Swire Group

Distinct districts on the waterfront

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 July, 2009, 12:00am

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East from Victoria Park, the districts of Tin Hau, North Point and Quarry Bay may appear to run into one another, but each has a separate character and attractions of its own.

They are linked by two major thoroughfares: King's Road, which is bisected by the tramline and more or less follows the course of the mass transit railway and the Island Eastern Corridor, which runs alongside the harbour.

Tin Hau takes its name from the temple dedicated to the sea goddess of the same name, while its character springs from Victoria Park, a 19-hectare greensward that attracts everyone from joggers to model boat enthusiasts, and also hosts international tennis tournaments and a floral fair at Lunar New Year.

Next to the park, just beyond the less-than-amused statue of Queen Victoria, Central Library is the most comprehensive in Hong Kong, while just to the west a number of major department stores and malls are clustered on Great George Street and beyond.

The park, the largest in Hong Kong, is the greatest attraction of the area, which is otherwise lacking in green space.

Separated from Tin Hau by the district of Fortress Hill, North Point was once known as Little Shanghai because so many immigrants from that city chose to live in what is known as Bak Kok in Cantonese.

Today, it is a typical mixed-use area, with a cosmopolitan mix of residents whose tastes and habits are reflected in the area's dining and shopping outlets.

North Point is especially proud of its Sunbeam Theatre, a lo-tech duplex - rather than a hi-tech multiplex - on King's Road that for the past four decades has been showing local films and staging Chinese Opera to rapturous audiences.

North Point is also the MTR interchange for the eastern side of Kowloon, but there is also a regular ferry service to Hung Hom and Kowloon City. Tin Hau's rail and ferry links give it the best location as far as transport is concerned, allowing for swift connections to the Kowloon peninsular and the rest of the island.

Nowhere on Hong Kong Island has changed quite so dramatically in recent years as Tsap Yue Chung, which is known in English as Quarry Bay.

Numerous industrial units and warehouses - there was once a thriving dockyard and sugar factory here - have been gradually replaced with smart new residential, commercial and retail premises. The bulk of these are centred across from Quarry Bay MTR station in Taikoo Place, many of which are joined by air-conditioned walkways.

A little to the east, Cityplaza is the area's main shopping mall, distinguished by one of Hong Kong's few ice-skating rinks and a host of dining, shopping and entertainment outlets.

And, like so many places in Hong Kong, Quarry Bay is only steps removed from the countryside. A few hundred metres up Mount Parker Road - which is closed to traffic - leads to Tai Tam Country Park, whose 1,315 hectares extend right the way over the island almost as far as Stanley.