A Travellerspoint blog

Stairway to Heaven .......

Well, Conduit Road, anyway.

semi-overcast

Hong Kong's Escalators.

Hong Kong's Escalators.

Walkway.

Walkway.

Hong Kong has the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system. It goes from Central to Mid-Levels, an uphill distance of over 800-metres. This system was originally opened in October 1993 and cost around HK$245 million to build. It is made up of twenty escalators and three moving walkways and it takes about twenty to twenty-five minutes to travel its entire length. The escalators travel downwards from Mid-Levels from 6am to 10am daily, so that commuters from the residential areas in Mid-Levels can reach their offices in Central. After 10am, the flow is reversed so that the escalators travel uphill until midnight to enable people to get back home.

The first section of escalators starts from outside Central Market and runs from Cochrane Street uphill to Wellington Street. The first area I got off to look at is a cluster of adjoining historical buildings, which now contain shops, restaurants, cultural venues and sites of historical interest. Together these buildings are known as Tai Kwun. One of these is the former Central Police Station Compound which dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. It was declared a national monument in 1995. Other historical buildings here are the Central Magistracy, one of the oldest surviving law court buildings in Hong Kong and the Victoria Prison Compound, which includes some of the earliest colonial buildings in Hong Kong, dating back to the mid nineteenth century. Nearby streets have names like Old Bailey Street and Chancery Lane.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

The Magistracy.

The Magistracy.

The entrance to the Magistracy.

The entrance to the Magistracy.

Victoria Prison.

Victoria Prison.

Victoria Prison.

Victoria Prison.

Victoria Prison.

Victoria Prison.

Victoria Prison.

Victoria Prison.

After looking around Tai Kwun, I went the other direction on Hollywood Road. Apparently Hollywood Road is named after Hollywood House in Bristol, England. This was the country estate of Sir John Francis Davis, the second governor of Hong Kong, though judging by the street art here some people took it more literally.

Street Art on Hollywood Road, Madera Hollywood Hotel.

Street Art on Hollywood Road, Madera Hollywood Hotel.

Street Art on Hollywood Road, Madera Hollywood Hotel.

Street Art on Hollywood Road, Madera Hollywood Hotel.

Hollywood Road is famous for its antique shops. These sell porcelain, sculptures, statues, Chinese furniture and rugs. I took a few photos, but was shooed away by one shop owner, maybe he thought I was casing the joint.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

Antiques on Hollywood Road.

At one time Hollywood Road was also famous for the manufacture of coffins, but the opening of the escalator system brought about an influx of visitors and eventually the gentrification of the area. When I was researching for this blog, I even found an article entitled 'From Coffins to Coffee' in reference to the multitude of cafes and bars that have sprung up here, in place of the coffin makers. There used to be many coffin shops on Hollywood Road , now there are just five. The name of such shops translated literally from Cantonese is apparently ' longevity shops', a kind of Chinese euphemism.

A Longevity Shop.

A Longevity Shop.

One of the best things to see on Hollywood road is the Man Mo Temple. This colourful temple was built in 1847. "Man" means civil and “Mo” means martial. The Man Mo Temple is dedicated to two Daoist deities: Man Chung - god of literature, and Kwan Kung - god of martial arts. I like this temple with its deer statues and huge coils of incense. Outside the temple there was an old rickshaw and lots of spring blossom, probably in preparation for Chinese New Year.

Rickshaw and Spring Blossom.

Rickshaw and Spring Blossom.

In Man Mo Temple.

In Man Mo Temple.

In Man Mo Temple.

In Man Mo Temple.

Deer Statue.

Deer Statue.

Burning Incense.

Burning Incense.

Altar.

Altar.

Incense Coils.

Incense Coils.

Altar.

Altar.

Incense Coils.

Incense Coils.

The next stretch of escalator from Hollywood Road upwards was under renovation, so instead of returning there from the Man Mo Temple, I looked at the street art on Tank Lane. Then climbed up the steep steps of Ladder Street towards the Museum of Medical Sciences. There were more examples of street art on route.

Anhao Wellness, yoga, Pilates and fitness centre on Ladder Street.

Anhao Wellness, yoga, Pilates and fitness centre on Ladder Street.

Street Art on Ladder Street. Brazilian artist, Alex Senna, depicts a drunk or homeless figure with a dog stretched out on the low wall.

Street Art on Ladder Street. Brazilian artist, Alex Senna, depicts a drunk or homeless figure with a dog stretched out on the low wall.

Street Art on Tank Lane, South Korean XEVA‘s Bruce Lee work has lasted since HKwalls2015.

Street Art on Tank Lane, South Korean XEVA‘s Bruce Lee work has lasted since HKwalls2015.

Street Art on Tank Lane.

Street Art on Tank Lane.

Street Art on Tank Lane.

Street Art on Tank Lane.

Street Art Outside a Cafe on Ladder Street.

Street Art Outside a Cafe on Ladder Street.

On the way I passed the YMCA on Bridges Street. This was built in 1918 in Chicago School Style. The premises included the first indoor swimming pool in Hong Kong. It also had a sports playground with a jogging track.

The Bridges Street Centre.

The Bridges Street Centre.

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences was built in response to an outbreak of plague in the nearby Tai Ping Shan area in 1894. The building was completed in 1906. It acted as a Bacteriological Institute. Originally there were three buildings. Nowadays only two remain. These buildings were declared a monument in 1990, then became a museum In 1995. At the moment due to Covid all museums in Hong Kong are closed, but I've been here before. I remember it having a particularly gruesome exhibition on foot binding. There was a church that I liked the look of near the museum. I found out later it was the The Church of Christ in China, also known as Hop Yat Church.

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Science.

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Science.

The Church of Christ in China Hop Yat Church.

The Church of Christ in China Hop Yat Church.

I passed other beautiful examples of street art, but of course, am not sure where I saw them. I also noticed the many steep lanes in this area and the trees that seemed to grow directly out of the walls.

Street Art on Square Street.

Street Art on Square Street.

Street Art.  Portrait by HK illustrator Neil Wang for HKwalls2018, a street art festival.

Street Art. Portrait by HK illustrator Neil Wang for HKwalls2018, a street art festival.

Street Art.

Street Art.

Brazilian,Alex Senna, joined the HKWalls 2018 team.

Brazilian,Alex Senna, joined the HKWalls 2018 team.

Steep Lanes.

Steep Lanes.

Steep Lanes.

Steep Lanes.

Trees grow out of nowhere.

Trees grow out of nowhere.

Trees grow out of nowhere.

Trees grow out of nowhere.

Trees grow out of nowhere.

Trees grow out of nowhere.

Next I walked to the Sun Yat-sen Museum. Of course, it was also closed, but again I have visited before. I remember being very impressed with the building itself. This museum is located in Kom Tong Hall at 7 Castle Road. The museum was opened in 2006 to commemorate the 140th birthday of the Chinese revolutionary leader, Dr Sun Yat-sen, who completed some of his schooling in Hong Kong. Sun Yat Sen was instrumental in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty during the Xinhai Revolution. Kom Tong Hall was built in 1914. It was named after its former owner, Ho Kom-tong, who was a younger brother of the prominent philanthropist Sir Robert Ho Tung, whose grave I saw recently in Happy Valley.

Dr Sun Yat Sen Museum.

Dr Sun Yat Sen Museum.

Dr Sun Yat Sen statue.

Dr Sun Yat Sen statue.

Then it was back on the escalators to my next stop at Rednaxela Terrace. I love the story of Rednaxela Terrace. This street was named after its original owner, a Mr Alexander, but while westerners read and write from left to write, Chinese people do so from right to left, so the street sign was accidentally transcribed backwards. They decided to keep the sign and just change the name of the street. Good idea, I think Rednaxela sounds lovely. This street is also known as the place where Jose Rizal once resided in Hong Kong. He is a national hero in the Philippines. His writings helped inspire the revolution against the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines.

what a great name!

what a great name!

Memorial to  Jose Rizal.

Memorial to Jose Rizal.

After a quick look at Rednaxela Terrace, it was back on the escalator again and on past Jamia Mosque which, because its gate was locked, was impossible to take a good picture of. Jamia Mosque is the oldest mosque in Hong Kong. It was built in 1890. Nearby streets are called Mosque street and Mosque Junction after it.

Escalator.

Escalator.

Jamia Mosque.

Jamia Mosque.

Jamia Mosque.

Jamia Mosque.

Jamia Mosque.

Jamia Mosque.

Jamia Mosque.

Jamia Mosque.

I hopped back on the escalators again and headed to Robinson Road which had some nice street art.

Riding Hong Kong's escalator system.

Riding Hong Kong's escalator system.

Street art on Robinson Road.

Street art on Robinson Road.

Street art on Robinson Road.

Street art on Robinson Road.

Street art on Robinson Road.

Street art on Robinson Road.

From Robinson Road I continued to the bitter end at Conduit Road, but there is really nothing to see on this stretch. It is just residential. I wanted to explore the old Chinese area near the Museum of Medical Sciences, but at the last minute decided I'd go back down the hill via the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens. I thought there would be fewer stairs that way, but it wasn't really a good choice as the road network down was quite confusing. Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens is quite a nice place with lots of plants and trees, an aviary, monkeys and meerkats. However, the mammal enclosures were shut due to covid and on this visit there wasn't a huge amount to see. There's a view over Government House from here and a statue of King George VI. This bronze statue was created by famous British sculptor Gilbert Ledward. It was erected here in 1958 to commemorate Hong Kong’s 100th anniversary from 1842 to 1941.

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Statue of King George VI in Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Statue of King George VI in Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.

Posted by irenevt 07:45 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

I love those big monkeys sitting among the flowers! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, they were the only monkeys I could see the others were locked away due to Covid. Still they take a good photo.

by irenevt

I think this is my favourite of all your day trips around Hong Kong to date! I love all the street art (especially the first one on Tank Street) and the story about Rednaxela Terrace is lovely :) The rees growing out of nowhere (or should that be everywhere?!) are cool too - like a metropolitan Angkor Thom!

by ToonSarah

I must admit the Rednaxela part made me laugh. I loved the fact they just changed the name, rather than paid for another sign. I certainly hope it's true and not an urban myth. Most of the art comes from a festival called Hong Kong Walls. I wasn't even aware of this festival before writing up my blog.

by irenevt

Love the street art.

by littlesam1

I hadn't realised how much street art Hong Kong has and I've still to go to the area that's got most of it. Hoping to go there on Friday.

by irenevt

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