The Western District of Hong Kong Island, is the city's oldest Chinese district. This interesting and varied walk has fine examples of... more » both Chinese and Western culture. Parts of the district--Tai Ping Shan and Sai Ying Pun--were the first areas reserved for the Chinese community following colonization by the British, who kept prime districts such as Central for foreign occupation. While most of Hong Kong has been transformed into a modern city, Western District is one area that has changed little over the last century. It is an interesting mix of Western and Chinese heritage.
Traditional Chinese businesses, such as dried fish merchants and herbal medicine shops, bird's nest and shark's fin shops still abound on Des Voeux Road West and the surrounding streets. Appalling living conditions and sanitation in the old Chinese district resulted in an outbreak of the plague in the late 19th century, which led to the establishment of many medical facilities in the area. Many of the buildings, which form an important part of Hong Kong's medical heritage, still exist and can be seen on this walk. Another consequence of the plague, which resulted in demolition and clearance of a large part of the affected area, was Hong Kong's first attempt at urban planning in the form of a grid pattern of streets, which you will see on part of the route.
The walk also takes you past a wealthy Chinese family's mansion (now a museum), a famous temple and a lesser-known temple with a fascinating history, the oldest surviving example of a traditional Chinese tenement street in southern China, antique shops and a flea market, and a splendidly renovated former meat and vegetable market, which is now an arts and crafts center, fabric market and dining venue. less «