Visiting Causeway Bay

Our favorite Hong Kong neighborhood

Causeway Bay is a lively district in Hong Kong known for great shopping, restaurants and hotels. I would compare it to Earl's Court in London- a couple of tube stops off the central part of town brings you a touch more local color and unexpected finds.

Take the MTR to the Causeway Bay stop. As you emerge from the F1 exit you're within steps of the Apple store is to your right in the Hysan Place mall, Jardine's Crescent market is directly across the street and not to be missed. 'Food Street' is 10 steps left, and the department stores and fashion district are two blocks further left. There is also a great grocery store called Jason's right behind you, before you even leave the station.

Causeway Bay seen from Hysan Place

Start off by strolling through Jardine's Crescent, camera in hand, for a real sense of a Hong Kong street market. There are some good finds to be had, as well as $5 (US) watches and T-shirts. Emerging at the far end of the market you will be on Jardine's Bazaar, a.k.a. Food Street, with busy Chinese diners, pastry shops, Thai food, Dim Sum, and even a Mexican burrito restaurant. By the time you've made the full circle back to Hennessy Road you can cross toward Sogo department store or go the other way toward Times Square and Lee Garden shopping centers.

If shopping isn't your thing (you're in the wrong city) you could take a hike up Caroline Hill Road and stop at the Hong Kong Stadium for photos, or head over to Victoria Park for a jog, tennis or a swim. There are frequently special events in the park depending on the time of year for your visit, such as the flower show in April.

Across Causeway Road from Victoria Park is the main Hong Kong library, a nice destination with frequent art shows in the ground floor gallery. But the real treasure lies in the small neighborhood directly behind the library, called Little Tai Hang. Bounded by Tai Hang Road and Tung Lo Wan Road, this tiny hidden neighborhood was once strictly auto repair shops, shoe repair, and the blue collar tradesmen. Today it hosts some of the trendiest restaurants and boutique hotels woven amid short, old-fashioned apartment blocks and the remaining grease monkeys.

If fashion is your passion head over to the Patterson Road 'Fashion Walk' on the North side of Hennessy. By the time you reach the end you can jump left to the Excelsior hotel. The lobby lounge is a great place to rest your feet over ice cream or satay. If your stomach is calling for some western fare take the stairs near the entrance down to Dickens Bar for fish 'n chips. They also have a daily lunch buffet.

Dumpling chefs at Din Tai Fung

If you're looking for Dim Sum try one of the world's best at the Michelin starred Din Tai Fung. This Taiwan based restaurant has spread around the world, largely on the taste of their soup-filled dumplings. It's on the ground floor of the Regal hotel which is also one of the best places to catch a taxi during rain or rush hour.

You can spend a lively day in Causeway Bay, but from experience we suggest choosing it as your home base. We like the Lanson Place hotel on Keswick Street at Leighton Road. It is modern, clean, with nice views on the upper floors. The staff is outstanding; polite and helpful at all times. The reception floor sports a library-lounge where they also serve breakfast. Check out the 'Twin Peaks' reminiscent public restroom.

Another interesting boutique hotel is the J-Plus around the corner on the same block. Originally designed by Philippe Stark, it's a wacky and wonderful conversion from apartments so the rooms are big and the lobby is a unique setting to meet friends. Neither hotel has their own restaurant, but both have in-room kitchenettes and are steps away from Food Street.

The Rosedale, at the foot of Tai Hang Road does have a good restaurant and lounge in-house, and the rooms are suites with kitchenettes. The hotel caters to the mainland crowd and consequently the television programming is less western and more Chinese, but the prices are good and it's a clean, full-service establishment.