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

Wan Chai: Ultimate guide

A vibrant neighbourhood to explore

Jenny Leung
Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Jenny Leung
&
Tatum Ancheta
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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. With the East Rail Line Cross-Harbour Extension and the new Exhibition Centre MTR Station officially opened, there's no better time than now to explore the vibrant neighbourhood of Wan Chai. To help you navigate the area a little better, here are some of the best things to eat, drink, and do in Wan Chai. You can thank us later.

Jump to a section:

EAT / DRINK / THINGS TO DO / STAY

What is Wan Chai known for?
Once notoriously known as Hong Kong's red light district due to a good number of bars on Lockhart Road that don’t count as ‘family friendly’.  

Why do we love it?
Wan Chai is home to some of the most interesting architecture, top restaurants, hidden shops, and cultural spots. There's really not much you can't find here.

How do I get to Wan Chai?
The easiest way is by MTR, but if you're already on Hong Kong Island, consider taking the tram so you can take in the views and streetscape along the way.

Map of Wan Chai

Where to eat
Photograph: Courtesy Samsen

Where to eat

Wan Chai has a world of cuisine to offer. Take your palate on a trip around Asia and pay a visit to restaurants like Samsen for excellent Thai food, Le Garçon Saigon for Vietnamese fare, or 1963 Treee for Taiwanese gourmet. If you're after something a little closer to home, chow down on tasty dim sum at Woo Cheong Tea House.

For those who prefer Western cuisine, settle down at Crust Italian, which offers a taste of Naples and the Amalfi Coast, or head to 22 Ships for a range of traditional yet modern multi-regional tapas dishes.

We also love heading to Pici for fresh, hand-rolled pasta dishes and booking a table at the new contemporary French restaurant Auor for classy fine dining. 

Photograph: Courtesy JaJa

And if you're hoping to also feed your camera, be sure to visit Insta-famous joints such as JaJa, a colourful vegetarian restaurant serving up everything from Asian delights to all the pasta and pizza you need to satisfy your carb cravings; and Bakehouse, the highly popular bakery with all sorts of oven-fresh treats worth drooling over.

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Where to drink
Photograph: Courtesy Kuromaru

Where to drink

One of our favourite bars in Wan Chai is Mizunara: The Library, a quiet whisky bar hidden above Lockhart Road, serving exquisite cocktails, an extensive whisky list, and attentive service. Fans of Mizunara can also visit the newly opened Western-Japanese restaurant, Maison Meiji, where you'll find handcrafted shochu and awamori cocktails by the team behind Mizunara in the Kuromaru lounge.

Want to drink and enjoy the city view? Head to the new whisky bar Uncle Ming's atop boutique hotel AKI Hong Kong – MGallery or visit the popular Wooloomooloo steakhouse. 

Photograph: Courtesy The Baker and The Bottleman

For wine lovers, check out The Baker & The Bottleman's wine bar, which offers a well-curated menu by master sommelier Pierre Brunelli (one of only over 200 master sommeliers in the world) with organic and biodynamic wines from sustainable and ethical winegrowers around the world.

Photograph: Courtesy Omotesando Koffee

If you're looking for a caffeine fix, Omotesando Koffee at Lee Tung Avenue, the first overseas branch of the famous Tokyo coffee shop, will do you justice with their quality java. Aussie-inspired cafe Ninetys also has excellent lattes and Australian-style brunch food by day, and a creative dinner menu along with a selection of wine, sake and craft beers by night.

For more cafe-hopping adventures, browse our list of the best cafes in Wan Chai

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Where to shop
Lane Eight I Photograph: TA

Where to shop

Wan Chai Market – one of Hong Kong's best wet markets – is usually frequented by gourmands to shop for the freshest produce – from seafood, meat, and vegetables. For bargain clothing, Spring Garden Lane is your best stop for cheap garments, clothes, and even underwear. Buying toys for the kids? Tai Yuen Street is filled with rows of stores selling toys and party favours. 

If you're after digital retail therapy, Wan Chai Computer Centre has every kind of tech you can imagine – from phones, drones, computers, webcams, and more. And though Wan Chai does not offer many high-end brands like its neighbouring Causeway Bay, you'll find many boutique shops selling the coolest fashion in Starstreet Precinct's quaint neighbourhood. Browse curated clothing, lifestyle products, and homewares at Kapok retail shop or drop by at Hong Kong-based brand Lane Eight for eco-friendly footwear. 

For men's fashion, visit Sarto Lab, an apparel shop by Il Sarto known for its outstanding Shanghai tailoring. Located at St Francis Yard, the store stocks men's accessories and apparel and offers quality bespoke tailoring using top-of-the-line European fabrics. 

Things to see and do
Photograph: Courtesy Viva Blue House

Things to see and do

A visit to the Blue House cluster is a must for history buffs in Wan Chai. Built in the 1920s, the colourful landmark comprises residential flats, restaurants, a community service centre, and Hong Kong House of Stories, a unique gallery space dedicated to recording and preserving the city’s cultural heritage. After your visit, make your way up Stone Nullah Lane to visit the impressive Pak Tai Temple, one of the largest temples on Hong Kong Island built in 1863 by local residents.

For a spot of art and culture, the Hong Kong Arts Centre is an excellent place to start as the venue often has a series of exhibitions, performances, and screenings on show for the public. Culture vultures can also explore further into the Wan Chai neighbourhood to find street art by local and international artists for the HKWalls festival in 2019 (follow this map to discover them all!), or make their way to Foo Tak Building, where a handful of independent bookstores, galleries, handicraft shops, and artist studios reside. Last but not least, be sure to visit Odd One Out, a local art shop and exhibition space showcasing a range of fun and quirky artworks by a mixed pool of international and local artists.

Photograph: Courtesy Gov HK

Not into art? Then head over to HarbourChill, a themed harbourfront space located next to the Wan Chai Ferry Pier, and rent a pedal boat at the Water Sports and Recreation Precinct (Phase 2) to enjoy paddling within Victoria Harbour. After the excursion, treat yourself to some pampering and visit Plateau Spa at the Grand Hyatt to try the signature hot stone Plateau Massage or the lymphatic drainage Hong Kong Massage.

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Where to stay
Photograph: Courtesy Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

Where to stay

There are numerous hotel options in Wan Chai, but you can't go wrong staying at luxurious hotels such as the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong or The St.Regis Hong Kong, where you can enjoy stunning harbourviews and fine dining options. 

Photograph: Courtesy The Hair Hong Kong | Zoku

For something a little more affordable, opt for a stay at The Hari Hong Kong. Located between Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, the hotel offers views of the bustling city and is home to Italian restaurant Lucciola and Zoku, a lounge-style Japanese restaurant with an attached terrace bar that provides an open-air experience. Perfect for date nights. 

And just a short walk from Causeway Bay and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, you'll find the brand new boutique hotel under the MGallery Hotel Collection of Accor Group, Aki Hong Kong – Mgallery

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