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On Location: Cinematic Instagram spots in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one big film studio, with its stunning skyline of glittering skyscrapers, picturesque nature, and neon-drenched streets, where colonial history and modern times collide. Hong Kong was also home to the world’s third-largest motion picture industry (after Bollywood and Hollywood) and the second-largest exporter of cinema, prior to the handover, earning its nickname of “Hollywood of the East”.

From local classics to foreign blockbusters, countless films have used Hong Kong as its setting and backdrop; we’ve rounded up some of the most iconic film locations that double as unforgettable Instagram spots, so you can relive your favourite big-screen moments in real life, as well as enrich your feed.


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Jimmy (Shawn Yue) and Cherie (Miriam Yeung) share a moment together on the bridge in Love in a Puff (2010). Photo courtesy of @kunhua_c

Wai Yip Street Pedestrian Bridge

This cinematic spot is a bit off the beaten path, but the snaps you’ll get here will definitely be unique. Made famous after it featured heavily in local director Pang Ho-cheung’s unexpected smash hit rom-com Love in a Puff, the bridge’s startling white interior and square windows are reminiscent of the trains that run along the outdoor stops of the MTR’s Kwun Tong line.

When sunlight streams into the bridge, an interesting pinhole effect is created. The normally quiet pedestrian area has attracted so much foot traffic that it’s searchable on Google Maps as “Jimmy (Chi Ming) Bridge” (named after Shawn Yue’s lead character), and the government has asked photographers to please keep their limbs and bodies inside the train carriage… erm, bridge.

Wai Yip Street Pedestrian Bridge, Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong


Stephen Chow’s comedic cooking epic The God of Cookery was filmed inside the restaurant. Photo courtesy of @faithmakeupworkshop

Jumbo Floating Restaurant 

Jumbo Floating Restaurant is one of the world’s largest floating restaurants and has been a popular tourist attraction and filming destination since its opening in 1976. Completely built to replicate an ancient imperial Chinese castle, this epic restaurant serves up stunning decor and delicious Chinese fine dining with fresh seafood.

Head to the Aberdeen docks to catch a sampan ride to Jumbo and you’ll understand why so many films—from legendary Hong Kong flicks like Enter the Dragon, The God of Cookery, and Infernal Affairs II to foreign favourites like Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and South Korean thriller The Thieves—have chosen it as a filming location. 

Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Shum Wan Pier Drive, Aberdeen | (+852) 2553 9111


 

The Old Yau Ma Tei Police Station as seen in Rush Hour 2. Photo courtesy of @ewong89

Old Yau Ma Tei Police Station 

The Old Yau Ma Tei Police Station has seen its fair share of reel life crime in addition to real-life sins. Established in 1893, the Edwardian design and feng shui-enhancing architectural elements (for example, the portico at the main entrance is set in an indented corner to allegedly combat crime) has made the beautiful police station a standard set for local movies and TV shows, and was listed as a Grade II Historical Building in 2009 by the Antiquity Office of Hong Kong. Put yourself in the shoes of your favourite crimefighters from films like Infernal Affairs and Rush Hour 2.

Old Yau Ma Tei Police Station, 627 Canton Road, Yau Ma Tei


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Photo courtesy @iamsamati

Mido Café

Mido Café is one of the few remaining old-style cha chaan tengs, surviving in its original location since the 1950s. Classic films from Hong Kong’s New Wave, such as Wong Kar-wai’s Days of Being Wild and Andrew Lau’s Goodbye Mr Cool, have shot at this vintage cafe, utilising the vintage tiles, antique cash machine, and overall retro look to invoke nostalgia. The booths on the second floor are flooded with natural light brought in by the iron-framed windows and overlook the nearby Tin Hau Temple, and we’d recommend taking some moody candid portraits looking out the window with a Red Bean Ice (a cha chaan teng classic) in hand.

Mido Café, G/F, 63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 2384 6402


PTU officers chowing down in China Café. Photo courtesy of @yipkoohung

China Café 

China Café is another relic of old Hong Kong, and it’s just a 15-minute walk down the road from Mido Cafe. The classic 1960s decor of wooden seats and tiled floors have remained unchanged since China Cafe’s opening in 1963, and the classic cha chaan teng food is as authentic as it gets. It’s no surprise that it’s often featured in films that seek that old Hong Kong flavour, and it’s most prominently used in To Kei Fung’s 2003 police noir film PTU, portrayed as the go-to spot for officers to wind down and grab a bite. You can also see China Cafe in other local films like Endless Love and Tales from the Dark. Grab a pineapple bun and milk tea while you’re here so you can stay energized while you try to get the perfect shot, or better yet, pose with the food for that #foodie snap.

China Café, G/F, 1077A Canton Road, Mong Kok, Hong Kong | (+852) 2392 7825


Central-Mid Levels Escalators

The Central-Mid Levels Escalators are famous in their own right as the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, with locals and tourists alike trekking up and down daily to transverse the Central hillside. While there are heaps of photo-worthy spots around Central, SoHo and Mid-Levels, the escalators themselves have served cameos in an array of movies.

When Christopher Nolan brought the cast and crew of The Dark Knight to Hong Kong, he shut down the escalators so Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne and his loyal armourer Lucius Fox, played by the beloved Morgan Freeman, can have a private conversation. The Escalators also play an important role in Wong Kar Wai’s iconic cult classic Chungking Express, a film that showcases two love stories amongst the hustle and bustle of Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. In the film, Tony Leung Chiu-wai’s flat is beside the escalators, and both him and his love interest Faye (Faye Wong) ride the escalators to reach the flat and their respective jobs. You can also spot the escalators in Jackie Chan’s Accidental Spy, The New Police Story, as well as recent local film All About Love.


Read more! Check out these interesting places of worship around Hong Kong.


Hon Sam asks for heavenly blessings for his undercover spies in Internal Affairs. Photo courtesy of @nick.kokkinis

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

For fans of temples and Infernal Affairs, make the pilgrimage up over 400 steps lined with 500 life-size gilded gold Arhan statues. to the impressive Ten Thousands Buddhas Monastery. The film’s opening scene where Eric Tsang’s Hon Sam has a meeting with his triad members before they’re sent off to become undercover spies in the Hong Kong Police Force was shot at this astounding monastery (no monks to be found here, though). Spend an afternoon at this peaceful monastery tucked away in the Sha Tin countryside, and make an offering in return for a lifetime of great Instagram pictures.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, 221 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin


Photo courtesy of @karen.in.wonderland_

Lung Wah Hotel

Lung Wah Hotel used to be a sprawling estate consisting of a hotel, restaurant, and scenic garden with a zoo. Almost 80 years old, it was an exclusive and idyllic retreat for the 1 percent of Hong Kong back when Shing Mun River was still a river. In its heyday, Lung Wah Hotel was host to famous Hongkongers like literary legend Louis Cha, before he was a legend and he wrote his first novel, The Book and the Sword, during his stay at the hotel. The restaurant reportedly sold thousands of roast pigeons a day during its prime and is the only part of the hotel still in operation today. While you can no longer access the room that Bruce Lee stayed in and the grounds where he shot The Big Boss, the entrance pathway that’s lined with red lanterns still makes for a stunning picture. 

Lung Wah Hotel, 22 Wo Che Ha, Sha Tin | (+852) 2691 1594


Final fight scene of Transformers: Age of Extinction, filmed around Quarry Bay. Photo courtesy of @camillevonsimson

Monster Mansion

Last but not least, we have the 5 residential blocks that make up Quarry Bay’s Monster Mansion because of its intimidating facade. Monster Mansion has long been a hotspot for music video and fashion editorial shoots, but since its appearance in the final climactic battle in Transformers: Age of Extinction, its catapulted into a must-see sight for tourists, Instagrammers, and Transformers fans alike. The clustered flats make for an impressive and slightly claustrophobic sight, perfect for cityscape shots both on the ground or with a handy drone, or a cool background to #OOTD fit pics for the style-savvy bunch. Do keep in mind that Monster Mansion is a residential block, and due to its overwhelming popularity, there are rules in place for photographers and tourists to visit, so be respectful!

1046 King’s Road, Quarry Bay


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