Bordering west of Hong Kong’s Victoria City, the gentrification of Kennedy Town might have begun when its MTR extension arrived in 2014, leading to a population boom in cafes, cool restaurants, and bars, and even organic grocers. That said, this picturesque end of Sai Wan has much to offer with its historical nooks and crannies, as well as being a gateway to the great outdoors.
Sai Wan Swimming Shed
The shed was built in the 60s near one of Hong Kong’s oldest public housing neighbourhoods, so today, the locals who (dare to) tread the open waters of the Sulphur Channel are mostly the older folks. Even if you aren’t particularly keen testing the waters, it’s a beautiful locale for a photo op on its iconic pier, especially at sunrise.
Getting here: The shed is located at Victoria Road, Mount Davis, Hong Kong. Open 24 hours a day. A 20-minute walk from Kennedy Town MTR, Exit C.
High West Hike
Victoria Peak too mainstream? Take the road less travelled with a hike up from West High Hill. Starting your hike Rockhill Street, you’ll face a behemoth series of stairs – totaling over 2,000 steps and a round-trip journey of more than 6km. The relatively unmarked route will present an adventure for those lusting for it, but free free to borrow from the experience of many who have already traversed the trail and put up easy-to-follow routes online.
Getting here: To get to the starting point, take the MTR to Kennedy Town MTR and leave via exit B. Walk along Rockhill Street toward the corner of Rockhill and Sands Streets to find the first flight of steps.
Instagram Pier definitely sounds better than this structure’s official denomination: the Western District Public Cargo Working Area. Flanking the Sai Wan waterfront, the pier sports views of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline. With uninterrupted shorelines and the mirror-like appearance of the ground after rain, it easily became a spot that gathered professional and amateur photographers alike.
Getting here: The pier is located at the junction of Hill Road and Connaught Road at West Sai Wan, Hong Kong and a 20-minute walk from Hong Kong University MTR.
Lo Pan Temple
Lo Pan Temple is the only temple in Hong Kong dedicated to the patron saint of Chinese builders and carpenters, Though small, the temple is intricately decorated with poetry, paintings, carvings, and Shiwan ceramic figurines, further adding to this distinctly unique place of worship.
Getting here: The Lo Pan Temple is located at 15 Ching Lin Terrace. Take the MTR to Admiralty Station Exit F, then take Bus 23 outside Pacific Place. Alight at Pokfulam Road and walk around 10 minutes to Ching Lin Terrace.
Sun Hing Restaurant
Before you get started, fuel up at Sun Hing Restaurant since nothing gives you more of a Hong Kong welcome quite like the quintessential dim sum experience – affordably delicious Har Gow, Siew Mai, and the like in a nondescript restaurant. Pro tip: there isn’t much order to queuing and ordering, so be prepared to hunt for a table on your own.
Getting here: Sun Hing Restaurant is located at Shop C, G/F, Markfield Building, 8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town, Sai Wan. Sun Hing opens daily from 3am – 4pm.
Waffling Beans is a great pitstop for those looking for a boost – or just their daily fix of sugar and caffeine. On top of freshly made Belgian Liege Waffles, they also serve brunch favourites like Waffles Benedict and full English breakfasts along artisanal hand-dripped coffee.
Getting here: Waffling Beans is located at Shop 9, New Fortune House, 4-8 North St, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, p.+852 2855 8890. Open Tuesday-Thursday 12pm – 7pm, Friday 12pm – 10pm, and Saturday & Sunday 10am – 10pm.
Mexican-style cuisine with Japanese techniques and Hong Kong’s local produce? If you’re a fan of fusion food, it doesn’t get any closer than this. Try the Chipotle Dashi and Tortilla Soup (HKD68) or their Wagyu Beef Tacos (HKD78).
Getting here: CHINO is located at 1B-1C New Praya, on the corner of North Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, p+852 2606 0588. Opens from Tues-Sun, 6pm – 12am. Closed Mondays.
For a cosy night in, visit Kennedy Town’s neighbourhood pizzeria, Alvy’s. Think New York-style pizza with a Cantonese twist, like the Bak Gwei topped with gruyere béchamel, mozzarella and char siu for a touch of sweetness. Drinks include Hong Kong’s very own Young Master craft beers, cocktails, and the island’s most extensive collection of American-only craft whiskeys.
Getting here: Alvy’s is located at 8 Holland Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, p.+852 2312 2996. The nearest MTR Station is Hong Kong University, Exit C1. Opens Mon-Fri 4pm – 12am, Sat-Sun 11am – 12am.
The Tramline Liquor Co.
A purveyor of premium spirits, craft beer, and tonics located in the heart of Kennedy Town, and an impressive collection of wines from Europe, New Zealand and Australia, the Tramline Liquor Co lives up to their name. Great for grabbing a cold one before you explore the rest of Kennedy Town!
Getting here: The Tramline Liquor Co. is located at 78 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, p.+852 6908 4844.
A surprisingly photogenic neighbourhood and home to some of the best neighbourhood restaurants in Hong Kong, one can spend a day in Kennedy Town enjoying the best of city life and the great outdoors. What’s not to love?
Top image courtesy of Bernard Spragg.