48 Hours in Hong Kong’s Artsy West Kowloon District
Explore one of the most exciting districts in Hong Kong in this detailed itinerary
One of the best places to visit as the world starts traveling again is Hong Kong. Just a hop and a skip away from Manila, the Fragrant Harbour has remained a top destination for leisure travelers looking for a destination with an excellent food scene, great shopping finds, and dynamic art scene amidst cosmopolitan vibe.
Whether it’s a quick getaway or a long-overdue vacation, Hong Kong habitués will be pleased to explore the West Kowloon District for a taste of something old, something new, and definitely, something exciting. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a nifty little itinerary on where to start:
Start Day 1 of your art exploration tour with %Arabica’s Spanish Latte enjoyed al fresco at the KUBE, located right outside K11 Musea. Literally a golden cube, this coffee kiosk designed by Dutch architectural firm OMA stands out against a backdrop of Victoria Harbour.
Address: K11 MUSEA, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Take a leisurely stroll around K11 MUSEA and marvel at its lush, greenery-covered façade before entering the 10-storey art and retail hub. The shopping and dining complex is known for having art pieces scattered all throughout what it calls a “museum-retail space” that allow shoppers to appreciate art as they shop. Carefully curated exhibitions and events featuring by up-and-coming artists are also held year-round. Don’t forget to take those IG-worthy snaps!
Address: 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
From avant-garde art, immerse yourself in cultural treasures and heritage pieces at the HK Museum of Art. Having reopened in 2019 after a four-year renovation, the HKMOA makeover features a wave-like façade that mimics the rippling waters of Victoria Harbour. Its 12 galleries feature collections from Chinese antiquities and calligraphy to masterpieces by modern and contemporary local and Western artists.
Address: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Head back to K11 MUSEA for a visually appetizing lunch at COBO HOUSE which serves up edible art against breathtaking view of the Hong Kong landscape. COBO HOUSE, featured in Vogue HK’s list of best restaurants to try now, launches Chapter 1 of its “The Knife & Spoon” tasting menu this month of October. The tasting menu changes every six weeks so there’s always something exciting to look forward to.
Walk off that indulgent lunch and explore the Xiqu Centre, an architectural marvel at the West Kowloon Cultural District. Aside from being a truly Instagrammable spot (you won’t miss its façade or grand Atrium that’s just begging to be photographed), Xiqu Centre is an arts venue that showcases Hong Kong’s cultural heritage through various performances in its 1000+ seat Grand Theatre, Atrium, and cinema. Specifically built to promote ‘xiqu’ or Chinese traditional theatre, the structure was specially designed for operatic performances, and includes training and education facilities, rehearsal rooms, and practice areas, among many others. Doesn’t its doorless entrance remind you of stage curtains being lifted open?
Address: 88 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
To truly experience what Xiqu Centre has to offer, watch a traditional Cantonese opera while enjoying a cup of tea and dim sum at the Xiqu Centre Tea House Theatre. The Tea House experience is ideal for those new to xiqu, as it offers short performances that provide a sampling of Chinese opera, along with an English narration by a moderator on the history of the art form. Remember to check what performances are available and book in advance. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience!
Address: 88 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
End your first day of West Kowloon exploration with a well-deserved Michelin-star dinner at Épure. Serving French contemporary cuisine that are oh-too-pretty to eat, its tasting menus are best paired with its carefully-selected vintage wines.
Continue your immersive arts and culture tour at the Yau Ma Tei Theatre, the only surviving pre-World War II performance center in Hong Kong. Bring out your smartphone or digicam out and take snapshots of local life buzzing at the nearby Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market or grab a luck charm at Jade Street. Also nearby is the Red Brick Building and Public Square Street where a flight of stairs abloom with a variety of flowers has become a favorite spot for photo enthusiasts. Insta-tip: Make sure to power-up your gadgets as you’d be quite busy taking photos.
Address: 6 Waterloo Road, Kowloon
After all that exploration on foot, take a quick 8-minute trip to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and settle down for a leisurely lunch at Tosca di Angelo which serves Italian cuisine well-worth its Michelin star award. Chef Angelo Agliano brings his Sicilian heritage to the table for a gustatory delight in the finest sense. Its location at the 102nd floor of the Ritz means there’s stunning view of the harbour to complement your gastronomic journey.
Address: 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon
Next stop is the West Kowloon 'Growing Up' Pavilion, found at the edge of the park. The timbre structure is a performance space that symbolizes Hong Kong’s diverse culture and heritage that is built on a strong foundation that embraces growth and progress. The architecture also frames the contrasting elements of nature and urban landscape, of land and water. A walk along the promenade leads to the Art Park where giant art installations create a playful, visual spectacle that attract the young and the not-so-young. Just a two-minute walk away is Freespace, which comes alive every weekend with performances from Hong Kong’s vibrant music scene.
Check out the West Kowloon Sky Corridor and Sightseeing Deck located above the biggest underground railway station in the world—the West Kowloon Station. To get here, you have to walk all the way up to the Green Plaza and then the Sky Corridor. You’ll thank yourself for putting on sensible shoes because to appreciate the best views, you might have to go up and climb a steep walkway. Above this is the Sightseeing Deck which offers so many amazing views: On one side is the harbor view, on the other is the new Xiqu Centre. Don’t forget to bring your eyewear and hat, and sun protection, too!
As your two-day arts and culture tour of West Kowloon draws to a close, treat yourself to drinks at Ozone Bar at the Ritz-Carlton. Its spot as the highest bar in the world at the 118th floor gives a magnificent view of Hong Kong which you will not soon forget.
Address: 118/F The Ritz-Carlton, 1 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
There’s no better way to end a West Kowloon adventure than with a sumptuous feast at a 2-Michelin star restaurant. Tin Lung Heen (also at the Ritz) is well worth the splurge as you savor signature Cantonese dishes in a fine dining setting.
Address: 102/F The Ritz-Carlton, 1 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong Travel Guide
While traveling freely still isn't possible right now, you can still plan your trips and look forward to an amazing time in one of Hong Kong's most vibrant districts.
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