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The legends of Hong Kong: Chungking & Mirador Mansions

22 February 2013 - Hong Kong & Macao, Asia 5 comments

Hone Kong: Chungking mansions.

In Kowloon peninsula from Hong Kong there’s an area called Tsim Sha Tsui. The area is also known as “Golden Mile” because here can be found the most expensive land in the world. Three years ago, the owners took the decision of demolishing Hyatt Hotel which had about 10 – 12 stories and preparing the setting for a much larger building which was still under construction in 2009 when I was last time in Hong Kong…The terrain below what used to be Hyatt Hotel,  costs probably more than a 5 star hotel. Well, on this “golden” ground, can be found two buildings for backpackers and immigrants – some massive grey blocks of about 15 – 16 stories that are housing a few hundreds of guesthouses. Millions of backpackers from all around the world have lived here during the last 50 years, thus transforming Chungking and Mirador Mansions into legendary places such as Thamel in Kathmandu, Khao San Road from Bangkok or Goa…The cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong located in the most expensive residential area in the world!

The buildings were constructed in the ‘60s for a big real estate project which intended to reduce the demographic pressure on the island, but in the end, the two massive apartment blocks ended up on housing the city’s visitors instead of its cramped inhabitants. Slowly, private entrepreneurs started to let and sublet larger or smaller spaces and turn them into guesthouses. Today, nobody has any idea who rented to whom but one thing is sure: here you can find a few hundred “hotels” with thousands of beds.

But not all guesthouses are alike. A characteristic of all of them is that the rooms are extremely small and each square centimeter is used in the most efficient way. What separates a place from another is the fact that some are dirtier, whereas others are extremely clean. It depends a lot to whom the place addresses to: the ones meant for the immigrants from the Indian subcontinent or from Africa or Mainland China may be in poor conditions and filthy, but the ones meant for Western backpackers (generally mentioned in Lonely Planet or other travel guides) are cleaner and nicer.

Personally, I chose to stay at Chungking in 2004 and at Mirador in 2009. Last time I switched to Mirador due to the elevators of Chungking – only a few and unable to serve so many people (sometimes you could queue for even 30 minutes during peak hours). In the meantime, I found out that the access within Chungking was improved, but I cannot tell you for sure. I said to myself not to experiment anymore and stay at Mirador where there are 4 elevators, each serving two floors and thus the risk of waiting too much would be reduced. Besides, the elevators’ buttons were disinfected every 2 hours in order to prevent swine flu (ever since SARS, Hong Kong started to be very cautious!). Later I read somewhere that there’s a tendency for backpackers to choose Mirador – not that cramped up and a bit more well kept, whereas Pakistanis, Indians and Chinese to stay at Chungking.

In Mirador, I chose Man Hing Lung Hotel. 150 HK $ (14 €) for a single room with bathroom. The hotel was situated on the 14th floor on some labyrinth-like corridors but it was extremely clean. As anywhere else, the room was only a bit larger than the bed itself but it was equipped with everything– TV, toilet, small wardrobe closet, shower, telephone, A/C…and a relatively clean “air hole” overlooking the mosque from Tsim Sha Tsui. The reception situated only a floor below was filled with maps, suggestions, bus, airplane and boat schedules…and whatever you were interested in and was not displayed, you could easily ask Mr. Chan (receptionist, owner, tourist guide, one man show) who knew everything. As everywhere in the area, you only needed to open your mouth and the answer came right away – if not only the solution, at least the information that might have helped getting what you desired. You needed a visa for China, Taiwan or Thailand? No problem! A massage perhaps? No problem at all! Where to get a good camera from? You were told immediately where you could find the best buy. Apart from all that, you even have access to a computer with internet, but which you have to share with the other guests of Mr. Chan.

As anywhere in Hong Kong, the ground floor is filled with stores…the majority of which addresses traveler’s needs – countless exchange houses, souvenir shops, travel agencies, small supermarkets where you could find beer, water and any kind of food, lots of ethnic restaurants– Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, all are represented here! Internet cafés, Indian tailors, electronics shops with counterfeit or not so counterfeit goods, travel accessories (Samsonite or Sansonite, your choice), books and magazines, even a sex shop… everything at your disposal. The most popular stores on the street are those of electronics. It is from a place like this that in 2004 I bought my very first digital camera.

Right across Chungking is Tsim Sha Tsui underground station. From the same place you can also take the airport shuttle, the most inexpensive option to use from and to the airport. 200 meters down the hill you can enjoy the most beautiful view of Hong Kong skyscrapers from the Stars esplanade. Only one underground station away towards North, is Night Market – where you can buy whatever your heart desires– clothing, footwear, DVDs, watches, souvenirs, house appliances. It is a good, central location…The main question is how much will Holliday Inn last, between Sheraton Hotel at the corner, “sandwiched” between  Mirador and Chungking, and Hyatt Hotel in reconstruction right across from it…?

How to get to Hong Kong

Over 70 airlines connect Hong Kong with the rest of the world, the large majority of European companies operating on the modern airport.  Unfortunately, towards Europe there are no low-cost companies, so it’s better to be on the lookout for deals.  On the other hand, from Hong Kong you can catch a flight from Air Asia at low prices towards Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. If you want to continue your travel towards China, it’s cheaper to fly from Shenzen (a metropolis stuck to HK, but considered part of The Popular Republic) than from HK which continues to be considered as “abroad”.

Where you may lay your head down at night

In Chungking and Mirador, can be found hundreds of guesthouses at prices starting from 100 HK$ (9 €) for a single room or 150 HK$ (14 € a double room). But as anywhere else in Asia, prices are opened to negotiation and you have more chances of getting a discount on a long term stay (i.e. more than a week) or if you are there in the low season (generally, during spring or autumn). Even if you intend to have a long stay, make sure you pay only the first night just to see if everything is ok – after the first night, you can negotiate your stay and extend it.
Site: http://www.hkstar.com/~mhlhotel/

Hong Kong Visa

Most of the Western citizens do not need visa for Hong Kong, just a valid passport. Hong Kong has a distinctive legislation for the visa from the Mainland China, so, don’t worry about visas.

Pictures of Hong Kong:

Hing Kong: Chungking Mansions

Chungking Mansions

Hong Kong

Ground floor at Chungking

Hong Kong: elevators

Those famous elevators

 Hong Kong: Chungking mansions

De Luxe Hotel :)

Hong Kong: Chunking

The entrance is quite high tech

Hong Kong: Chunking

Hong Kong

Hong Kong: Mirador

Hong Kong: Chungking and Mirador

Chungking and Mirador – between them you can find Holliday Inn Hotel

Photos of Hong Kong: Tsim Sha Tsui

Hong Kong

Disinfected elevator

 On the corridors of Mirador Mansions

Hong Kong

Everywhere you look, hotels

21. firma.JPG

Finally, the hotel I was looking for!

Hong Kong hotel

Reception

Hong Kong hotel

Reception

Hong Kong

Finally, on the hotel’s corridors…

Hong Kong hotel

My room– single one and with my own bathroom

Hong kong trip

Hong Kong

The bathroom

Hong Kong shops

Only in HK people are queuing in front of a Louis Vuitton store

Hong Kong

Electronics shops

Hong Kong view

Two steps away, an unforgettable view

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

 

Până acum există "5 comentarii" la acest articol:

  1. A78 says:

    Am locuit la Chungking , undeva la etajul 13 la 15€/zi si nu e deloc atat de rau pe cat se spune . Fatada a fost renovata si liftul e ok , nu am asteptat mai mult de 3 minute niciodata . Sunt lifturi pentru etajele cu numar impar si altele pentru cele cu numar par . Este chiar in spatele Peninsula si in fata centrului comercial de vreo 16 etaje iSquare. Sunt cateva case de schimb valutar in interiorul bazarului de la parter cu curs bun .

    5 minute pana la feriboturile Star ferry si 10 pana la feriboturile spre Macau . Chiar in fata opreste autobuzul A21 care vine de la aeroport . Hyper-central .

  2. A78 says:

    Am locuit la Chungking , undeva la etajul 13 la 15€/zi si nu e deloc atat de rau pe cat se spune . Fatada a fost renovata si liftul e ok , nu am asteptat mai mult de 3 minute niciodata . Sunt lifturi pentru etajele cu numar impar si altele pentru cele cu numar par . Este chiar in spatele Peninsula si in fata centrului comercial de vreo 16 etaje iSquare. Sunt cateva case de schimb valutar in interiorul bazarului de la parter cu curs bun .

    5 minute pana la feriboturile Star ferry si 10 pana la feriboturile spre Macau . Chiar in fata opreste autobuzul A21 care vine de la aeroport . Hyper-central . Doar gara e putin mai departe , la vreo 15 min pe jos . Sau vreo 2 statii de metrou , care este chiar in fata .

  3. […] Enjoy your stay at Chungking Mansions or Mirador Mansion. […]

  4. […] по деньгам вариант — один из множества хостелов в Chungking или Mirador Mansions. На Booking.com можно найти отдельную комнату на одного без […]

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