My first port of call after landing into Hong Kong International Airport was the historic, vibrant and must see seedy district of Wan Chai.

Welcome to Wan Chai!

Wan Chai was the settlement originally on the shores of Victoria Harbour. The name derives from the shape of the coast and is translated from Cantonese to mean Cove.  Wan Chai in the modern sense no longer touches the coast thanks to large scale land reclamation in the 20th century.

Why did I choose to stay in Wan Chai? As one of the oldest settlements in Hong Kong Island during the initial British Administration, the area is steeped in history at every road and corner of this enclave.

The Dorsett Hotel was home for my trip, it was located directly opposite the Hong Kong Jockey Club which gave great views at night.

Hong Kong Jockey Club Views

Looking out from the 12th floor window I could see the modern high rise living quarters that provided the background against one of Hong Kong’s most famous landmarks and relic from Colonial rule.

The beauty of choosing an urban location is that at night, the change is remarkable. From concrete and glass in the morning to stunning lights in the evening.

Night Views from the hotel

There is something very therapeutic watching the city life during the night.

As I touched earlier Wan Chai has the reputation of being seedy, the reputation was enhanced during the Korean War when US sailors would visit for fun. Walk down Hennessey Road, Lockhart Road during the evening hours and you will see prostitutes walking around plying for business.

One of the downsides of this  seedy side is that the bars at night also become brothels in all but name. The expat pubs are the few places where you can drink in peace from being solicited.

During the morning and Wan Chai is thriving with hawkers, street performers and vast amounts of retail shops. The short film below provides a snippet into the morning stroll through Wan Chai:

You have to visit Wan Chai and experience the good, the bad and the downright seedy. Definately add it to your list to visit.

What was your experience of Wan Chai? Please leave a comment and share your stories!

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