BOLD and beautiful
Running along the east coast of Hong Kong Island, threaded by the MTR and tram lines, and hosting a mix of traditional and new residential areas, Eastern District is one of the most varied areas in the city.
Taikoo Shing is one of its more modern areas, largely centred on the City Plaza shopping mall, which hosts an ice skating rink, designer label boutiques and a food court that has office workers looking at their watches long before lunchtime.
As a reminder of days gone by, Montane Mansion on King's Road sits above an underground shopping mall that is home to a host of hole-in-the-wall artisans and mini-eateries. Swire Properties has made Taikoo Place a modern commercial complex.
North Point was once known as 'Little Shanghai' because of the many refugees who made their homes there in the 1950s. Although the area has changed gradually in recent years, Marble Road Market has altered little, with greengrocers, butchers and other traders selling their wares from shortly after dawn, unperturbed by the trams that trundle past just metres from their premises. Besides being the interchange for the cross-harbour MTR line, North Point also has a ferry pier, connecting to Kowloon City.
Chai Wan is not so much the end of the line, although the MTR and trams terminate there, as the start of something new. Residents benefit from a bit more space and cooling breezes from the South China Sea.
Originally a cluster of villages, Chai Wan has grown into a mixed-use area, although there are historical reminders such as the Museum of Coastal Defence and the Law Uk Folk Museum, a 22-year-old Hakka village house.
Points of interest
In an age of digital multiplexes, the Sunbeam Theatre has a more traditional charm. Dating from 1972, North Point's authentic showpiece for Cantonese opera is greatly beloved by the area's music fans and has a full programme lined up for this year, thanks to a generous benefactor who recently saved the building from developers
Taikoo Shing has its share of history too. The serried ranks of upmarket apartment blocks that abut City Plaza were built over what was once Hong Kong's prime dockyard: the foundation stone ('Commenced 1902 - Completed 1907') is dwarfed by the shopping mall, but provides a neat footnote to history.
Like many areas of Hong Kong, Eastern District doesn't want for green space. Quarry Bay Park stretches along the shore, with the retired fireboat Sir Alexander Grantham making a neat centrepiece. The hills above the district are enclosed in Tai Tam Country Park, which stretches south towards Stanley.