I booked a single room at Canadian hostel via an e-mail and didn't have to make any prepayments which I liked a lot. Most reviews of any hostels at Chungking Mansions are full of scary stories (especially about the building and the people there), so I didn't really know what to expect. The hostel mailed me very precise instructions on how to get from the airport to their front door, which I followed meticulously and found them without a problem. So, when you read reviews saying that Chungking Mansions is a mess, it's impossible to find anything--it's the problem of the searchers more than the problem of the building. If you know the bank of elevators you have to take (A,B,C, etc.) and the floor, you'll find your place within minutes.
Annoying people at the front entrance--true, but if you ignore them or just wave them off or say "no, thank you" they will not bother you. Actually, that becomes an entrance ritual which is fun, in a way.
The main floor of the Chungking Mansions may seem scary and unsafe, but when you take a closer look, it's actually, a lot of fun to observe. People are very different and stories unfold right in front of your eyes. They say it's the best and the cheapest Indian food in HK--I didn't try but was very tempted.
So, when I found the Canadian Hostel (elevators E, 7th floor), and was shown my room, I was very disappointed. I knew it'd be small but I didn't even have a window (which I specified at booking after reading other reviews.) There were also some other things I didn't quite like. I said to the receptionist that he confirmed there'd be a window and he asked me to give me some time to solve it. Within 15 minutes, I was offered to relocate to another floor for a room w/ a window at no x-tra charge. I accepted and what I got was still small, but very proper, quiet, no smells, there was a windows in the room (which I preferred to keep behind shut curtains) but there was another one in the bathroom, which I could open, let fresh air in and even, eventually, dry some clothes I. Wi-Fi was free and worked OK. There was a common hallway outside shared by 3 other rooms. In the hallway was a fridge, kettle, tea bags and some other things that came in handy. The room was cleaned every day and at some point, I got a new towel. The bed was wide and comfortable. On the 2nd day, already, I got used to everything and started enjoying my stay. I had some issues that needed to be resolved immediately (at 1am) and when I called the hostel number, within a short time someone would come and fix the problem with a smile.
Elevators are indeed slow and you have to wait for them a bit, but you meet a variety of people there and some are eager to chat with you.
I never one felt myself in any danger, even at 3am when I was frequently coming back. There's a night guard by the main entrance downstairs, and even though, you'd still be offered hash, you may just keep walking and nothing will happen.
All this hysteria I read from European tourists who found the Chungking Mansions dangerous and scary just makes me laugh. You are coming to Hong Kong, not Montreal, so expect it to be Hong Kong! And if you still want it to be Montreal, don't look for the cheapest accommodation, go directly to book your Holiday Inn (next door) or some other international chain hotel.
Again, not all hostels/"guest houses"/"hotels" at the Chungking Mansions are the same. I believe others may be smelly and dirty (though, rooms are probably the same size everywhere). But when you read hostel reviews, pay attention to evaluation of the hostel itself, not the building. The building is an experience, but not a danger.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Canadian Hostel HK is a budget friendly accommodation located in Tsim Sha Tsui - the center of HK!Guests can enjoy numerous free amenities during their stay - coffee/tea/water/wireless internet: all at no extra cost!Every room comes with private en-suite, air conditioning, LCD TV with local and some international channels.Send us an e-mail if you have any questions or would like to make a reservation. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Canadian Hostel Hong Kong