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Western District, the Island's Oldest Neighborhood

Discover museums, historic buildings, old shopping streets and other highlights
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 2.4 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  The Western District of Hong Kong Island, is the city's oldest Chinese district. This interesting and varied walk has fine examples of... more »

Tips:  Getting there: This walk starts at Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum on Castle Road. It can be reached via the Mid-Levels Escalator System, which... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum (Kom Tong Hall)

The Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum at 7 Castle Rd., just off Caine Road, is located in a magnificently preserved Edwardian building, Kom Tong Hall. The hall, built in 1914 was--until 1960--the family mansion of Hom Kong-tong, brother of Sir Robert Ho Tung. Sir Robert was a prominent Hong Kong tycoon, philanthropist and colleague of Jardine Matheson, the... More

2. Wing Lee Street

From the Dr. Sun Yat-sen museum, follow Caine Road for about 100 meters and then follow Shing Wong Street on the right, down a set of steps to Wing Lee Street, which is on the left.

Wing Lee Street is the last remaining street in Hong Kong entirely lined with 12 tong lau, typical postwar 1950s Chinese-style tenement buildings. The tong lau on... More

3. Former Police Married Quarters

The Former Married Police Quarters, located at the junction of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road, was originally the site of the Government Central School, The schoo was established in 1862 and was the first government school to provide upper primary and secondary Western education. The school was renamed Victoria College in 1889 and became... More

A short distance from the Police Married Quarters along Hollywood Road, famous for its antique shops, stands Man Mo Temple. This is not the only Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong but is the best known and a popular tourist attraction. It is a Daoist temple, built in 1847 at a time when more Chinese people were beginning to occupy the nearby districts... More

Just a few steps down Ladder Street, opposite Man Mo Temple, is Upper Lascar Row, also known as "Cat Street." In the 19th century this was a "no-go" area for Westerners, being populated by opium addicts, prostitutes, thieves and gamblers. Its name relates to Indian sailors who lived in nearby boarding houses while waiting for a berth on a ship.... More

Wing Lee Street leads through a narrow passageway to Ladder Street. Ladder Street was built between 1841 and 1850 and is about 300 meters long, linking Queens Road Central with Caine Road. Its name is due to its steepness and resemblance to a ladder.

The street is composed of granite slabs and concrete paving and has central iron railings.... More

Just below the top of Ladder Street, Caine Lane leads to the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences. The building opened in 1906 as the Bacteriological Institute and after World War II became the Pathological Institute. Through the years the building has played an important role in the medical history of Hong Kong.

The Bacteriological Institute was... More

8. Blake Garden

Just below the Museum of Medical Sciences lies Blake Garden. The garden was named after Sir Henry Blake, who governed Hong Kong from 1898 to 1903. The area on which the garden stands was originally a crowded tenement with extremely poor living and sanitary conditions. Following the outbreak of the plague in 1894, the area was cordoned off and the ... More

9. Kwong Fuk Ancestral Hall/Pak Sing Temple

Kwong Fuk Ancestral Hall (I Tsz), on Taipingshan Street, is little known by tourists but has a fascinating history. After Hong Kong became a British colony many mainland Chinese moved to Hong Kong in anticipation of a better life. However, the reality was somewhat different and many simply died homeless without any relatives to take care of their ... More

10. Tung Wah Hospital

Tung Wah Hospital on Po Yan Street, which opened in 1872, was the first hospital built in Hong Kong solely to provide traditional Chinese medical care to the Chinese community. The Chinese community long had requested such a facility but it was bad publicity over conditions at Kwong Fuk Ancestral Hall (see previous point of interest) that prompted... More

Hollywood Road Park is located opposite the lower end of Po Yan Street and is a Chinese-style park with ponds and pavilions. The area around the park is where the British colonization of Hong Kong began. Inside the gate is a display of photos showing the Union Jack being raised at Possession Point, which was at what is now Possession Street, a... More

12. Former Civil Hospital Nurses Quarters and Old Mental Hospital

From the end of Hollywood Road, follow Queen's Road West, west to its junction with Eastern Street and follow Eastern Street uphill. On the left is King George V Memorial Park, planned in 1936, the year King George V died, but not opened until 1954 owing to intervention of World War II.

Just above the park is the imposing Sai Ying Pun Community... More

13. Dried Seafood Street (Des Voeux Road West)

From Eastern Street follow High Street to Centre Street and then follow Centre Street downhill and across Queen's Road West to Des Voeux Road West. The streets between High Street and Queen's Road West form a grid pattern and were Hong Kong's first attempt at urban planning.

Des Voeux Road West, along which trams rumble, is known as "Dried... More

Immediately before the junction of Des Voeux Road with Connaught Road West, Wing Lok Street branches off to the right. Here can be found a number of shops selling bird's nest and shark's fin, both delicacies used in soup. They are associated with long life.
Shop hours
Daily 9:30am-7pm

15. Possession Street

Wing Lok Street meets the lower end of Possession Street just before Bonham Strand. Following the Opium War with China, when the first British landing on Hong Kong Island was made by the Royal Navy on Jan. 25, 1841, a toast was drunk to Queen Victoria. The next day the landing party returned and hoisted the Union Jack, the British flag, at... More

From Wing Lok Street, Western Market--located on Morrison Street and Des Voeux Road--is a short walk. The market is a distinctive red brick and granite building that, before reclamation, stood on the waterfront. It was built on two blocks, north and south in 1858 and 1906 respectively, as a meat and vegetable market. The Edwardian building has... More