Walking on Stars, Hong Kong, China
9th of November 2014
Exploring the Tsim Sha Shui shoreline on Victoria Harbour. Toothpaste blobs, Plane...ariums, Bruce Lee photography skills and amazing cityscapes.
- Location: Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Hong Kong, China
- Start or End: Many public transport options. I started from the Tsim Sha Shui East Train Station and finished near the Star Ferry Pier.
- Length: 1.9km (1.2mi)
- Grade: Easy. Flat (some stairs though) and fully paved.
After a good night's sleep I am now recovered from the escapades of last night in Mong Kok and ready for my second day of metrotrekking in Hong Kong. The first cab off the rank is Tsim Sha Tsui, located on the southernmost point of the Kowloon peninsula and only a two stop ride on the subway from my hotel in Yau Ma Tei.
Why visit Tsim Sha Tsui? To see Victoria Harbour and the famous Hong Kong Island skyline is the simple answer. But apart from the spectacular views there are a number of attractions on the shoreline including the Hong Kong Space Museum, Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Kowloon Public Pier and the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower. Planning to stick to the outdoor attractions (i.e. free) today and will leave the indoor sights, such as museums, up my sleeve in case there is a rainy day (I will be there too early anyway). Being cheap and an early bird doesn't stop me from exploring the architecture of the museum buildings though.
Upon arrival to Tsim Sha Tsui I follow the signs to "Avenue of Stars" dotting the vast, but practically empty, underground walkways which link Tsim Sha Tsui station to East Tsim Sha Tsui station. I surface at Exit J, on the southern side of Salisbury Road and near Avenue of Stars and the other attractions. That was way too easy (say compared to last night's crushing Mong Kok crowds).
The first impressive structure I come across is the egg-shaped dome of the Hong Kong Space Museum.
The egg-shaped dome is home to the Hong Kong Space Museum's planetarium. Don't know what a planetarium is? It's like an aquarium but for the heavens. Basically, it is a large dome shaped projection screen which allows viewers sitting underneath to observe the relative motion of celestial bodies such as planets and stars. I visited a planetarium previously back in Australia and found it to be good bit of cheap entertainment. Whenever I hear about a planetarium I always think about that early South Park Episode where the boys visit the “Plane...arium” (South Park fans will know what I mean).
Next to the Hong Kong Space Museum is Salisbury Garden and Art Square, where I find a number of interesting art installations that make up the "Heaven, Earth and Man - A Hong Kong Art Exhibition". My favourite would have to be "Waterdrop" by Danny Lee.
The waterdrop looks more like a toothpaste blob to me. The shape is much too viscous for pure water and surely the surface tension would not allow such a peak to form (trust me, I have a PhD in interface science). Danny Lee really should have consulted me before naming this piece.
There are a number of other sculptures about Art Square and I dare say many more artworks in the adjoining Hong Kong Museum of Art, but you have to pay to see those (not much though). The Hong Kong Museum of Art also has a branch on the other side of Victoria Harbour, the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, which I visited yesterday in Hong Kong Park.
After enjoying a sculptural walk I head towards the shoreline of Victoria Harbour and into another, more well-known Hong Kong art scene: cinema, particularly action flicks. Everyone knows the names of Hong Kong action film legends like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, and it is here at the Avenue of Stars that names such as these and others like Jet Li and John Woo are honoured. It's basically the Hong Kong equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.
At the Avenue of Stars I am greeted by a giant replica of the statuette given to winners at the Hong Kong Film Awards set against a famous Hong Kong backdrop.
Before exploring the Avenue of Stars I am distracted by the view across Victoria Harbour.
What a view! I have heard it's even better at night. Luckily for me yesterday's gloomy conditions have cleared so I capture my first glimpse of Victoria Peak (locally known as "The Peak") behind the towering skyscrapers. Walking around The Peak and the adjoining sections of the Hong Kong Trail is definitely something I want to experience on this holiday. It would be great to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and explore some of Hong Kong's natural landscapes. Hopefully the weather holds up.
Along the 440 m long Avenue of Stars are plaques honouring celebrities (those living include hand prints) and storyboards retelling the history of Hong Kong Cinema. The most popular items among the tourists are obvious.
I really should be congratulated for capturing photos of these plaques and statues in a polite manner. The time required to get a clear shot was phenomenal as tourists would spend forever attempting the perfect shot with their loved ones. The Bruce Lee statue was the worst. And don't get me started about those bloody selfie-sticks. As soon as I saw my chance at a clean shot I jumped in, clicked and was out of there within milliseconds. I now like to refer to myself as the Bruce Lee of tourist-trap photography. There were other statues popular among the tourist hoards, but I had absolutely no idea who the person or character was so I didn’t even bother.
The Avenue of Stars is a tourist-trap, but it's free and if you are really into the Hong Kong film scene you will probably love it. For me, staring and plaques on ground is not my sort of thing, especially when lifting your head provides scenes like this.
Another great vantage point is a lookout/pedestrian overpass at the eastern end of Avenue of Stars.
I walk back through Avenue of Stars, past the Hong Kong Museum of Art and capture some arty shots of the Hong Kong Cultural Centres sharp lines.
Between the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the shoreline of Victoria Harbour is the Kowloon Public Pier. I suggest visiting the top, uncovered floor of the pier as it provides access to great views, not only of the Hong Kong city but also the Clock Tower which was part of the old Kowloon-Canton Railway terminus.
Can't believe I am saying this, but I think I have had enough views of the Hong Kong city skyline for today. Definitely want to come back to the Kowloon Public Pier when the sunsets, but for now it's time to head inland and explore the greenery of Kowloon Park, which is only a short walk away.
Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Have you taken this walk? Any suggestions or errors? Please comment below.