A top destination among shoppers visiting the island of Hong Kong, this small patch of land just off the Hong Kong mainland continually attracts people with its wide variety of shops carrying many different sundry ranging from intricately carved jade to the newest fashions and expensive antiques.
Many first time visitors find their initial thoughts of Kowloon as a busy industrial city being squashed by the very friendly, and more homey yet bustling small town everyday living charm of Kowloon.
The many restaurants in Kowloon will pleasantly shift the standards of what people may first think to be good Chinese cooking. Kowloon cafes offer many gustatory delights at much more affordable prices than food served in Hong Kong. Here, not only is the tummy happy but also the diner’s pocket.
The large-scale development of Kowloon began in the early 20th Century, with the construction of the Kowloon-Canton Railway, the Kowloon Wharf, and the Kai Tak Airport. Precisely because of the airport, building height restrictions had been in place for many years.
Top Attractions of Kowloon
A longside the Hong Kong Cultural Center and the Star Ferry Concourse, the Clock Tower was part of the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus. Built in 1915, it marks the start of the scenic Waterfront Promenade and remains as a photogenic monument to Tsim Sha Tsui’s rail heritage.
Kowloon British School – Antiquities & Monuments Gallery
Completed in 1902, this is the oldest surviving school building constructed as an international school for the children of foreign residents in Hong Kong. The architecture is typical of many English schools of the Victorian era. The building now houses the Exhibition Gallery of the Antiquities and Monuments Office.
Marine Police Headquarters Compound
With a commanding and very strategic vantage position overlooking the harbor, this superb cluster of buildings is the fourth-oldest surviving government facility in Hong Kong. The Marine Police have operated on this site since its completion in 1884. The compound comprises a main building, a stable block and a two-storey time-signal tower, where a time ball was dropped at 1:00pm every day until 1907 to enable ships to check their chronometers.
Hong Kong Observatory
Built in 1883, this rectangular two-storey, plastered brick structure with arched windows and long verandas, stands on a small hill in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was declared a monument in 1984 and continues to monitor Hong Kong’s weather.
The Star Ferry, Hong Kong’s most scenic – and cheapest – mode of travel across Victoria Harbor, saw its 100 years of service in 1998. The eight-minute ride between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui will offer even the most jaded traveler a most enchanting experience.
Affectionately known as “The Pen”, this historic hotel, with its famous gilded, and columned lobby, first received guests in 1928. It is the ideal spot for afternoon tea with cakes and cucumber sandwiches.
Sung Wong Toi Park
Sung Wong Toi used to be one of the most important historic relics in Hong Kong. It was a 45-meter tall boulder standing on the top of a hill above Kowloon Bay.
The name Sung Wong Toi literally means Terrace of the Sung kings. It is believed to be the memorial of the last two boy emperors of the Southern Song Dynasty, Zhao Shi and Zhao Bing, who temporarily lived in Hong Kong from 1277 to 1279. Zhao Shi died of illness in Hong Kong, while Zhao Bing committed suicide after the naval defeat against the Mongols at the Battle of Yamen.
During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong in 1942-1945, this boulder became dislodged while the hill was being leveled for an extension of Kai Tak Airport.
Only the part of the boulder displaying its Chinese name, about one-third of its original size, survived the blasting operation. After World War II it was moved to the Sung Wong Toi Park, in the present-day Kowloon City district, a small park especially constructed for it close to the original site.
The mosque is the most interesting to visit on Friday lunch times. Built in 1984, the mosque has the grand white dome and minarets stands out on the Goldern mite. It is located on bustling Nathan Road in a corner of Kowloon Park.
Once, Kowloon Park was the site of the white field barracks-home to joint British and Indian troops but has now since been converted to a pleasant city park. Don’t miss the bird lake crowded with beautiful pink lesser flamingo and ducks.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
An ornate traditional temple in the heart of Kowloon, Wong Tai Sin Temple combines Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist traditions. Wong Tai Sin himself was a Zhejiang shepherd/alchemist who supposedly concocted a marvelous cure-all. His work has since gained for him a statue in the main building, which was brought over from the mainland in 1921. The building is spectacularly colorful with its red pillars, golden ceiling and decorated latticework, but not particularly distinguished. Far more fascinating are the fortune-tellers in their arcade of booths and the throngs of worshippers.
Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
Rearing caged songbirds is a time-honored Chinese hobby, and the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is Hong Kong’s shrine to this obsession. There are about 70 stalls, each filled with the song of its glorious occupants, and ornate cages and cage furniture that adds more to the shop’s attractions. And while conditions in the average Hong Kong poultry market would give an animal welfare activist a heart attack, the birds here are pampered and cosseted, even fed honey nectar which is believed to sweeten their songs. Just north of the Bird Garden there is also a fine flower market, and a goldfish market closer to the MRT station in Tung Choi Street.