Walking West Hong Kong Island – Sai Wan

After a quick fix of caffeine and WiFi (plus a chance to rest our feet) at my uncle’s place in Sheung Wan, we were back out on the street. It was Sunday, so my uncle took us down to a weekly market that closes some streets in the area.  There were some performances on a stage and a lot of ladies lining up for some freebies at one tent.

Sheung Wan Sunday Market – lots of people lining up for freebies

What my uncle really brought us down here for was the traditional and nostalgic sugar candies.  My uncle said that this kind of candy used to be sold on the streets all over Hong Kong when he was a kid.  Nowadays, you can rarely find the same kind of candy except at the occasional food stall at special occasions. Let me tell you that the candy was super sweet.  Good thing we split it 3 ways between my uncle, sister and I.

Traditional Candy & Coconut Wrap food stall

My uncle lead us back up to Queen’s Road West.  It’s a major east-west road on Hong Kong Island that snakes its way from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town in the Sai Wan district. We could have take one of the ever ubiquitous Hong Kong double-decker buses, but we had already been eating too much over the first few days of our visit. We needed to walk.

10 Kennedy Town Citybus

There were plenty of everyday Hong Kong shops along Queen’s Road West. There were plenty of 7-Eleven and Circle K convenience stores along the way.  However, there was one stretch of Queen’s Road West that was all decked out in auspicious red.

There were a string of shops that specialized in all sorts of red-coloured products.  Red is the colour of celebration, luck, and joy in Chinese culture.  With Chinese New Year following closely on the heels of New Year, there were plenty of Chinese New Year paraphernalia like red pouches (lucky envelopes), spring greetings, red lanterns and more.

cheek and jowl apartment windows

All along the way down Queen’s Road West, there were apartments on top of all the shops.  Some were older buildings which were only 6-8 stories high.  These older places usually don’t have elevators.

When in Hong Kong, everyone must look up from time to time and just let the vertical concrete jungle overwhelm you.  It is quite a sight to just stand there and find oneself surrounded by a man-made, yet somewhat organic, collection of highrises.

Pok Fu Lam Road (left) and Queen’s Road West

My uncle pointed out the old Police Station in this part of town. The sidewalk was so narrow here that the guard turret literally hung right above the sidewalk. I could have jumped up and touched it quite easily. As we continued our walk past the police station, we came across this colourful fast food joint, Tsui Wah Delivery.  Tsui Wah is a famous chain of Hong Kong Style Cafes.  They’ve obviously branched out into other kind of food services, including this delivery location.  I love the bright green and yellow scooters they use for delivery.  The colour must help to “protect” the deliveries from inattentive drivers as the scooters weave in and out of traffic.

After a long walk, I had lost all track of time.  We had reached the end of Queen’s Road West.  It meets up with Des Voeux Road.  The famous double-decker Hong Kong trams reach their western terminus here at Queen’s Road West and Des Voeux Road. I love little walks like these.  The walk was only 2 km, but there was so much to see in this “quieter” part of West Hong Kong Island.

In 2015, the new MTR West Hong Kong Island Line extension from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town will be complete.  It’s already transforming the areas around the future MTR stations.  Lots of new highrise developments are underway to coincide with opening of the Island Line extension.  This “quieter” neighbourhood is about to get a little less “quiet” as it gets connected via Hong Kong’s MTR.

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