1. Sheung Wan: Blake Garden
The neighborhood around Blake Garden has emerged from a macabre past to become an offbeat art and design district.
First settled by Chinese migrants in the mid-19th century, it quickly became an overcrowded slum after colonial authorities excluded non-Europeans from the more spacious streets of Central.
In 1894, a massive outbreak of the plague killed thousands here. In response, the government razed part of the area to build Blake Garden, Hong Kong’s first public park.
Today, the park anchors a quiet collection of laneways, staircase streets and pedestrian-only terraces lined by low-rise buildings.
Traditionally home to printers, coffinmakers, woodworkers and other craftsmen, the area’s low-key atmosphere has attracted a new generation of design studios, art galleries and cafés.
There are plenty of worthy old-timers, too, like Yuk Kin Fast Food, which serves light meals and tasty milk tea, and Ho Luen Kee’s junk shop, which is always good for kitschy old treasures.
For a more haunting glimpse at the area’s past, venture into the 159-year-old Kwong Fuk Tsz Temple at 40 Tai Ping Shan Street, where residents maintain a shrine to the area’s deceased.
How to get there: Sheung Wan MTR, exit A2. Walk for six minutes up Hillier Street and Ladder Street until you reach Bridges Street.
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