Starting at Tai Yuen Street and (1) Hennessy Road (near exit A3 of the Wan Chai MTR stop), go into the into the street market, which runs the length of Tai Yuen over to Queen's Road West. The streets around the market are a mix of decades-old lowrises and newer skyscrapers. Walk through to Queen's Road, which is now a busy thoroughfare but was once on the waterfront.
At Queen's Road, make a right and go to the next street crossing to get to the other side. Then double back for about a block to reach the green and white (2) Old Wan Chai Post Office (221 Queen's Road East). The building dates to 1912 or 1913, and an entrance on the Queen's Road side is worth taking. See the old mailboxes, though the building is no longer a post office.
Continue along Queen's Road East to Stone Nullah Lane. At the top of the lane is a small public park, to the left of which is the (3) Pak Tai Temple. Behind a tree-lined courtyard is an elaborate warren of rooms, the main one housing a nine-foot-high deity dating to 1604. Come back down Stone Nullah Lane until you reach a four-story (4) Blue House (72 Stone Nullah Lane). Amid Wan Chai's high-rises, this 1920s building has been declared a monument. "One of the few remaining balconied tenements on Hong Kong Island," says Pete Spurrier, author of the Leisurely Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong. "Most of urban Hong Kong once looked like this." Step inside to see a display of old household objects, menus, ticket stubs, and photos documenting life in Wan Chai.
Cross Queen's Road East and turn to your right. The curving white building with the large entrance is the (5) Wan Chai Market (264 Queen's Road East), a 1930s Art Moderne building slated for demolition, though a small number of vegetable sellers are still there for now.
Continue along Queen's Road and cross it to reach a blue (6) Sikh temple (371 Queen's Road East). As the road curves right onto Wong Nai Chung, cemeteries will appear on the right. The first is the (7) Muslim Cemetery, followed by (8) one for Catholics, then the largest, (9) Hong Kong Cemetery, reserved mostly for Protestants, and lastly, the (10) Parsee Cemetery. Burial plots date to the mid-1800s. "Wandering around the cemeteries gives you a good insight into how cosmopolitan Hong Kong has been," says Spurrier. Following Wong Nai Chung halfway around the Happy Valley Racecourse, you will reach what is the (11) terminus for one of the tram lines. End the walk by sampling some traditional Chinese desserts at Lotus Garden Desserts on nearby (12) Sing Woo Road (Ground Floor, 51A adn 61 Sing Woo Road). Or continue along the road around the racetrack into the heart of the Causeway Bay Shopping and Dining District.
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.