Street Market:
Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

get directions

The tranquility of the park (c) A. Harrison
The tranquility of the park (c) A. Harrison
The Chi Lin Nunnery, Kowloon (c) A. Harrison
The Chi Lin Nunnery, Kowloon (c) A. Harrison

The Chi Lin Nunnery, Diamond Hill

Diamond Hill once sat on the outskirts of the city, but the Buddhist Chi Lin Nunnery now offers an oasis of calm amongst the traffic and high-rises. It is a short walk from Diamond Hill MTR (indeed, there was more walking in the MTR itself, but I always love the long escalators which seem to go forever). Signposts and maps clearly mark the way.

The Nunnery began in the 1930s as a religious and community centre, then was rebuilt in the late 1990s in the style of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Yellow cedar was imported from Canada, and modern artisans used ancient techniques to build the temple. Not a single nail was used in the construction, the wood instead being put together in the manner of a giant jigsaw. The elegant double-eaved Hall of the Celestial King is reminiscent of Japan, for it was designed after the 11th C Phoenix Hall in Kyoto.

Even the maps in the MTR are colourful (c) A. Harrison
Even the maps in the MTR are colourful (c) A. Harrison

Tranquility in a Convent

Despite the arrival of a busload of tourists, the courtyard and buildings remained tranquil (and were soon empty, the busload just as quickly vanishing). The entrance is through a large gate into a central courtyard, which is enclosed by a cloister. These in turn open into separate prayer rooms, where in one a buddhist nun knelt chanting her prayers. On the floor below is a great souvenir shop, which sells books, stationary, eclectic jewellery and even dried citrus peel made by the nuns.

Across the road is Nan Lian Garden, which used China's Jiangshouju Garden, (the only surviving original Tang Dynasty garden), as a blueprint. Connected by a walkway to the Nunnery, the surrounding hills are used as 'borrowed scenery', along with water features, ornamental rocks and buildings. There is even a hall filled with rocks for contemplation.

The Chi Lin Nunnery proves that quiet spots do exist in Hong Kong, and the gardens are a perfect spot to sit and read for a while.

Access: After visiting Kowloon Park, continue on the MTR to Diamond Hill and follow the signs

Inside the Nunnery (c) A. Harrison
Inside the Nunnery (c) A. Harrison

The Bird Markets, Kowloon

A short walk from Prince Edward MTR is the Yuen Po Street, which translates as Vegetable Patch Street. Pass through a moon gate and into a series of Chinese courtyards, where the Bird Market was moved about a decade ago. Although some of the charm has been lost, all manner of song fills the air from these amazing birds.

Songbirds are highly prized in China, and can often been seen outside appartments and shops. Stalls are everywhere, selling not only the birds themselves, but wooden cages, small porcelin bowls, and all manner of bird food (including live crickets and worms). Some people even bring their birds for a visit, and can be seen sitting on the benches or enjoying a glass of Chinese tea in a café in the surrounding streets, their cages beside them.

Access: catch the MTR from Diamond Hill to Prince Edward St.

I never tire of exploring new markets in Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison
I never tire of exploring new markets in Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison

Exploring the Goldfish and Flower Markets, Kowloon

A street away from the Bird Market, Flower Market Road is filled with shops opening straight onto the street. The aroma is amazing. Every type of bloom imaginable is for sale, along with boxes and boxes of bulbs which looked remarkably like sprouting turnips. It is one of the few places in Hong Kong that I ever hear bees.

Nearby, on Tung Choi St, is the Goldfish Market. Aquariums are associated with good luck, and everything needed for one can be found here – including beautiful fish. Other types of pets are also for sale. Simply wandering these streets are a delight.

Access: catch the MTR from Diamond Hill to Prince Edward St.

Parts of Hong Kong have changed little with the passing years (c) A. Harrison
Parts of Hong Kong have changed little with the passing years (c) A. Harrison

Fa Yeun Street Market

A five minute walk away from the bird and flower markets is the Fa Yeun Street Market, a small market where it seems everything is for sale. With far fewer tourists coming here than the more famous Night Markets, it is not crowded, you’re not harassed as you shop – plus it has the advantage of being open form 9am.

Like Temple Street and The Ladies Market, there is a plethora of cheap clothes, t-shits, electronics, jewellery and whatever else is currently in fashion. Cheap shops line the street behind the stalls and are well worth a visit. As the street progresses the markets morph into a lively wet market, with a choice of surrounding restaurants filled with locals: perfect after a day of sight-seeing.

Access: catch the MTR from Diamond Hill to Prince Edward St.

An almost quiet moment in Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison
An almost quiet moment in Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison

Unusual Hong Kong

With a full belly, fortunately it’s just a short stroll back to Prince Edward MTR, (or Mong Kok MTR, if you have walked the length of the wet markets) and so onto another adventure—or a well deserved siesta.

A quick snooze on the Star Ferry as it crosses the harbour is often enough to refresh. There is always be something different in Hong Kong begging to be to explored.

The end of a day exploring Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison
The end of a day exploring Hong Kong (c) A. Harrison

Questions & Answers

    © 2015 Anne Harrison

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Anne Harrison profile imageAUTHOR

        Anne Harrison 

        3 years ago from Australia

        Hi Susan, every country is different, but Asia is truly a different world. I hope you make it there one say

      • Susan Hambidge profile image

        Susan Hambidge 

        3 years ago from Hertfordshire, England

        You paint a great picture with your descriptions - and the photos are really good too. So different from anything in Europe.

      • Anne Harrison profile imageAUTHOR

        Anne Harrison 

        3 years ago from Australia

        I hope you make it there some day. Mt dad used to wotk there, so i have been many times; yet always something new to discover!

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        3 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hi Anne. We have never ventured to Hong Kong. It certainly looks interesting. Kowloon looks like a great place to walk and discover. Great job.

      • Anne Harrison profile imageAUTHOR

        Anne Harrison 

        3 years ago from Australia

        No matter how often you visit a place, there is always something interesting to find - a walk, a piece of history, a slice of everyday life so different to our own. Thanks for taking the time to read my hub,

        Anne

      • tony.abacab profile image

        Ant Richards 

        3 years ago from UK

        A very interesting insight on Kowloon. I too have travel to Hong Kong on many occasions, but also tend to avoid venturing into KW but as is the case in this fascinating city, there is always something of interest to explore.

      • Anne Harrison profile imageAUTHOR

        Anne Harrison 

        3 years ago from Australia

        Hi Jicotea,

        I'm glad you like them,

        Anne

      • Jicotea Kinsella profile image

        Jicotea Kinsella 

        3 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

        Great pictures of HK!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wanderwisdom.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)