A Travellerspoint blog

Just Talking Rubbish.

A trip to Kennedy Town.

sunny

Sign in the MTR.

Sign in the MTR.

Yesterday I went to Kennedy Town, the westernmost point of the tramline on Hong Kong Island and nowadays also the westernmost point on the Island Line of the MTR. Like Sai Ying Pun, which I visited last week, Kennedy Town is currently going through a process of gentrification. It's just not quite so far along in its transformation.

Kennedy Town is named after Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy, the seventh governor, who served in Hong Kong for five years from 1872 to 1877. He was responsible for reclaiming the coastal strip of land that forms Kennedy Town in 1886.

However, long before it was called Kennedy Town, this area had a less pleasant name. It was known as Lap Sap Wan, or Rubbish Bay, because it was the dumping ground for everything the rest of Hong Kong did not want.

Historically Kennedy Town was a bit isolated from the other parts of Hong Kong Island, being right out on the island's extreme west. As well as being home to rubbish dumps, with the chimneys of their huge incinerators belching out smoke, Kennedy Town also had abattoirs devoted to turning squealing pigs into barbecue pork and crunchy pork chops. In 1894 when Hong Kong went through a terrible plague, those suffering from it were frequently brought to plague hospitals here. If they did not survive, they did not have too far to travel, as this was also the location of Hong Kong's public mortuary. Many of the 3500 victims of this plague would have ended up there. Over time many factories and small family businesses developed in Kennedy Town, especially on Rock Hill Street and Belcher’s Street. Kennedy Town was a gritty, dirty, very working class, down to earth neighbourhood.

When I arrived in Kennedy Town, I checked to see if its MTR station also had some artworks. I found out it had pictures of various sights that can be found here and a sculpture shaped like an apple cut in to two halves.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

I left the MTR station through exit B as I first planned to visit Kennedy Town's most famous temple. This is called Lo Pan Temple. It dates from 1884 and is the only temple in Hong Kong dedicated to builders, carpenters and contractors. Apparently people come here to pray before they have work done on their houses. To reach the temple I had to climb up many stairs, as the temple is situated up a hill and at the end of a pleasant and quiet street known as Chi Lin Terrace. The most famous thing to see in the temple are its wall paintings. The attendant at the temple, who looked about three hundred years old, was very unfriendly and stared at me like I was an alien from another planet. I tried talking to him to see if this would make him slightly friendlier, it didn't, so I just ignored him and looked around anyway.

Climbing up stairs to the temple.

Climbing up stairs to the temple.

Lo Pan Temple.

Lo Pan Temple.

Doorway with wall paintings above it.

Doorway with wall paintings above it.

Bell and Drum.

Bell and Drum.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

After visiting the temple I walked back downhill, I soon reached one of the streets that trams pass along and stopped to take some pictures of these.

Tram.

Tram.

Tram.

Tram.

The next place I visited was Belcher's Bay Park. This is a pleasant park with lots of greenery, children's play areas and sitting out areas. Apparently the park was designed on the theme of sea navigation. It is decorated with four pretend lighthouses. These are made from old acetylene gas operated lanterns which were in service in the Tathong Channel for more than twenty-five years. The park was especially popular with Kennedy Town's elderly residents who come here to play board games, stroll or sit in the shade. This got me thinking a bit about the changes that are happening here. Although the area is becoming much nicer, which is good, I hope it's original inhabitants will still be able to live here and not be driven out by escalating rents.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Belcher's Bay Park.

Sitting out area.

Sitting out area.

Pretend lighthouse.

Pretend lighthouse.

After visiting the park, I had a choice, I wanted to visit a place nicknamed Instagram Pier and the Sai Wan Swimming Shed. They were in opposite directions I decided only to visit the Sai Wan Swimming Shed and leave the other sight for later.

To get to Sai Wan Swimming Shed, I walked along Victoria Road. Kennedy Town doesn't seem to have much in the way of street art like the other areas I've visited recently. Well at least not in the part I was in. I found only one example.

Street Art.

Street Art.

Street Art.

Street Art.

I wasn't sure exactly where the Sai Wan Swimming Shed was, though I did know it was opposite Green Island and a second smaller island. Eventually I noticed a gateway to an area with a green fence and steps down towards the sea. It had a sign on it in Chinese but not English. I took a chance on it and fortunately it was correct.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed is around fifty years old and is thought to be Hong Kong’s last swimming shed. It used to be a place for swimmers to change into their bathing suits before braving the stormy waters of Victoria Harbour. Nowadays it is filled, and I do mean filled, with people taking photographs to put on Instagram. There was actually a queue of people waiting for their turn to step on to the little pier here to take pictures. I did not join the queue; I just photographed the pier from above. At first the sea here looked quite placid, but every time a boat passed by the water went crazy. I think if you did try swimming here you would be thrown against the rocks. I've read that this place is even busier at sunset, as that's when you can get the most beautiful shots. Most people were queueing in pairs. One would pose, while the other photographed them then they'd swap roles. One woman even queued to take pictures of her dog posing on the pier. Not sure if he took her!!! Haha!!!

Looking down on the pier.

Looking down on the pier.

Looking down on the pier.

Looking down on the pier.

The pier with Green Island in the background.

The pier with Green Island in the background.

A Lovers' Tryst.

A Lovers' Tryst.

A Lovers'Tryst.

A Lovers'Tryst.

Stormy waters after a boat passes.

Stormy waters after a boat passes.

Instagram your dog.

Instagram your dog.

Fishing down on the front.

Fishing down on the front.

Fishing down on the front.

Fishing down on the front.

Green Island which is now a drug rehabilitation centre and Little Green Island which is uninhabited..

Green Island which is now a drug rehabilitation centre and Little Green Island which is uninhabited..

Islands and boats.

Islands and boats.

Personally, and it may just be me, but I loved the shed itself much more than the pier. It was made of corrugated iron painted a beautiful shade of green. It had beautiful windows and mirrors hanging on its outer walls.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

It also had a lovely flower filled garden, with little steps, bamboo and potted plants and a fish tank filled with chubby fish.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Flower filled garden.

Flower filled garden.

Flower filled garden.

Flower filled garden.

Flower filled garden.

Flower filled garden.

Flower filled garden.

Flower filled garden.

Stairway.

Stairway.

There's something relaxing about watching fish swim.

There's something relaxing about watching fish swim.

There's something relaxing about watching fish swim.

There's something relaxing about watching fish swim.

Also all around the shed there were little shrines to various gods and goddesses. These were very well tended and cared for.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

I then began my climb back up the steps only to find the people in front of me dressed up to the nines in their designer clothes were having another Instagram photo session on the steps, so I had to queue to get out of there. Fortunately, I was in a good mood, normally I'm not quite so patient.

The climb back up.

The climb back up.

Instagram on the stairs.

Instagram on the stairs.

I then headed back to Kennedy Town. I stopped to investigate a little shrine I had noticed on the way to the swimming shed. Unfortunately, it was closed.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Then as always I could not resist taking photos of the trees that were growing out of walls. These seem to be everywhere in Hong Kong and while I'm not normally a fan of Hong Kong's high rise buildings, here I really liked them. I think it was something to do with the space between them. You can't tell from my picture but there were sea eagles circling the tops of the blocks. It was quite mesmerising. I also noted all the washing out to dry, not sure why I always like that but I do.

Roots.

Roots.

Roots.

Roots.

I believe I can touch the sky.

I believe I can touch the sky.

I believe I can touch the sky.

I believe I can touch the sky.

I believe I can touch the sky.

I believe I can touch the sky.

Hung out to dry.

Hung out to dry.

Hung out to dry.

Hung out to dry.

As I made my way back to the MTR, I passed through an area lined with restaurants, cafes and bars, a sure sign that gentrification is well on its way.

Everything that could have got in the way of this shot got in the way of this shot, but I still like it .

Everything that could have got in the way of this shot got in the way of this shot, but I still like it .

Restaurants.

Restaurants.

Thai restaurants.

Thai restaurants.

Cafes and Craft Beer.

Cafes and Craft Beer.

Cafes.

Cafes.

Trendy Kennedy Town is known as K - town.

Trendy Kennedy Town is known as K - town.

Once I got back home there were sure signs in my lobby that Chinese New Year is on the way, too.

Chinese New Year is on the way.

Chinese New Year is on the way.

Posted by irenevt 09:56 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

I think your pictures from the above are better than the ones what would have been taken from the pier! :) Didn't you take pictures of the shed?

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna I accidentally pressed publish when I meant to press save as draft when I was only half way through this blog. Oops!!

by irenevt

I liked the pier better than the shed but that's because of the water. It was so clear.

by Beausoleil

The whole place was pretty photogenic Henze the crowds queueing to do photos.

by irenevt

Hi Irene,
Interesting blog, nice photos to go with it, you always deliver. Makes me want to go to Hong Kong (which I would have been already if it hasn't been for me being so ill in 2019 the night before we were going to fly there and then the pandemic in 2020 which put a stop to it!) but never say never.
Thanks for lifting my spirit today

by MAd4travel

Hi Anne, of course noone is travelling now but at the moment you need a Hong Kong passport or HK i.d. to come here. I suppose it will get back to normal at some point. I'm beginning to enjoy sightseeing here, but to be honest for most of my time in Hong Kong I have found everywhere too built up and too crowded and I have usually been happy to get out of it.

by irenevt

I really like that apple sculpture and the temple looks fascinating despite the grumpy attendant. I can see what you mean about preferring the shed to the pier - it certainly looks more photogenic. I don't really get this queuing to take a photo of someone as I ten to prefer my photos either with no one in them, or with someone who 'belongs' in the scene like your fisherman. People were doing it at Ta Prohm to pose in front of the famous 'Tomb Raider' tree, but just around the corner there were loads of photogenic trees and no one taking photos or posing at all!!

by ToonSarah

That makes sense, I was thinking that it was odd that you would like the shed but didn't take any pictures of it..:)

Those clothes drying makes me think early 90's action movies, the good guy is chasing the bad guy on the street and clothes are flapping as they go by..:)

by hennaonthetrek

Yes I must admit I dislike queueing. I'll do it if I have to, like for passport control or public transport or for the loo, but certainly not for taking a photo. Still plenty to photograph in the world that doesn't require waiting in line.

by irenevt

Irene, You never talk rubbish ! GREAT PICTURES AGAIN. Alec.

by alectrevor

Hi Alec, you obviously haven't heard me after a few glasses of wine on a Friday night. Hope all is good with you.

by irenevt

Hi Henna glad you came back and found the rest of the blog, only just saw your second comment. All the best,Irene

by irenevt

Had to, I was curious about the shed ;)

by hennaonthetrek

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