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Wandering Around A Sharp Sandy Point.

Exploring Tsim Sha Tsui.

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Yesterday I headed off to Tsim Sha Tsui with the intention of visiting the Macallan Whisky, 'Anecdotes of Ages' Exhibition which is currently being advertised in Central MTR. Of course, being me, I ended up not going to the exhibition at all, but I still had a very interesting day. I set out early, arriving before the exhibition even opened, and took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui Station.

Tsim Sha Tsui translates as Sharp Sandy Point. It is located on a peninsula on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour. In the early nineteenth century this was largely a quiet area consisting of several small fishing villages. Then in 1860, when the Chinese were defeated in the Second Opium Wars, Kowloon became part of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong and life there began to change. At first Kowloon was only accessible from Hong Kong Island by sampan, but when the Star Ferry Company was created, it became vastly more accessible. A few years after the advent of the Star Ferry, the terminus of the Kowloon Canton Railway was built in Tsim Sha Tsui close to the quayside. This brought in large numbers of visitors and Tsim Sha Tsui developed more and more.

I began my wanderings around Tsim Sha Tsui at Kowloon Park. This was once the site of the Whitfield Army Barracks which were built for the British Army's Indian garrisons. At the edge of the park, also on the site of the former barracks, stands the Kowloon Mosque. This was located here, because most of the soldiers in the Indian garrisons were Moslem.

The first Kowloon Mosque was built in 1896 and this was used as a place of worship for more than eighty years. Then in 1976, construction work for the nearby MTR line severely damaged the mosque, making it a dangerous, unstable structure and it had to be demolished. A new mosque had to be built. This was officially opened in 1984. It cost HK$25 million and was big enough to accommodate three thousand five hundred worshippers.

Kowloon Mosque.

Kowloon Mosque.

Kowloon Mosque.

Kowloon Mosque.

The Whitfield Barracks were named after Henry Wase Whitfield, the commander of the British Army in Hong Kong. The barracks date from the 1890's. At its height there were eighty-nine barrack blocks located here. Today only four of these buildings still remain and the rest of the area has been developed into, what is in my opinion, one of Hong Kong's loveliest parks. Former Barrack Blocks S61 and S62 date from 1910 and are now home to the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre. Block S4 located next to the mosque is now the Health Education Exhibition and Resources Centre and Block S58 is used as a storage area for the Hong Kong Museum of History.

I had a look around the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, though I must admit I was more interested in the building than the exhibits, but that's just me. The museum had lots of pottery and other artefacts.

Heritage Museum Building.

Heritage Museum Building.

Heritage Museum Building.

Heritage Museum Building.

Staircase with Gas Lamps from Duddell Street, Central, Heritage Museum.

Staircase with Gas Lamps from Duddell Street, Central, Heritage Museum.

Pottery In the Heritage Museum.

Pottery In the Heritage Museum.

Pottery Fragments under a Glass Floor, Heritage Museum.

Pottery Fragments under a Glass Floor, Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

After wandering around the museum, I wandered around the park. I love Kowloon Park. It has huge trees that look like they have been there since the days of the dinosaurs. It has a bird lake filled with elegant pink flamingos. It has a hilltop aviary, ponds, fountains, a flower filled colour garden, a totem pole and a sculpture garden. Even when it is busy here, it still feels spacious and it is peaceful even though it is in the middle of a huge urban sprawl.

Colour Garden and Barracks used for storage, Kowloon Park.

Colour Garden and Barracks used for storage, Kowloon Park.

Colour Garden, Kowloon Park.

Colour Garden, Kowloon Park.

Close up of Flowers.

Close up of Flowers.

Chinese Garden, Kowloon Park.

Chinese Garden, Kowloon Park.

Chinese Garden.

Chinese Garden.

Old trees.

Old trees.

Bridge over Bird Lake.

Bridge over Bird Lake.

Flamingos in Bird Lake.

Flamingos in Bird Lake.

Former Barracks that are now the centre for health.

Former Barracks that are now the centre for health.

In the Sculpture Garden, Kowloon Park.

In the Sculpture Garden, Kowloon Park.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Love Fountain.

Love Fountain.

Parrots in Aviary.

Parrots in Aviary.

Totem Pole.

Totem Pole.

On leaving the park, I strolled down Nathan Road. To my amazement, and I still don't understand it myself, it was largely empty with hardly any pedestrians and almost no traffic. Is this due to the absence of tourists? I really don't know. I was actually reluctant to go to Tsim Sha Tsui as it's always swarming with people and this time it wasn't crowded at all. I wanted a picture of Nathan Road's famous sign boards, but even these were largely missing.

Nathan Road.

Nathan Road.

Nathan Road.

Nathan Road.

I wandered into the famous, or should I say notorious, Chung King Mansions. This seventeen storey building opened in 1961 and was originally the tallest building in Tsim Sha Tsui. Chung King Mansions is a cultural melting pot with many Indian and African residents. It is well known for cheap accommodation and, if you know where to go, very good Indian food. We used to eat here quite a lot with friends, but that was years ago, and I must admit, I would not know where to go now. I only looked around the ground floor which was filled with money exchangers and food stalls. The money exchangers had long lines of Filipinas in front of them.

Outside Chung King Mansions.

Outside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

On my way to Chung King Mansions, I noticed the K11 Musea building down a side street. This is where the Macallan exhibition was being held, but I was really surprised as I had thought it was closer to the waterfront. Anyway I went inside and looked around. K11 Musea is a mixture of shopping centre and art gallery. It was quite interesting inside, but there was no sign of the exhibition. I know I could have gone and asked, but I just thought, 'Oh well. Never mind.' Later I found out this was a different K11 Musea. It mainly had ordinary shops, restaurants and some artwork.

Murals outside the first K11 Musea.

Murals outside the first K11 Musea.

Restaurant K11 Musea.

Restaurant K11 Musea.

Restaurant, K11 Musea.

Restaurant, K11 Musea.

Hello Kitty, K11 Musea.

Hello Kitty, K11 Musea.

We Wear stories, K11 Musea.

We Wear stories, K11 Musea.

Arty Clock K11 Musea.

Arty Clock K11 Musea.

Arty Shop, K11 Musea.

Arty Shop, K11 Musea.

Next I wandered into the world famous Peninsula Hotel which originally opened in 1928. It was built by the Kadoorie family, a wealthy British family of Mizrahi Jews from Baghdad. The Peninsula's aim in those days was to be ' the finest hotel east of Suez'. The Peninsula was located next to the Kowloon Canton Railway Terminus which was the final stop on the Trans-Siberian railway. It was also next to a harbour where luxury cruise ships docked. It attracted a rich and famous clientele. Guests have included: Roger Moore, Princess Margaret, Elton John, Ronald Reagan, Roman Polanski, Warren Beatty, the King and Queen of Nepal, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Carey Grant, Tennessee Williams and many others.

On a rather gloomier note, it was here that on Christmas Day 1941, the British surrendered to the Japanese Army who took control of Hong Kong for the next four years, using the Peninsula Hotel as their wartime headquarters. In 1994, a thirty-storey tower was added to the hotel building.

The lobby at The Peninsula is world famous for its luxurious afternoon teas and the Felix Bar at the top of the building has the world’s best view from a urinal, apparently as a female I'm not allowed in. I wandered around the lobby and for the first time noted that there was actually lots of room here to come for afternoon tea. Normally there is a queue a mile long.

The Peninsula Hotel. The white done in front of it is the space museum.

The Peninsula Hotel. The white done in front of it is the space museum.

Afternoon Tea at Peninsula Hotel.

Afternoon Tea at Peninsula Hotel.

Stairway in Peninsula Hotel.

Stairway in Peninsula Hotel.

Old Kowloon Canton Railway and Peninsula Hotel Picture.

Old Kowloon Canton Railway and Peninsula Hotel Picture.

Poster Outside Peninsula Hotel.

Poster Outside Peninsula Hotel.

On leaving the Peninsula I noticed across the street there was a second K11 Musea Building. This was much more where I had expected it to be. I crossed the road next to the Cultural Centre, Space Museum and Hong Kong Museum of Art. These are all built on the site of the former Kowloon Canton Railway. They are very futuristic in design.

Sculpture Near Cultural Museum.

Sculpture Near Cultural Museum.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Then I went to the correct K11 Musea Building. This building was amazing. I hate shopping and I'm not very interested in shopping malls, but this was a work of art. It reminded me of the themed shopping malls in Dubai. I spent a long time here photographing everything and this was where the exhibition I wanted to visit was located, but in front of it there was an enormous queue. I hate queueing and I won't do it unless I absolutely have to so I gave the exhibition a miss. There were plenty of other things to do.

K11 Musea.

K11 Musea.

Lego Bear Outside K11 Musea.

Lego Bear Outside K11 Musea.

Entrance Sign K11 Musea.

Entrance Sign K11 Musea.

Inside the Entrance, K11 Musea.

Inside the Entrance, K11 Musea.

Atrium K11 Musea.

Atrium K11 Musea.

K11 Musea.

K11 Musea.

Glass Ball K11 Musea.

Glass Ball K11 Musea.

Inside a Shop.

Inside a Shop.

Inside a Shop, K11 Musea.

Inside a Shop, K11 Musea.

Inside a Shop.

Inside a Shop.

Posing with Murals.

Posing with Murals.

Posing with Murals, K11 Musea.

Posing with Murals, K11 Musea.

Weird Sculpture.

Weird Sculpture.

Seating Area, K11 Musea.

Seating Area, K11 Musea.

Macallan Whisky Shop, K11 Musea.

Macallan Whisky Shop, K11 Musea.

Queue outside Anecdotes of Ages Exhibition.

Queue outside Anecdotes of Ages Exhibition.

Rose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

Rose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

Nose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

Nose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

I just discovered the disgusting green stuff hanging out of this nose are the stems of roses. You can pick one if you spend $1500 inside the mall.

I exited K11 Musea onto the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterside Promenade. This is famous for great harbour views and for the Avenue of Stars which was closed for refurbishment for a long time. I realized I had not been since it reopened. Facing the waterfront, I first headed left towards Hung Hom. There were some interesting sculptures outside K11 Musea itself. Then I arrived at a statue of Anita Mui and nearby one of Bruce Lee. After these statues I went up to Signal Hill with its old signal tower and found several more statues related to the film industry.

I then re-traced my steps back down to the waterfront and headed right towards Tsim Sha Tsui. There were several famous people's handprints on the rails bordering the harbour. These included Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Raymond Chow and John Woo. There was even a statue of McDull a popular pig cartoon character created by cartoonists Alice Mak and Brian Tse. Next to the statue are Mc Dull's paw prints. When I arrived back at the art museum I paused to look at a statue symbolising the Hong Kong Film Awards. This statue is six metres high and depicts the Hong Kong Film Award statuette presented to winners, a Hong Kong equivalent to the Oscars.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Jackie Chan Handprints and Views.

Jackie Chan Handprints and Views.

John Woo Handprints and Views.

John Woo Handprints and Views.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Anita Mui.

Anita Mui.

Anita Mui.

Anita Mui.

McDull.

McDull.

McDull Handprints and Views.

McDull Handprints and Views.

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee.

Walkway from Garden of the Stars.

Walkway from Garden of the Stars.

Walkway and Harbour View.

Walkway and Harbour View.

Promenade outside K11 Musea.

Promenade outside K11 Musea.

Next I walked back to Salisbury Road where the Peninsula Hotel is located, passing by some interesting sculptures outside the cultural centre. I then crossed the road and visited Heritage 1881, a luxury hotel, restaurant and shopping complex located in the former headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police and the grounds of the former Hong Kong Observatory. The headquarters of the marine police actually date from 1884. This building was a police headquarters until 1996. At one time there would have been pirates locked up in the prison cells here. The same compound is also home to the Old Kowloon Fire Station which was built in the early 1920's.

Heritage 1881.

Heritage 1881.

Courtyard at Heritage 1881.

Courtyard at Heritage 1881.

Heritage 1881.

Heritage 1881.

Stained Glass Windows and Chairs.

Stained Glass Windows and Chairs.

Long Verandah and Ceiling Fans.

Long Verandah and Ceiling Fans.

Children and Signal Gun.

Children and Signal Gun.

Flame Trees.

Flame Trees.

Old Kowloon Fire Station.

Old Kowloon Fire Station.

Signal Tower and Cultural Centre.

Signal Tower and Cultural Centre.

Signal Tower.

Signal Tower.

I then recrossed Salisbury Road to view the clock tower of the former terminus of the Kowloon Canton Railway. This is all that remains of the terminal building which dated from 1915.

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower.

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower.

Clock Tower

Clock Tower

Finally, I boarded a star ferry back to Central to catch my ferry back to Discovery Bay. Ferries between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon began in 1888 when Parsee merchant, Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, founded the Kowloon Ferry Company. In 1889 Sir Catchick Paul Chater purchased this company and renamed it the Star Ferry Company. It is still going strong today and was the first step many years ago in opening up Tsim Sha Tsui to the world.

Star Ferry. Each one is called something Star, this one is World Star.

Star Ferry. Each one is called something Star, this one is World Star.

Star Ferry Company.

Star Ferry Company.

Posted by irenevt 05:17 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Fun sounding name, Tsim Sha Tsui :) You did a lot of walking again! Many great photos! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, This area is normally heaving with crowds of people. It was enjoyable to have it almost entirely to myself.

by irenevt

As for the name, many non- Chinese speakers find it hard to say so it's often just called TST.

by irenevt

Loved the dramatic cloud behind the second of your Hong Kong Film Awards Statue photos. You had great clouds that day.

The Kowloon Sculpture Garden was lovely. It's fun to follow your adventures.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally,

yes it was a very cloudy day threatening rain, but rain never came. It's scarcely stopped raining ever since though!!! At least that's cooled the place down a bit.

All the best, Irene

by irenevt

Great pictures as usual. Thanks a lot. The tree trunks scare me. Stay safe. Alec

by alectrevor

Hi Alec, I like the trees with all the hanging roots. Things seem to grow well here. They're certainly getting enough rain at the moment.

by irenevt

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