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Death in Happy Valley.

sunny

Our hotel stay included breakfast so we began our day with that. Due to covid they were doing a semi-buffet breakfast. That means you preorder most of your food to be brought to your table rather than getting it yourself. Breakfast was ok. The best part was the coffee.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Breakfast in the hotel.

After breakfast I had a quick wander round Wan Chai including visits Wan Chai Park which was quite pleasant. I walked past Queen's Café which was established in Hong Kong in 1952 by Mischa Yu. He trained in Shanghai under White Russian master chef Kurilov in the 1920s. He moved to Hong Kong and opened his cafe in the same year that Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, hence his cafe's name. Some scenes from Wong Ka Wai's film "Days Of Being Wild" were filmed here.

Wan Chai Street.

Wan Chai Street.

Roof garden, Wan Chai.

Roof garden, Wan Chai.

Roof garden,Wan Chai.

Roof garden,Wan Chai.

Wan Chai Shop.

Wan Chai Shop.

Queen's Cafe.

Queen's Cafe.

Wan Chai Fire Station.

Wan Chai Fire Station.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

Wan Chai Park.

After a quick look at Wan Chai, I jumped on a tram and headed to Happy Valley. I wanted to go there because although I have passed its complex of cemeteries many times on the bus, I have never actually gone there and I decided it was time I visited.

On the tram.

On the tram.

Happy Valley tram.

Happy Valley tram.

Happy Valley used to be called Wong Nai Chung Valley, which means Valley of the Yellow Mud Stream. This area was muddy and swampy and was once filled with rice paddies. It was also notorious for mosquitoes. In 1840, the British Army placed a military camp here. Many of the soldiers stationed here developed fever, then died. At that time no-one knew about Malaria or that it was caused by mosquitoes, but the number of deaths was so alarming that the camp was closed and the area became a burial ground instead. A common euphemism for a cemetery at that time was Happy Valley. Happy Valley is home to six different cemeteries:
the Happy Valley Jewish Cemetery, the Hindu Cemetery, the Parsee Cemetery, Hong Kong Cemetery, Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery and the Muslim Cemetery.

Eventually the swampy land here was drained and the British decided that since the land here was flat, it would be perfect for a race course. Happy Valley Racecourse was built in 1846. On the 26th of February 1918 a terrible tragedy occurred here. A grandstand collapsed, knocking over hot food stalls and starting a huge fire in which at least 590 people died.

Other sports facilities here include the Craigengower Cricket Club and the Hong Kong Football Club. I've never been in this cricket club, but we have a friend who is a member of the football club so we have been there for meals several times.

I started my visit here by wandering around the recreation area located in the middle of the racecourse. This is used as a park and a running track in between races.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

Happy Valley Race Course.

I then wandered into a small park on the opposite side of the road from the race course.

Small park.

Small park.

Small park.

Small park.

Small park.

Small park.

After that I passed the lovely Saint Margaret's Church. This is a Roman Catholic church dating from 1923. Mass is celebrated here in Cantonese, Japanese and English.

Saint Margaret's Church.

Saint Margaret's Church.

Just past Saint Margaret's is Saint Paul's Primary School Chapel.

Saint Paul's Primary School Chapel.

Saint Paul's Primary School Chapel.

There were also some interesting shops including some craft ones. I liked the one with the toy llamas in the window. There were also lots of pubs and restaurants including some with names linked to the race course.

Shop.

Shop.

Pub.

Pub.

Pub.

Pub.

I next went to the Hindu temple. I found the lady in charge here very pleasant and she was fine with me looking around and taking photos. This temple dates from 1949. It was founded by Mr F T Melwani JP. As well as being a place for prayers, this temple hosts yoga and meditation sessions, lectures on spirituality and marriage ceremonies.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu Temple.

Hindu temple.

Hindu temple.

After visiting the temple, I headed to the cemetery. The different cemeteries all join together and they are spread out across the hillside. I find cemeteries very interesting, so I enjoyed my visit, but it was very quiet with almost no visitors. I wandered around alone listening to various small creatures rustling in the bushes. There are good views over Happy Valley from the cemetery. The most beautiful part of the cemetery was, in my opinion, Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery. There were also several military graves. Some famous people are buried here. The only one whose grave I came across was Sir Robert Ho Tung. He was a famous mixed race Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist. He was nicknamed "the grand old man of Hong Kong".

Chapel in the Protestant Cemetery, dating from 1845.

Chapel in the Protestant Cemetery, dating from 1845.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Entrance to Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Entrance to Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Grave of Robert Ho Tung and one of his wives.

Grave of Robert Ho Tung and one of his wives.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Chapel Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Chapel Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Chapel Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Chapel Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Hong Kong Cemetery.

Military graves.

Military graves.

Military graves.

Military graves.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

Views from the cemetery.

After leaving the cemetery I noticed some horse themed sculptures around the streets.

Horse themed sculpture.

Horse themed sculpture.

Horse themed sculpture.

Horse themed sculpture.

Leaving Happy Valley I walked past the golden dragon statue on Morrison Hill Road. This was erected to mark the end of the SARS outbreak. Let's hope we can build one to mark the end of the covid 19 outbreak soon.

Golden Dragon Monument.

Golden Dragon Monument.

I then wandered through a colourful and crowded market area.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

In the early evening, or in fact, late afternoon, we ate in Grill 28 to make sure we had a meal before the witching hour of 6pm when everything shuts due to covid. On the walk home I took a photo of a building that stood out as different among the usual high-rise buildings, later found out it was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Grill 28.

Grill 28.

Grill 28.

Grill 28.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Back to the hotel after a ridiculously early dinner.

Back to the hotel after a ridiculously early dinner.

Posted by irenevt 12:15 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Thanks for sharing, Irene! Not I will not say,"I've never been to Hong Kong"... because I have been there through your eyes, virtually!

by Vic_IV

Wonderful pictures of a wonderful place. Your walk was not alone,because i felt as if i was there. Keep sharing your blogs . Alec.

by alectrevor

You had a great weather for your walk! I liked the photos of the flowers and from the cemetery!

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Victor, my original intention was to revisit bits of Hong Kong I've not been to for ages, but as I start looking I'm finding there are lots of places I've not actually been to yet, too.

by irenevt

Hi Alec, I'm glad to hear you are enjoying a look around Hong Kong. It seems to me there's more of interest here than I thought myself.

by irenevt

Hi Henna, it's December winter and cold yet I actually felt a bit sunstruck after yesterday's walk. It was so sunny.

by irenevt

I haven't seen sun in days, it's been raining here..I would take the sun even if it's bit chilly or cold :)

Nice that you have discovered some new places too!

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, I'm surprised it's not snowing in Finland. I believe your weather has got a bit warmer than it used to be. I think there was snow from around November till about March the year I spent there back in the eighties.

by irenevt

Yep, use to be lot colder here this time of the year. We have had some snow but it have melted away too quickly. Days of +5C and drizzle now..
I remember one year when I was a kid in mid-90s that we played in snow at my birthday party and it was October!

by hennaonthetrek

I've heard of Happy Valley race course of course but I didn't know about the cemeteries or how the area got its name - very interesting :) Cemeteries are always worth a walk around, and the views from these are a bonus! And I always enjoy visiting Hindu temples because they are so colourful and usually so welcoming to visitors.

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, it was good to find something historical here which has survived. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

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