Wan Chai has more attractions than girlie bars and British pubs. From the location of the Hong Kong handover to traditional Hong Kong tenements, we pick the top 6 sights in Wan Chai.
Couldn't care less about history or heritage? Try Wan Chai's best bars.
The Blue House
Named after its bright blue exterior, the Blue House is a string of heritage tenement blocks at 72-74 Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai. After a close call with developers, the Blue House has been classified as a protected historical building and is one of the few remaining examples in Hong Kong of pre-war tenement buildings. The Tong Lau balconies that mesh Chinese and Western architectural influences are unique to Hong Kong. The tenements remain in use for shops and apartments, but you'll also find the Wan Chai Livelihood Museum. Stop by to find apartments restored to recreate the pre-war period.
Golden Bauhinia Square
It was here that Hong Kong’s famous fireworks and flag-waving took part to mark the Hong Kong handover. Governor Chris Pattern and a distinctly unimpressed Prince Charles handed Hong Kong back over to Chinese President Jiang Zemin while Chinese troops and British sailors saluted through buckets of rain. The day and the event are marked by the Golden Bauhinia statue in the square of the same name. It's the closest Hong Kong has to a patriotic attraction. Each day at 7.50 the police band raise and salute the national flag. In truth, it's not much of an event, except on the first of every month when a full police pipe band belt out a few tunes in their fancy regalia.
Woo Cheong Pawn Shop
Address66 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Squeezed in between the skyscrapers of Wan Chai the Pawn was (as the name suggests) once a Chinese pawnshop, although you wouldn’t guess that from looking at the building today. After dodging the bulldozers, the century-old building was gutted, and the façade restored to accentuate its British colonial heritage. Inside is a British gastropub called The Pawn, although you don’t need to buy bangers and mash to look around; the rooftop on the fourth floor is open to the public and is a great place for a picnic.
AddressLockhart Rd, Hong Kong
No, we don’t advocate visiting one of Lockhart Road's infamous girlie bars but walking along this strip of neon-lit sidewalk while being hassled by mama-sans is still a Hong Kong experience. Made famous by Suzy Wong and visiting American serviceman on R&R from Vietnam, the ‘scene’ isn’t as wild as it once was but one stroll up Lockhart Road proves the saunas and topless bars are still making a booming trade. In many ways, this is Wan Chai's most famous attraction.
The Hopewell Centre
Once the tallest building in the city, the Hopewell Centre has been overshadowed by much loftier constructions. But if you want to get a birds-eye view of Wan Chai, then its glass-fronted elevators still can't be beaten. Rising from the 3rd floor to the 52nd, the elevator zips up the outside of the building and affords fantastic vistas across the whole city. You'll find a revolving restaurant at the summit of the skyscraper, although the Cantonese food is priced as high as the setting.