Header image courtesy of @shamloklok (via Instagram)
As the heart of the city, West Kowloon encompasses many of the major, most famous photo-taking spots in Hong Kong. Still, just how many times can you post the same few shots of the Victoria Harbour skyline? It’s time to shine a new light on a familiar region! Here are our top spots in West Kowloon for the best Instagram photos.
A geographic emblem of the Hong Kong spirit, this iconic mountain is a motif that has become inseparable from local culture—all thanks to the theme song of a 1970s television series called Below the Lion Rock (獅子山下), which portrayed a slice-of-life inspection of the working-class lifestyle in Hong Kong. From a distance, you can make out the silhouette of a lion in the naturally sculpted granite peaks and shrubs. Once at the peak, you are presented with a panoramic view of Kowloon and the Island region flanking one side and New Territories on the other.
For a more detailed introduction and instructions on how to get there, check out the second entry of this article.
A visual paradise of bright colours and maze-like curves, the Shek Kip Mei Central Playground is a seriously underrated spot for photos. Known amongst artsy youngsters for its recognisable blue and pink accent wall and its network of coral-toned, railing-lined staircases, this unusual playground offers a beautiful backdrop for those looking to play around with dreamy pastel tones in their next Instagram post.
Shek Kip Mei Central Playground, 9 Tai Hang Sai Street, Shek Kip Mei | (+852) 2741 4044
As if to reflect the boundless creative experimentation and production within its walls, the physical structure of City University’s Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre is unlike any other. At almost 30,000 square meters, the building is able to host up to (approximately) 2,000 students and 500 staff members—all while housing numerous lecture rooms, equipment storages, studios, sound stages, performance spaces and more.
Evocative of Brutalist architecture, the angular, ridged design allows for walls, stairs, and surfaces to interact in new ways. The asymmetrical ergonomic flow allows light and space to interact in a fascinating manner, giving way to shots with unforgettable leading lines. It will take some effort to eyeball an interesting shot here among the stark architecture, but you will be rewarded with an edgy and modernist background.
School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, 18 Tat Hong Avenue, Kowloon Tong | (+852) 3442 8049
Having a reputation as a city of lights—coupled with a history of neon craftsmanship as an integral piece of our local artisan culture—Hong Kong has no shortage of glowing signs. These vibrant and unique works can be found all over the busier parts of western Kowloon, hanging off the sides of tenement buildings in Mong Kok and fighting for dominance amongst the structures that line the streets of Jordan.
Find your very own slice of these lights right beside Temple Street, a short walk away from the two aforementioned urban regions and feast your eyes on the rainbow arches over the entrance of Wo Hing Victory Mahjong Gaming club. Live out your Vegas fantasy and maybe even some shots of the towering brick-red Alhambra Building above it.
Wo Hing Victory Mahjong Gaming, G/F, Shops 21–24 & 34–34A, Alhambra Building, 15 Kansu Street, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 2782 1882
A middle ground between Kowloon MTR station and Austin MTR station, the West Kowloon High-Speed Railway Station is an award-winning architectural marvel that offers beautiful cascading visual textures. Did you know that the amount of steel used to construct this ceiling weighs as much as the entire Eiffel Tower? Its rooftop features an elevation viewing point that provides you with a perfect angle to look out to the world-class view quintessential to Hong Kong’s cityscape. While making your way upwards to the sightseeing deck, keep an eye on the various artworks embedded into the station walls for some bonus shots!
Sky Corridor, West Kowloon High-Speed Railway Station, 1 Austin Road West, Jordan
Considerably low-key yet still incredibly stunning, the waterfront area of Hung Hom offers a four-kilometre strip of space for eager photographers to explore. From the bowling greens in front of the Kerry Hotel entrance to the azure blues of the waters that the pier stretches out to, there is a whole load of sites that you can snap for your next Instagram post. If you’re looking to match your photos with a cup of joe, nearby Noc Café is a popular choice, as its simplistic grey walls offer a clean monochrome backing for those with a minimalistic aesthetic. Sunset is a recommended time to visit, as golden hour along the promenade horizon is indescribable in its beauty.
Hung Hom Promenade & Public Pier, 20 Tak Fung Street, Hung Hom
This vibrant mall, stocked with independent shops and youthful brands, is bound to satisfy both your shopping itch as well as your Instagram feed’s needs. Playing with elements of K-fever with quirkily decorated shops all whilst calling to the neon signage rooted to Hong Kong with colourful light-up icons everywhere, every corner of T.O.P. brings a sensation to your senses and to your lenses. Even the outside of the building is decorated in tiles of varying colours, giving off the effect of three-dimensional pixelation. After exploring every angle of this multicoloured wonderland, be sure to check out the tinted multicoloured window that encases the indoor footbridge to the adjacent Argyle Centre, in addition to the roof garden that you may reach via the podium deck.
T.O.P. This is Our Place, 700 Nathan Road, Mong Kok | (+852) 3951 0828
One of the first of many revitalisation projects in Hong Kong and the Kowloon area, in particular, this estate used to house numerous small, family-run factories. Since 2008, however, the industrial manufacturers have been replaced with multidisciplinary artists, converting the site into a centre that is home to around 140 artists and cultural organisers. Other than the galleries, the building itself is a wonderful space for shooting. As you walk up the sloping road towards the main entrance, the cornered walls—accented with shades of forest green—make for a rich pop of colour. The central courtyard inside offers an expansive area where large-scale and open-air events are often held, in addition to providing a sharp cornered arrangement for your shooting pleasure.
Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei | (+852) 2353 1311
A beloved spot amongst night photographers and locals who are looking for a good city shot to add to their feed, Garden Hill is a semi-hike that takes you to a peak that overlooks the expanse of western Kowloon. The one trade-off for such a beautiful yet easily accessible spot is the potential for unintended photobombing as the spot draws a lot of visitors—artsy tourists and Hong Kongers alike—daily. Popular timings include sunrise, sunset, and the evening. So, it’s safe to say that no matter the time of day you arrive, your photos will be amazing. Click here to find out how to get to Garden Hill.