travel guide - escape to hong kong with eli
you may or may not know this, but hong kong is quite different from continental china. as a former british colony, the autonomous territory was clearly marked by its 100 years of foreign occupation. most of the population speaks english (which isn't necessarily the case in the rest of asia) and public transportation is pretty much understandable for any westerner.
beyond its british heritage, hong kong is known for its beautiful landscape and breathtaking beaches. if you like to hike, or go for a swim, you're in for a southeast asian treat!
repulse bay is one of the closest beaches to downtown hong kong. you can actually take a double-decker city bus to get there in less than 30 minutes. the trip is pretty fun too - you'll go up and down the mountains, admiring the city from above and the scenery of what we'd call 'hiking paradise'. if you want a break from the beach, we recommend heading over to the beach plaza and have a snack at the pulse (28 beach rd) or a coffee at the coffee academics (26 beach rd) .
sheung wan is definitely one of the neighborhoods you want to check out. first stop, woaw (11 gough street), meaning 'world of amazing wonders'. you'll indeed find little wonders in this lifestyle concept store stocking exclusive hard-to-find merchandise for men, women and kids. once you're done looking around, head to the back and order a delicious coffee at the elephant grounds counter. if you walk a bit further from the store and go up a couple of city stairs, there's okura (ground floor, 1 shin hing street). named 'treasure trove' in japanese, the curated boutique offers clothing and collectibles personally handpicked from all over japan. there, we found an amazing pair of jeans by serge de bleu - the flower oil treatment they put on their japanese denim makes it super soft and comfortable.
less than five minutes away, further down aberdeen st., we found one crazy shopping mall. now referred to as pmq (35 aberdeen st.), the police married quarters were the first dormitory for chinese rank and file police officers back in 1951. as of 2014, the site became a hub for design and creative industries with more than 100 brands all in one place. you can spend the rest of the afternoon going from floor to floor, visiting each atelier or boutique. one of our faves was alternative country in room s311, where you can find cool pairs of canvas sneakers and handmade work boots in premium leather. if it's pretty out and you're thirsty, head over for a craft beer at craftissimo (shop d, ground floor, 22-24 tai ping shan street). they have a wide selection of local and foreign beers - plus you can drink yours outside, in the sunny back alley. it's getting late and you want to grab something to eat? we've heard that little bao (66 staunton st) has delightful baos - with either pork belly, fish tempura, szechuan fried chicken... and apparently you don't want to miss the ice cream bao for dessert!
wan chai & causeway bay
leaving sheung wan for the central part of town, we arrive to wan chai. if you're looking for a good coffee spot, look no further - omotesando koffee (200, 24-25 queen's rd e & lee tung st) is the place you want to go. grab your coffee and admire the dozens of red lanterns hanging on queen's rd while sipping some kickass espresso.
now that you're all caffeined up, walk about 10 minutes to find a first kapok location exclusively for women (5 st francis yard). if you need more, there's a bigger kapok store a few meters away on sun street (3 sun street) where they sell menswear and home goods. feeling hungry? walk back towards the east and stop for the best fried soup dumplings you'll ever have at cheung hing kee (76 thomson rd). you have to order the black truffle ones, they're insanely good! next, head over to causeway bay walking on henessy rd. you'll cross paths with the bowrington road market which is pretty impressive and messy - an authentic asian street market. there are two stores in this neighborhood you don't want to miss. first, workware denim store (5b, redana centre, 25 yiu wa st.) is a small boutique where you'll find selvedge denim, vintage jeans and military surplus type of goods. when you're done, cross the street and visit hide & seek (1/f, 20 yiu wa st.) where your mind will be blown by their curated menswear selection... and since we don't care if it's for men, the store is yours girls!
text and pictures by elisabeth labelle
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