Jamie | Founder of J3 Private Tours Hong Kong | Offering Award Winning Private Tours of Hong Kong
The fabulous dodgy buildings in Mong Kok, Kowloon
1960's walk ups in Mong Kok, a real working class area in Hong Kong
They look pretty bad and for the most part they are but they can be very expensive depending on their proximity to the MTR (Subway System) people will put up with a lot and pay over the odds for that convenience.
On my private walking tours of Hong Kong I like to visit older parts of Hong Kong - pre 2nd World War buildings are almost all gone, an old building these days in Hong Kong is from the early 1960's like the one in the image.... the signs are a Hong Kong thing particularly the old neon signs, a lot of which have vanished in a Government crackdown over the past 5 years on old and dangerous signs, companies put them up and forget about them... they rust, they fall, they hurt people and damage property.
oh... and it doesn't matter if you write Mong Kok or MongKok, both are used and both are acceptable and rather oddly some people when I visit Mong Kok refer to it as Chinatown!!
The gentrification of Mong Kok in Hong Kong has started
Mong Kok gets all modern
When I am walking on the streets of Hong Kong I am often asked "do you prefer old Hong Kong or new Hong Kong?" - there is no easy answer, Hong Kong has so few old colonial / historic buildings these days and it seems our new buildings just get taller and taller.
I do actually like a mixture of old and new but by old I mean buildings of over 100 years old, all the great cities around the World get the mix right, we don't here given that a building from the 1960's is considered old and certainly here the occupants simply do not seem to care about building exteriors primarily because it seems they just wait for the URA (Urban Renewal Authority) to come pay a visit with a blank cheque to get rid of them and knock down the building so why waste money on paint and repair work?
Yup, the URA is a Government Department charged with the modernisation of the older parts of Hong Kong and they can pay silly money to knock down your apartment block and replace it with one like is shown in the image.
...and yes, I do like these modern apartment blocks, totally unaffordable but they really do add something to the neighbourhood.
Cars now being towed from outside Princes Building in Central, Hong Kong
A first for me, a car being towed outside Princes Building
As a private walking tour guide I see a lot of stuff on the streets which is is great for me as a photographer as I get a lot of image opportunities that most people do not get.
This is one such moment.
Honestly i never thought I would see a car being towed in Hong Kong for illegal parking, in fact I have never once seen a car being towed (cars are my thing) - put simply, people here could not care less about parking illegally as the price of a "ticket" is cheaper than legal parking and the rich folk, well a parking ticket is the equivalent price of a bottle of soda and frankly the drivers of the cars are more terrified of their boss than a ticket happy cop or traffic warden.
Princes Building on Chater Road in the business district on Hong Kong Island is a notorious black spot for illegal parking, essentially the drivers park, 2 / 3 abreast whilst they wait for the mistress of the house to go shopping or for a gossip in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Coffee Shop over the road from Princes Building.
So it seems the Police are taking it a little more seriously and good for them, these boorish, ignorant drivers cause chaos all day with their illegal parking but to be fair who can blame them, they are expected to wait for the car occupant (which could be hours) and woe betide them if they are not parked outside... the rich folk here have never cared about anyone other than themselves, they simply do not think that the laws apply to them.
Jacob + Co Watch HK$5,154,300 or US$660,808 - Hong Kong Culture
I love fancy watches
I suspect my guests would be a bit perturbed if I strutted around with a Jacob + Co watch worth US$660,808 - as much as I love this watch, I make do with a mud resistant Casio G Shock watch which is more befitting my status as a man of the people, private tour guide.
This is not the most expensive watch I have seen on display in a shop in Hong Kong but is certainly the most flamboyant, just lovely.
In case you are wondering, these watches are revered by the newly minted rich Chinese people from China who I imagine like to leave the price tag on the watch when they wear it to let everyone know they are minted!! it is simply astonishing the number of luxury watches sold on a daily basis in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong market is the biggest market in the world for the Swiss watch industry.
Swiss watch exports in April 2018 were up 43% over April 2017 fuelled by Mainland Chinese people visiting Hong Kong.
On a Hong Kong tour you will see this for yourselves, it seems fancy watch stores outnumber 7 - 11 stores 5 to 1!
note to Jacob + Co - give me one of these watches and I will wear it and promote it on my private walking tours of Hong Kong, as Fat George Clooney I would make a great brand Ambassador.
The Clock Tower, TST Promenade, Kowloon, Hong Kong
The Clock Tower
Nice, very nice.
I am big fan of the Clock Tower, opened in 1915 so it is old and it was at the entrance to Kowloon Station / The Kowloon Canton Railway.
They demolished the station in the 1970's but (after careful consideration) decided to keep this awesome monument... it is probably the most famous meeting place in Hong Kong, we only have one Clock Tower and this is it., it's location next to the Star Ferry pier in TST, Kowloon makes it easy to find.
In case you are wondering, that big black metal statue is by some odd French artist... it looks like something out of a Judge Dredd movie.
Naturally there is something about the Clock Tower which makes no sense... it is all about a bell., now to me a Clock Tower (much like a Church) has to have a bloody great big bell, that rings 4 times an hour (or whatever) - the Clock Tower has such a bell, but instead of it being at the top and ringing 4 times an hour, it is located at ground level, in other words you look through the window and see this magnificent bell on some wooden blocks????? totally bloody illogical if you ask me.
The Clock Tower was renovated in 2017, it was under wraps for months, it was the perfect opportunity for the authorities to hire a great big mobile crane and lift the bell back into it's original position at the top of the Clock Tower so it could ring again, how hard can it be?? sometimes (well always actually) I wonder about the stupidity of the people working in the Antiquities and Monuments Office in Hong Kong, it is not like they have a lot of buildings to look after.
....anyway, I visit the Clock Tower on most days when I take my guests on a private walking tour of Hong Kong.
Oh my golly gosh, the simply amazing Pagani Zonda Absolute - this is a custom made car and is rumoured to be the only one of it's kind in the world and it is in Hong Kong!... oh... and yes, this is my picture, talk about being in the right place at the right time.