The most dramatic transformation the Kowloon peninsula has seen of late has been the rise of the 118-floor International Commerce Centre (ICC) above Union Square and Elements shopping mall. Major banks and finance houses have moved into the ICC from Central. Alongside are the twin towers of The Cullinan, home to some of the plushest serviced apartments in town, and the W Hotel.
While the West Kowloon cultural hub is being designed to further revitalise the area, eastwards The Masterpiece luxury residential tower has risen over Tsim Sha Tsui, with the hotel precinct near the waterfront served by Tsim Sha Tsui East MTR station. Around Kowloon, boutique serviced apartment providers vie with established operators for opportunities.
It wasn't always this way. Some Hong Kong Islanders still throw 'the dark side' as a jibe towards Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan, Mong Kok and other Kowloon districts. Now, thanks to the ICC Tower and the iSquare complex of shops and restaurants, those who choose to live there no longer demur to the island gentry.
Even better, a visit to Sky100, the observation deck on the 100th floor of Hong Kong's tallest building, presents another chance to look down on Central. For the more adventurous, the nearby DHL balloon floats up to a height of 100 metres for another stunning perspective of the cityscape. Kowloon now has the world's highest hotel, the Ritz Carlton, occupying floors 102-118 of the ICC with the top floor hosting the world's highest bar, Ozone, with more great views across the harbour and, of course, Central below.
FLIGHT, FOOD AND FILM
Yuen Po Street bird garden
An oasis in Mong Kok where the chirping of songbirds replaces the din of traffic. Birds are available for sale, along with the insects they eat and elaborate cages.
Kung Wo Dou Bun Chong
Aficionados reckon this small shop at 118 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po, has some of the best tofu dishes in town. The practice of grinding soya beans in a traditional stone mill is strictly followed.
For a night out in Tsim Sha Tsui, this pedestrian-only street is packed with bars, pubs and restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines.
For those who adore spicy dishes from the Indian subcontinent, curry restaurants abound. For less luxurious venues try Chung King Mansions.
Avenue of the Stars, which has film and stage legends' names on paving stones either side of the Bruce Lee statue, is on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.
Take tea at The Peninsula hotel and, to further the sense of grandness, arrange a helicopter tour from the hotel's roof or hang out at Felix bar.