Header image courtesy of @shallwe0317 (via Instagram)
Home to the gigantic ship that never set sail (a.k.a The Whampoa, the Hong Kong mall that looks like a boat), a 55-year-old ferry pier still in operation, and some 88 residential buildings divided into 12 complexes, Whampoa is no longer a low-profile housing estate nestled in Hung Hom, Kowloon. In all honesty, Whampoa was never quite out of reach, thanks to its vast network of buses that get you just about anywhere. Plus, with the opening of the ever-so-convenient Whampoa MTR station in 2016 and the resumption of ferry services from Central, tourists and locals alike flock to this former dockyard to explore its unique and bustling neighbourhood.
Whampoa is quite literally a “garden” (no, not just a namesake)—the area is covered in rich flora of all colours and streets are lined with elegant palm trees. Whampoa was designed incorporating principles of “the garden city movement,” in which urban planning is done with a combination of residence, agriculture, and industry in mind. Each of the complexes is named after a plant, ranging from Hong Kong’s symbolic bauhinia and bamboo to lily. Sounds like the place you’d chill at during your next day off? We’ve got the nooks and crannies covered on things to do, places to eat and drink, and where to shop (yes, there’s more than just the ship-shaped superstore)!
Thunderbowl is the first-ever bowling alley to be established in Hong Kong. Although disappointingly, the majority of bowling alleys in Hong Kong have since stopped operations, Thunderbowl still attracts amateurs and pros. There are 22 modern fibre lanes, suitable for tournaments and casual play. There are also two VIP rooms for party use, with fluorescent lighting and two separate lanes. Fancy a game of pool? Thunderbowl has that, too—you can book a private room to test out your inner Efren Reyes.
Thunderbowl, Shop 2, B-1, Screen World (Site 8), Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom | (+852) 2122 9822
Rather than just an entrance, the escalator leading up to Golden Harvest Whampoa is more of a futuristic portal with its LED lights (I mean, just look at that stunning photo!). Previously, a UA Cinema used to sit here, but it later got replaced by Golden Harvest. Expect four theatre houses, all with ample seating and widescreen cinemas for an optimal viewing experience (though, even then, we would not be able to make sense of Tenet...). You will have finished the popcorn during the trailers but not to worry—the entrance on the ground floor also connects to Whampoa’s Gourmet Place, offering a wide range of restaurants for dining options.
Golden Harvest Whampoa, 2/F, Screen World (Site 8), Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom | (+852) 2364 7434
Hutchison Park is a Chinese-style garden that sits amongst the residential area between Whampoa Garden and Laguna Verde. Venture here in the morning to catch the elderly following their routine of tai chi (maybe learn a move or two whilst you are there?). There is a considerably large pond that sits in the heart of the park, where you can stop and photograph koi fish and turtles. The pavilions, stone bridges, and archways create a beautiful juxtaposition in the ever-so-modernising neighbourhood of Whampoa.
Hutchison Park, Dyer Avenue, Hung Hom
Hung Hom Promenade starts at private housing estate Laguna Verde and goes all the way to East Tsim Sha Tsui—so yes, you will eventually end up on the Avenue of Stars! This scenic stroll greets you with views of both East Kowloon and almost the whole of Hong Kong Island, starting from North Point to Central. Hung Hom Promenade is the go-to place for a jog, walking your dog (or petting one!), and for having a picnic on a brisk afternoon as the area offers plenty of grassy areas to lay your mats. Side note: Working out on the grass whilst overlooking the iconic harbour (and basking in all that fresh air) beats going to the gym any day!
Hung Hom Promenade, Hung Hom
Local and foreign artists are redesigning our streets—and we are here for it! Sure, places like Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun, and Mong Kok are more sought-after for hunting street art and graffiti, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the murals that are slowly transforming the streets of Hung Hom. From what there is so far, the theme seems to be focused on nature and animals.
Remember the good old days when you would drag your friends and family to spend hours at this popular arcade? Now, it’s time to unleash your inner child again at one of the only remaining Jumpin Gyms in Hong Kong! In fact, the Whampoa outlet is the biggest Jumpin Gym in Hong Kong! Although you would be tempted to go inside the giant bouncy maze, do note that it is limited to young children. However, there’s nothing stopping you from hopping into a bumper car or testing your luck on the coin pushers!
Jumpin Gym USA, 6 Tak Hong Street, Hung Hom | (+852) 2362 3855
As the second branch to open in Hong Kong, Sushi Man sits just opposite The Whampoa, with an L-shaped bar table featuring a show kitchen in front. Helmed by chef Cupid Leung—who had trained with Japanese masters for 11 years prior to the opening of the restaurant—this sophisticated sushi joint offers omakase sets starting from $1,000 and lunch sets around $300 per head. We recommend trying the sea urchin teishoku ($500) and eel teishoku ($350), which comes with steamed egg, soup, and dessert.
Sushi Man, 6 Tak Hong Street, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom | (+852) 2794 3995
This all-American franchise expanded from its Beverly Hills origins to restaurants all throughout the world. California Pizza Kitchen offers a wide range of pasta, pizzas, and side dishes, all at reasonable prices. Must-try dishes include the aromatic roasted garlic chicken pizza ($120), jambalaya linguine ($132), and avocado club egg rolls ($120).
California Pizza Kitchen, Shop 2, 3/F, Gourmet Place (Site 8), The Whampoa, Hung Hom | (+852) 3152 3313
Loved by neighbourhood regulars for its Hong Kong-style hamburgers, Sze Sun Hamburger might not look like much from the outside, but it serves outstanding burgers with fresh and juicy patties alongside crispy French fries. It’s the ultimate comfort food and its great, affordable prices have folks flocking here during lunch hours. Popular dishes include the single-layer cheeseburger with two toppings ($33), the beef burger with fried egg set ($63), and the deep-fried chicken wings ($31).
Sze Sun Hamburger, Shop G22–23, G/F, Gourmet Place (Site 12), The Whampoa, Hung Hom | (+852) 2387 2868
Wing Lai Yuen is a hard one to miss if you are over at Gourmet Place, thanks to its bright red exterior and majestic, imposing-looking doors. This traditional Chinese restaurant is Michelin-recommended and famous for its piquant dan dan noodles. Alongside that, you also can feast on other Sichuanese and Shanghainese delicacies off the menu; the deep-fried crispy pork chop ($78), delectable king shrimps ($128), and braised beef in hot chili sauce ($78) would be sure to please your palate.
Wing Lai Yuen, Shop 102–103 & 105, 1/F, Gourmet Place (Site 8), The Whampoa, Hung Hom | (+852) 2320 6430
Set atop Kerry Hotel, Red Sugar offers an intimate alfresco dining area that boasts an undeniably gorgeous view of the Victoria Harbour. Often overlooked for glitzier neighbouring hotels, there is much to love about Red Sugar and Kerry Hotel, not least its range of cocktails, which are inspired by Hong Kong culture itself. With 11 cocktails and three mocktails to choose from, be sure to try the Monkey Tonic ($128) and Black Forest ($148) with roasted ham & smoked cheese croquettes ($98) on the side.
Red Sugar, 7/F, Kerry Hotel, 38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom | (+852) 2252 5281
It’s time to go around the world in eighty minutes (more or less)! Dockyard, famed for its expansive cuisine that ranges from Western to Southeast Asian and Indian, offers something for everyone. One can never go wrong with the spicy tonkotsu ramen ($78), seasoned sweet crispy chicken ($88), or the kimchi stew & rice ($55). Presenting a homely and welcoming feel, with different countries’ flags hanging from the ceiling, you can stretch your muscles after the food coma with a game of pool or darts.
Dockyard, 1/F, Kerry Hotel, 38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom | (+852) 2252 5228
Of course, when in Whampoa and Hung Hom, one simply has to experience what it’s like to shop inside a boat (although it all feels quite common once you are inside it, in all honesty). As the largest shopping complex in the area, The Whampoa offers retail opportunities than span from home furnishings, electronics, and fashion to food and beverage and various entertainment outlets. Within it, you will also stumble across an Aeon department store. Originally named as Jusco, the department store later changed its name to Aeon to remain consistent with its Japanese parent company. Aeon boasts a large underground supermarket, too.
The Whampoa, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom
Love all things seafood? Look no further than Nine Seafood Place, which covers about 50,000 square feet of all things oceanic. It offers provision stores on aquatic foods and houses a variety of seafood restaurants to please your taste buds. There are even small exhibitions showcasing Hong Kong’s history as a fishing village and it also pays homage to the lives of fishermen in the olden days. Show up on Fridays to catch a cutting-edge (pun intended) performance of giant bluefin tuna slicing!
Nine Seafood Place, Shops G1–9 & G17–18, Lily Mansions (Site 9), The Whampoa, Hung Hom | (+852) 2121 0606