An Expat Information to Dwelling within the Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

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Sheung Wan is a fascinating combination of new and old. In this Hong Kong district, you’ll find boutique eateries and trendy coffee shops to antiques stores, temples and art galleries. There are many layers of history in the neighbourhood too, from Sheung Wan Station to Hollywood Road. But before you explore this eclectic enclave, find out the ins and outs of what to do and where to go from this expat who calls Sheung Wan home!

Name: Heather Wright
From: Solihull, UK
Occupation: Teacher

sheung wan district hong kong

How long have you lived in Sheung Wan? 18 months.

Why this part of Hong Kong? Because it’s close to Central and halfway between where we both work. It’s also a really cool area with quirky back streets, and is walking distance to Central and Soho. It literally has everything you need on the doorstep!

What transport is available in your neighbourhood? Every option for getting around is available, from MTR to taxis, trams and buses, and with the ferry piers a short walk away.

An overview of Heather’s Sheung Wan neighbourhod

When you walk out of your house, what’s the first thing you see? Premium Food Limited and a busy coffee shop called Kaffeine, perfect for brunch, right across the street.

What’s the closest store to your front door? Sushi Masa – a great place for sushi lovers! Apart from a wide range of eateries, we have a French shop called Monsieur Chatté, which is ideal for grabbing a salad or cheese and wine.

Hollywood road and Sheung Wan District Hong kong
Heather out and about in Sheung Wan

What’s the unofficial uniform of your suburb? Jeans, trainers and jacket; casual and comfy all the way

If a celebrity moves in, who would it likely be? Zac Efron.

Where do you go when you’re in need of a dose of culture? To visit Man Mo Temple for a taste of culture and tradition away from the busy streets of Hong Kong.

What is a mandatory stop for taking out-of-town guests? Tai Ping Shan Street for all the cute eateries, shops and neighbourly vibes. Hollywood Road is great to visit too, as it’s a mix of old and modern with art galleries, antique stores, bars and the terrapin pond park.

What’s a common myth about your area? That the MTR station is haunted (see opposite).

What might wake you at 2am in your neighbourhood? My two-month-old baby girl needing a feed!

What does a massive late-night rager in your suburb involve? A bar crawl down Hollywood Road.

Some Sheung Wan highlights

What is your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joint? Corks wine bar on Hollywood Road for a catch-up with friends.

Where’s the best local food near you? Samsen Restaurant.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in your neighbourhood? Queues for Shiu Shing Hong opposite our building – not sure what they sell!

Where are the best bargains in the neighbourhood? Local artefacts, artwork and jewellery in the shops and market stalls along Upper Lascar Row.

What’s your guiltiest local pleasure? Pancakes for breakfast at Elephant Grounds on Hollywood Road.

What’s one thing you’d never change? The mix of modern and traditional culture and cuisine.

If the city gave you $5 million to soup up your area, what would you do? I would design and create a wellness/fitness park or open my own juice bar.

Sheung Wan district Hong Kong Hollywood Road

Sheung Wan: Did You Know?

A century and a half of British colonial rule in Hong Kong began in Sheung Wan, at Possession Point, now Hollywood Road Park. The British navy held a flag-raising ceremony there on 25 January 1841, and the road next to the spot was named Possession Road (still is today) – it ran down to the waterfront, which was much closer back then prior to land reclamation.

Speaking of land reclamation, after a huge fire burnt through hundreds of homes and the Sheung Wan Market in 1851, rubble from the destroyed neighbourhood was used together with soil from nearby hills in one of the earliest land reclamation projects in Hong Kong: construction of a new road along the water.

In the late 1800s, when Sheung Wan was known as Tai Ping Shan, bubonic plague broke out in the area for the first time, and outbreaks would occur almost annually until the late 1920s, with 20,000 people dying from the disease. The cause is likely to have been via rats and fleas brought in on opium ships.

sheung wan station
A tram beside Western Market (HK’s oldest market building, dating back to 1906)

Ghosts of Sheung Wan

Sheung Wan Station opened in 1986 and served as the western terminus of the Island line of the MTR all the way up to 2014, when the line was extended to Kennedy Town. At the time of opening, the station had some additional platforms (now sealed off by brick walls) that were part of the planned Rumsey Station, earmarked as the adjoining terminus of the East Kowloon line. The latter is still a proposed line today, but the Rumsey Station plan was abandoned.

Rumours grew that the abandonment was due to fatalities during the construction period, and stories persist to this day of sightings of the ghosts of deceased workers, and of screams coming from behind the boarded-up section of Sheung Wan Station.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.



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