Sheung Wan Highlights

Ancient Traditional Street Life Meets Sleek Corporate World

The Sheung Wan and Western District Highlights include a mix of old and new:

Ancient temples, traditional Chinese dried food and medicinal shops and markets, the rickety Ding Ding tram, antique and curio laden streets, all next to futuristic skyscrapers, upmarket shopping centers and the distinct and novel Mid-Levels Escalator.

The area comprises the North-West part of Hong Kong Island, it is considered a very "Chinese" part of the city, and is a fascinating mix that is best explored on foot and one of our favourite walks in the city, good for a morning or afternoon of exploring:

From Central to Sheung Wan on the Ding Ding Tram

Ding Ding Trams at Queens Road Central

Ok, so this is not precisely a Sheung Wan or Western feature, but rather a city-wide feature, but the Ding Ding Tram IS a befitting way to travel to or from this older section of town, which is just as old as the tram that has been running since 1904.

You can catch any Westbound tram heading towards Kennedy Town from Central or any of the dozens of stops. We normally get on by the HSBC Bank, and take it a couple of stops after Western Market (the maroon color colonial building, see below). You will see rows of dried seafood stalls and Chinese medicinal shops lining the street, hop off to start your walking tour.

Dried Seafood Street

Dried Food Stalls

Walk along Des Voeux Road West and Bonham Strand and any of the side streets that catch your eye.

These little streets are packed with all sorts of dried foods, from herbs and medicines, to seafood and dried meats.

Great for photographs and to catch a glimpse of traditional Chinese life, the streets are bustling with activity at all times as locals come and go their daily routines.

Western Market

Western Market

We spotted Western Market which sits right on the tram route coming over. The highlight here is not the "market" itself, but the gorgeous colonial building it occupies. It's an Edwardian style refurbished building and it certainly stands out from the Chinese streets surrounding it.

Inside, check out the vaulted ceilings, and even the old English phone booth.

The market itself, is not what I would consider a "shopping market", i.e. don't make the trip if your sole purpose is to shop. On the ground floor there is all sorts of tourist trinkets (haggling is a must here) and on the upper floor there is fabric galore, bolts and bolts of colorful fabrics.

If nothing else, the market does provide good photo opportunities, is on the tram route and close to the Macau ferry port, so if you are in the neighborhood pop in for a look.

Cat Street

Dried Food Stalls

Now head up the hill towards Upper Lascar Row, this is known as "Cat Street", and is a very colorful pedestrian lane with stalls of curio shops peddling all sorts of inexpensive pottery, jewelry, ornaments, coins, carvings, mao souvenirs, etc.

The official name of Cat Street is Upper Lascar Row.

This is a fun place to haggle and go bargain hunting for some trinkets to take home.

Hollywood Road

Antique Gallery at Hollywood Road

Hollywood Road is the upmarket version of Cat Street and runs parallel to it.

The road is lined with antique shops offering a colorful array of paintings, pottery, furniture, that may or may not be the real thing.

You are likely to find many reproductions and if looking for genuine pieces, you should probably stick to reputable shops and the antique auctions. That being said, this is a fun street to stroll and have a look and even pick up a few pieces.

Man Mo Temple

Incese Coils at Man Mo Temple

You will run into this unassumming temple just off Hollywood Road, and as you enter, you will be transported to a totally different world: incense coils, colorful deities and altars... where locals come to pay respects to the two gods Man and Mo, as they have been for over 150 years.

The Man Mo Temple is one of Hong Kong's oldest and most acclaimed temples, right in the midst of the glitz and glam of the skyscrapers.

Mid-Levels Escalator

Mid-Levels Escalator

An escalator? Not an ordinary escalator though! It's the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, and it is totally unique, this is how many Hongkoners commute every day to work.

The escalator connects Central and Western Districts, with the SoHo and residential districts of the Mid-levels from Queen's Road to Conduit Road.

But more than a transportation option, it has transformed in a very unique micro-culture with bars, restaurants, shops and market stalls all along which are fun to stroll around.

The escalator is not one single escalator but a series of escalators and moving side-walks, you can hop on and off along the way, there are even "rest areas".

In the morning rush hour it runs downhill and from 10:30 a.m. it runs uphill.

Graham Street Food Stalls and Market

Graham Street Market

Running parallel to the Escalator just a couple of streets west of it on Graham Street is a bustling market.

Markets are very much a part of every day life in Hong Kong and this one tucked in a little alley amongst skyscrapers is one of the oldest in the city.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood... and tons of little food stalls line both sides of the narrow lane.

This is a great place to pop in for lunch or a snack with lots of savory choices. It is very popular with the lunch crowds so plan accordingly or be ready to wait!

Pottinger Street aka Stone Slab Street

Pottinger Street Market

This street is on a slope and entirely covered by thin stone slabs, quite unique in Hong Kong. It runs parallel just east of the escalator running from Queen's Road Central to Hollywood Road.

The liveliest and most atmospheric portion is the narrow alley between Stanley and Wellington Streets.

This is a trinket market and well-known for costumes, masks, jewelry and babbles.

Come Halloween time, this is were you find half of Hong Kong buying decos and costumes.

The Sheung Wan and Western Highlights and Walks Map

hong kong sheung wan markets map Cat Street hong kong markets map Hollywood Road hong kong markets map Man Mo Temple hong kong markets map Pottinger Street aka Stone Slab Street

hong kong markets map Graham Street Wet Market and Street Food hong kong markets map Dried Seafood Street hong kong markets map Western Market hong kong markets map Midlevels Escalator

Walking Tour of Hong Kong Old and New - Sheung Wan

New and Old Hong Kong Walking Tour: Sheung Wan District This guided walking tour takes you through the district of Sheung Wan, where you will be immersed in a world of specialty shops, art galleries and temples. The past and the future converge here, allowing you a peek into authentic Hong Kong life. Ride a traditional tram and sample delicious Hong Kong goodies.

The tour starts at 2:00 p.m. as you meet your guide at the HSBC Building in the Central District (by the lion statues) It lasts approximately 3 hours and includes:

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