Hong Kong/Central

Hong Kong Island skyline

Central is a district of Hong Kong Island. It is the political, administrative and financial hub and home to some fantastic skyscrapers and Victoria Peak.

Understand

The area's proximity to Victoria Harbour led it to become an early centre of trade and finance. Today it remains Hong Kong's administrative centre.

Orientation

Central in this guide means the administrative district of Central and Western. It includes the following neighbourhoods that are either in or close to the Central Business District:

Further afield, you might explore:

Get in

By boat

Due to a land reclamation and waterfront redevelopment project in Central/Admiralty, access to the ferries can be a little confusing - take heed of signs warning about the ever-shifting arrangements.

The Transport Department provides an online directory of Hong Kong's ferry services.

By bus

For details of cross-harbour buses, see Hong Kong#Get_in.

Bus fares range from $8.90-11.10 for routes linking the urban areas in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Some routes to remote places have higher fares.

By MTR

Central is the end of the Tsuen Wan Line and is on the The Island Line.

By airport express train

If coming from the airport, the Hong Kong station on the Airport Express is in Central.

By tram

The tram serves Hong Kong Island from Shau Kei Wan (筲箕灣) in East Hong Kong Island to Kennedy Town in the far west.

See

Landmarks

The Cenotaph. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is almost identical to the London Cenotaph.

Museums and exhibitions

Parks and nature

Victoria Peak

The Peak Tower: close to the highest point on the island, the views on a clear day make this an essential part of every tourist's itinerary.

Get a great view of Hong Kong from the giant wok-shaped Peak Tower on Victoria Peak, one of the highest points on the island, as long as the air is clear – it can be obscured by air pollution or cloud. Views of the natural landscape are a stark contrast to views down in the city. The Peak Tower is not only an observation platform, it and the Peak Galleria are full of souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants with spectacular views. There are also some museums and viewing galleries.

From the dawn of British colonisation, the Peak hosted the most exclusive neighbourhood for the territory's richest residents, where local Chinese weren't permitted to live until after World War II. The rich were carried to the Peak in their sedan chairs to escape the summer heat.

Since 1888 the Peak Tram ($28 one way, $40 return) has run directly up from Garden Rd in Central. It stops at the bottom of the Peak Tower. It makes a few stops on the way, so it is possible to go half-way and hike the winding roads on the sloping geography. To get to the start of the tram, follow the signs for ten minutes from Central Station, or bus number 15C runs regularly from the Star Ferry pier. A more picturesque, cheaper and slower way of reaching the Peak is by taking bus 15 (not 15C) from the Star Ferry pier in Central. Not only is it cheaper at $9.80 but, as the bus snakes up the mountain, you can enjoy beautiful views of both sides of Hong Kong Island and passing the territory's priciest neighbourhoods. You can also walk to the Peak from Mid-Levels along Old Peak Road.

The observation deck of the Peak Tower offers panoramic views of both sides of the island but there are a number of nice walks around the Peak Tower that also offer good, but less panoramic, views (getting out is not intuitive as the exits are by design not well-signed; they are located on the ends of the ground floor), One of them is the Lion Pavilion Lookout on Findley Road, about one minute walk from The Peak Tower. You will be able to catch a laser show at 8PM every night. On sunny days, you can find an old man outside the pavilion, offering rickshaw rides along Findley Road. A 10-minute ride costs $100.

For the best views and to get away from the crowds, there is a circular walk along Lugard Rd and Harlech Rd. From Lugard Rd there are views of the skyscrapers of Central and Victoria Harbour. From Harlech Rd, the views are of Lamma and other Outlying Islands. The walk takes around an hour.

From Harlech Rd, you can hike into the Lung Fu Shan Country Park and explore the relics of World War 2.

Other

Do

Buy

Eat

Central is a world-class place to eat, with prices to match. Although Downtown Hong Kong has a reputation for posh nosh, travellers on a budget will not starve if they are careful. When it comes to food, Central justifiably feels like ‘Asia’s World City’ and has the full range of Chinese cuisines punctuated by restaurants from around the world. There is even a British-style fish and chip shop.

Eateries are found across Central and if you wander, perhaps looking for evidence of its colonial past, you can trust serendipity to stumble upon somewhere interesting to eat. If you are lost, the famous escalator will guide you past some of the best restaurants and will take you up the mountain to Soho. Soho (Staunton and Elgin Street) is a focus for mid-range and more expensive places to dine. Drinkers will find that the bars of Lan Kwai Fong provide a good range of international food. Adjacent to Lan Kwai Fong is ‘Rat Alley’ (Wing Wah Lane) where a selection of cheaper restaurants can be found. Despite the nickname, Wing Wah Lane is a popular place to eat, and has the advantage of having some places to sit outside in a car-free street.

The IFC shopping mall has a roof terrace where you will find a choice of bars and restaurants. Technically the roof is public open space, here you can eat and drink outdoors with a view of Victoria Harbour.

Budget

Mid-range

Central

Lan Kwai Fong

Sheung Wan

Soho

The Peak

Kennedy Town

Splurge

Drink

Lan Kwai Fong at night

Lan Kwai Fong

If you want good food, a party atmosphere, or just to people watch, head to Hong Kong's traditional expat hangout of Lan Kwai Fong, a few blocks uphill from Central MTR. Dozens of bars sell pricey drinks: even basic beer costs $50 and up. The 7-Eleven store sells beer and mixed drinks much more cheaply than the bars - and the staff will even open the bottles for you. There is always something going on in The Fong, be it street festivals during the Halloween and New Year's celebrations or the Beer and Food Festivals that pop up in the summer.

Soho

Jump on the Mid-Levels escalator, and you'll find plenty of bars and restaurants on your way up the hill on Hollywood Rd, Staunton St and Elgin St:

Elsewhere

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

The IFC mall above Hong Kong station provides free wifi. The large Apple store inside the IFC also provides free wifi, as well as Apple computers to surf the internet with.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, February 21, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.