When you think of a place to visit in Hong Kong, Kwun Tung probably wouldn’t make it to your list. Why would it? It’s just an old industrial area with run-down factories and the occasional so-so mall. But behind every neighborhood hides a special story, and once – like me – you’re a bit tired of the usual tourist attractions it’s time to dig deeper and unravel the secrets of the less-known side of Hong Kong. You just might be surprised.
Following a new non-profit group on Facebook that goes by the name “Secret Tours of Hong Kong” I’ve seen them share lots of interesting links to places and events around Hong Kong that I thought were quite special. Occasionally, they would pull off some interesting events, like a bubble milk-tea workshop or a “secret dinner” at a unique location in the lesser-known Hong Kong.
I finally decided to join when I saw they were doing a tour of Kwun Tong, the former factory glory of Hong Kong. When I told some of my locals friends – some of them from Kwun Tong – that I’m going to that tour they looked at me as if I’ve gone insane and just muttered “but why?”. I couldn’t really offer them an explanation till after the tour, but it was definitely worth it.
These were the details :
Date: Aug 27, 2011(Sat)
Time: 12:00pm (we will go for lunch together)
Meet-up Point: Exit A, Kwun Tong MTR Station
RSVP: Email to [email protected] with your Name, Cell no., Email Add., Nationality
About the Tour:
Kwun Tong is one of the earliest developed urban area and industrial areas in Hong Kong. Recently, many factories have became idle and thus they turned into venues for different purposes. In this tour, we are going to visit 3 People who are still working in "factories" but doing 3 completely different industries. Then, we will walk around the older part of Kwun Tong and end the tour with a great meal at a local chinese restaurant.
Meet Stephen Chung, our guide for the day and the lively spirit behind the curious enterprise…
Who led this happy bunch with locals and foreigners, around Kwun Tong.
That last photo is in a relatively local restaurant mainly used for factory workers. After the warnings we got, I think we were all very positively surprised how nice, and cheap, this place was.
Stephen pointed out some of the stuff I would probably have not noticed…
So those ads are for former-factory-turned-cheap-apartments. Since HK real estate prices are so expensive, taking a factory and splitting it up to small apartments and renting this out could be a profitable – though somewhat illegal – little enterprise.
We visited some of the local artists who took advantage of the cheap rents to open their studios. One of them was an India band that goes by the name ni.ne.mo …
We got to hear some of their music, get to know more about the HK underground Indie scene and hear more about why they chose Kwun Tong of all places.
Another local artist was the guy behind 308 Tattoo workshop. Turns out he’s famous enough for people to come especially to see him in his tattoo workshop in Kwun Tong…
(no, relax, those are Buddhism symbols)
Last of the local folks were the owners of a local Chinese medicine drink shop in Kwun Tong…
Who explained a bit about opening their business in Kwun Tong and how they got involved in the Chinese medicinal drinks niche.
Other than that, we walked around Kwun Tong in some of the old residential areas that are about to be torn down. Local residences have been moved out to make way to a grand new manic skyscraper extravaganza, which our tourguides from HK’s Apple Daily were protesting against.
Here are some of my captures of the Kwun Tong daily life…
The tour has been features on a number of media outlets in HK…
You can also find the story on RTHK.
Was a really nice tour. Thanks "Secret HK tours" !