Ocean Park takes a step back in time

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 12:00am


Rickshaws run on a street lined with dai pai dong food stalls tended by girls with braided hair and flowered shirts.

Around the corner is a Grand Cinema, decorated with old movie posters and fitted out with a period ticket booth, next to which performers in retro outfits stand luring customers in.

An Elvis Presley lookalike shouts from the upper floor of a tong lau, a style of tenement common in Hong Kong up until the 1970s, while olive sellers hurl their produce to customers on the balconies.

Welcome to Hong Kong in the 1950s, as recreated by Ocean Park.

With Old Hong Kong, a HK$10 million attraction launched yesterday, the theme park aims to provide a taste of yesteryear with nostalgic buildings, fittings and traditional delicacies.

Having taken two years to build, it is aimed mainly at locals familiar with the city's past.

'People come with their memories, and we hope they can relive them here,' Alex Chu, the park's executive director for design and planning, said.

'We wanted to insert into the area characters who immediately click with visitors, such as a policeman in shorts.'

Just inside the 40,000 square foot area next to the waterfront cable car station stands a KMB bus from the 1960s.

Nearby, patrons can savour 70 types of classic street food including ginger candy, egg waffle and the beancurd dessert known as tofu fa.

At the end of the street they can climb aboard a retrofitted tram car from the 1950s featuring rattan seats and camphor wood floors. Pillar boxes used during the colonial era and old toys are also to be found.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong tourists aiming further afield are filling up places on forthcoming Easter holiday tours.

Tours to Cambodia on April 5 or 6 are already full, while those to South Korea are about 80 per cent booked, Wing On Travel's assistant general manager Simon Ma Sai-man said.

Another agency, Hong Thai, said the number of travellers to Europe and India had grown by more than a fifth and that, due to demand, tours to Taiwan and South Korea cost up to 15 per cent more than last year.