Fun beyond the scrum

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 July, 2011, 12:00am


As Causeway Bay becomes the latest location seeing a rise in business centre openings, office workers new to the area will find there's more to the district than bustling retail outlets and crowded streets.

Given the area's numerous facilities, it's no surprise that as more serviced offices vie for business there, it's also becoming a popular place to live.

Part of the attraction of Causeway Bay is its accessibility; both the Mass Transit Railway and the tram lines run through the district, while the Cross-Harbour Tunnel leads directly to Kowloon.

One of Causeway Bay's claims to fame is Queen's College, which was founded in 1862 and whose old boys include Sun Yat-sen.

Perhaps Causeway Bay's greatest sporting asset is the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium, in So Kon Po. The stadium is in use throughout the year, but it gets its 15 minutes of fame on the last weekend of every March, when it hosts the three-day sporting carnival that is the rugby Sevens, attended by elaborately costumed fans from all over the world.

Victoria Park draws many locals. Tai chi aficionados and joggers arrive early in the morning; a public swimming pool is packed in the summer months; model powerboat enthusiasts and football, basketball and bowls players are also catered for, and some of the biggest names in international tennis have competed at the park's central court.

At weekends, RTHK stages a live debate in the park with politicians and academics discussing the issues of the day. Political rallies can fill the area with thousands of demonstrators, and at Lunar New Year florists sell traditionally auspicious flowers such as narcissus, peony, chrysanthemum and peach at one of Hong Kong's most exciting al fresco marts.

Victoria Park used to be a typhoon shelter, but it is being dislodged as the Hong Kong government builds a highway that will run along the island's north shore.

Causeway Bay is used to reclamation, however. Kellett Island, the base of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, is no longer an island.

Serenely bobbing on the successive waves of development, the club has weathered many storms over the years, in particular the construction of the neighbouring first Cross Harbour Tunnel, which was opened in 1972. Members voted to keep the 'Royal' in the club's name after the 1997 handover, as a demonstration of their fondness for tradition.

Established in 1890, the club remains one of the best in Hong Kong, offering members sailing, rowing, and a clubhouse that is a social centre for expatriate and local residents.

A hoard of copper coins dating from the Sui, Tang and Song dynasties unearthed during construction in 1991 points to Kellett Island having been a popular locale for centuries.