The ultimate guide to Chungking

The ultimate guide to Chungking Mansions

The simultaneously iconic and notorious Chungking Mansions is full of wonders – and while many Hongkongers and visitors may have sought out a suit or a curry in the infamous landmark, there’s so much more to this building than one can experience through such a fleeting encounter. In this expansive feature, we explore every nook and cranny of the building to uncover the incredible secrets that lie within. By TOHK staff.

An irresistible sense of mystery lurks over Chungking Mansions. For many, it’s a fabled hotbed of inequity; that place your mother warned you never to go to. Others think of it as an endearingly sketchy labyrinth; the best place to spot an authentic curry or to stay the night on a budget (disclaimer: those hostels are cheap for a reason).

Located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, ‘The Mansions’ are actually formed of five 17-storey blocks within three buildings; all connected at the bottom by notoriously terrible lifts. In this prime spot, Chungking could easily be like any of the other flashy Nathan Road malls. But it’s not. Instead, its small, cave-like entrance is frequented by African merchants lugging suitcases filled with mobile phones and South Asian salesmen touting copy watches, suits and hash. It’s clear to see why it was famously called ‘the most globalised spot on the planet’. The lower floors are full of curry houses and shops selling anything from whisky to phones, from cardamom to dildos; the upper floors are where you’ll find some residential apartments and the infamous guesthouses.

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