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Wan Chai
Photograph: TA The famous pink, blue, green and yellow rows of houses on Queen's Road East

Wan Chai ranks 22nd among 51 coolest neighbourhoods in the world

Wan Chai is once again named one of the world's best neighbourhoods

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Tatum Ancheta

In August, eclectic Tai Ping Shan got global recognition for ranking 7th in the world's coolest streets. This time, Time Out's annual list of coolest neighbourhoods in the world has just been revealed and, for the second time, names Wan Chai District among the 51 world's best neighbourhoods.  

Every year, the coolest neighbourhood list is derived from the result of the annual Time Out Index survey and insights from local experts and city editors. This year, as our cities reopen for travel, the list spotlights the best places for locals and tourists to visit. These neighbourhoods represent the most vibrant places worth travelling for, where the streets are alive and offer cutting-edge culture and nightlife, a dynamic food and drink scene, and big community vibes.     

Wan Chai
Photograph: TAWoo Cheong Tea House

Named the coolest neighbourhood in Hong Kong in 2018, Wan Chai faced a lot of changes and challenges over the past years and now is the best time to rediscover this buzzing district. Though we've seen many long-standing establishments closed during the pandemic, these empty spots have now been replaced with the city's hottest list of new restaurants, artisan coffee shops, boutique hotels, and drinking joints that attract locals to reside in the district.

blue bottle coffee wan chai
Photograph: Tatum AnchetaBlue Bottle Coffee

The area now boasts a cross-harbour railway section that links the main regions in the city and even expanded a vibrant promenade that overlooks Hong Kong's famous harbour. This year, the district hosted two of the biggest art events in the region – Art Basel and Art Central – and lit up some of the most colourful lanterns during the Mid-Autumn Festival, including the historical four-storey tenement building, Blue House, decorated with hundreds of hand-painted lanterns designed by its close-knit community. Once infamous for being Hong Kong's red-light district, Wan Chai has shaken off much of its seedy reputation and evolved into a bustling neighbourhood well worth a visit.  

Watch the video below and check out all the things we love about Wan Chai:  

blue house lantern display
Photograph: Tatum Ancheta

Want to know more about the Wan Chai neighbourhood? Follow our guide to discover all the best things to see, do, eat, and drink in the district.  

This year's coolest neighbourhood includes Colonia Americana from Guadalajara, Mexico, Cais do Sodré from Lisbon, Portugal, and Wat Bo Village from Siem Reap, Cambodia, on the top three. In Asia, Singapore's Little India ranked 19, Indonesia's Ubud at 42, and Thailand's Thonglor at 46. 

See the complete list of the 51 coolest neighbourhoods in the world and start planning your travel! 

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