(SPOT.ph) The streets of Hong Kong are lined with outlet stores, night markets, and food stalls; so it's easy to say that most travelers who frequent the country are either shopaholics or foodies. Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park are also part of the tourist checklist.
But what if you're not interested in any of these? We found cultural hotspots and art spaces that are often ignored. Ready your feet and whip out your cam-phones because these places are worth a visit.
53 Hollywood Road, Central
Rates start at P8,500++
Opened in March 2016, Madera Hollywood is a small boutique hotel in the SoHo area of Central, Hong Kong. It's easy to spot, thanks to the 10-meter-high mural featuring Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Frank Sinatra on its walls. The interiors, from the Hollywood Lounge at the third floor where guests check in to the two signature rooms (Monroe and Chaplin Suites), are also perfect for photo shoots and selfies.
Bang! Bang! 70's Vintage Store
2/F 16A Aberdeen Street, Central
Hong Kong may be known for night markets and outlet stores for designer items, but Central is packed with holes-in-the-wall markets that boast antique finds, artsy designs, and other knickknacks. You can easily spot Bang! Bang! 70’s Vintage Store while walking along the mural-laden Aberdeen Street. Just wave at the owner peering from the second floor window and let him buzz you in through the stainless steel door.
La Galerie, Paris 1839
G/F 74 Hollywood Road, Central
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
La Galerie was founded by French artists Marie Florence Gros and Cyril Delettre in an effort to share their passion for art, especially photography, to the Asian market. It is one of the first art spaces that focuses on quality art photography and prints in Hong Kong. Its subname, Paris 1839, is an homage to the year that photography was born as an important art form. The La Galerie mural at the corner of Hollywood Road and Aberdeen Street, facing PMQ (a.k.a. Police Married Quarters), is as whimsical as the gallery's exhibits.
Man Mo Temple
124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Man Mo Temple is made up of three places of worship believed to have been built between 1847 to 1862. The green-roofed main Man Mo Temple pays tribute to the God of Literature and God of War, while Lit Shing Kung was created for the other heavenly gods. Kung Sor was used as an assembly hall for the community. Some of the most prized items in the temples are the 1847 bronze bell and 1862 sedan chair.
Tallensia Floral Art
G/F 6C Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan
The all-green wall of Tallensia Floral Art complements its neighbor, the blue-clad vintage store InBetween, along Tai Ping Shan Street. When you enter the flower shop, get ready to go crazy while taking photos of their artistic bouquets and charming flower arrangements.
Old Townhouses Mural
46 Graham Street corner 48 Hollywood Road, Central
This popular spot for visitors is hard to miss especially while strolling along the art-inspired Hollywood Road. Stacks and rows of townhouses are painted on an all-blue wall, depicting Hong Kong’s current situation in its cramped residential properties.
Yuk Kip Desserts
2 Elgin Street corner Hollywood Road, Central
Dai Pai Dongs—open-air food stalls made of iron sheets and surrounded by foldable tables and stools—are a common sight in Central's old town. Yuk Kip Desserts raises itself above the rest through its no-frills Chinese desserts that have been around for four generations. Aside from their glutinous rice ball topped with sugar and shredded coconut, another camera-worthy shot in their alley is the Seoul Bros mural beside the green metal stall.
Pottinger Street, Central
The uneven terrain of Central District can easily tire the unused commuter, but not in Pottinger Street (a.k.a. Stone Slab Street) where the steep slope is countered through stone slabs. Depending on the occasion or season, the handrails at the middle are designed with colorful stickers, yarns, and cloth.
Artwork by Korean artist Lee Tae-ho
35 Aberdeen Street, Central
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
This building at the junction of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road was once the campus of the first government school in Hong Kong called Central School (later Queen's College). After being severely damaged during World War II, it was rebuilt as the Police Married Quarters to serve as the dormitory of married junior police officers. It was abandoned in 2000 and later restored in 2010 as PMQ, a whole building where artists and designers can sell their items, including metalwork, leather bags, art jewelry, graphic tees, and more. Photos aren't allowed inside the shops, but the murals on the exterior are free-for-all.
Ovolo Southside Hotel
64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Southside
Rates start at P5,000++
Filipino muralist Kris Abrigo was one of the international artists who joined the annual street art festival titled HKWalls held in March. His signature abstract diagrams with geometric shapes and bright colors can now be seen on the walls of Ovolo Southside Hotel. The boutique accommodation used to be a warehouse and is the first industrial building in Hong Kong that was converted into a hotel.