Ghetto At The Centre Of Hong Kong

Would you believe that Hong Kong is only a quick two hour bus ride from mainland China? When we arrived at our destination, Chungking Mansions, it was more like the type of cultural melting pot you would expect to find in London, not Chinese territory.

World famous and notoriously dubbed ‘ghetto at the centre of the earth’ Chungking Mansions is home to more than 80 guest houses over 14 floors, as well as dozens of drug dealers, petty criminals, scammers and illegal immigrants, I’m sure they are some decent people in there somewhere. The word ‘mansions’ is ironic as I’ve never stayed in a smaller room in my life. We’re woken in the morning by the sound of a pneumatic breaker or a washing machine bouncing around the corridor outside. These are all the reasons why Chungking mansions is the cheapest place to get a room in Hong Kong, a city with limited floor space and high rent.


There are many people from all corners of the world in Chungking Mansions and i’m not the first to note, that it really is like the cantina from Star Wars, only here, the force is not with me. Every time I enter the building through the main entrance, or even when just walking past, you’re bombarded with ‘suit sir, suit friend, taylor suit, nice watch, fake hand bags, hash, need room, coke, anything?’… The touts outside see you as nothing more than a wallet on legs. And seriously though, if you wanted a suit fitted surely you would go looking for one, not just decide you need one because some kretin from the street whispered it in your ear? Try to joke with them, like I have done, by saying things like… ‘What about gimp suits, got any of them?’ This will only aggravate them more. No matter how many times you walk past they won’t recognised your face and will never give up, so be prepared for a gauntlet every time you go through the door. Either way, Chungking Mansions is an experience and for the price of the rooms, you really can’t complain. So for budget travellers the ‘Mansions’ is Hong Kong’s best (or only) choice of accommodation. It also houses many shops, money changers and restaurants dotted all over the rabbit warren building. So just to clear the record, ‘I don’t want a suit, I’m not your friend, who is Taylor? If I wanted a watch I would ask, why would I need a handbag, I don’t smoke, you’ve just watched me walk out of my room so why are you asking if I need one?! And, I defiantly don’t want any coke, especially not from you’…more on Hong Kong to follow…

Categories: China, Hong Kong | Leave a comment

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