What’s there to do in Kowloon Tong other than changing trains or hanging out at that one shopping mall? Read on to find out more about this low-key amazing neighbourhood.
Let’s be honest, Kowloon Tong isn’t one of the most popular neighbourhoods out there. For one, it doesn’t have photogenic spots like Quarry Bay, nor is it on the Bright Side with the quaint Shek Tong Tsui and Tai Hang. In fact, Kowloon Tong is most likely known for its middle-class residential estates, premium houses, or simply being the interchange station between the green and light blue MTR lines. Nothing fun, really – or that’s what you think. Did you know that KLT is also home to some scenic hiking routes, boutique hotels (and motels, even), plus an ice skating rink? On that note, let’s take a dive into this underrated neighbourhood and give it some love!
A local’s guide to Kowloon Tong
Guide to Kowloon Tong: Restaurants & Cafes
1. J.S. Foodies
Founded by Journal Standard, a Japanese fashion brand, J.S. Foodies is a casual and popular restaurant situated inside i.t blue block in Festival Walk. The queues can get a little crazy sometimes, but if you’re lucky enough to get a table, make sure to try the restaurant’s fluffy pancakes. Using Japanese eggs and flour, these signature items are freshly made to order, resulting in buttery and super soft pancakes. If you’re preferring something savoury, J.S. Foodies’ American-style burgers will satisfy your carnivorous cravings with their juicy Angus beef patties.
J.S. Foodies, Shop LG2-30, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2265 8019, 九龍塘達之路80號又一城LG2層30號舖
2. Original Art
Tucked away inside the YWCA Lodge, which lies about five minutes away from Festival Walk, Original Art is a charming bistro that aims to deliver premium culinary art and an all-rounded gastronomic experience. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of options on the lunch set menu (there are ten, which is quite a lot considering the scale of the restaurant!), and the menus change seasonally. But, there are also some all-time best-sellers. These include the mussels mariniére, Caesar salad, confit de canard, and the lemon tart, among others.
Original Art, G/F, YWCA Lodge, 66 Begonia Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, p. 6932 7198, 九龍塘海棠路66號女青雅舍地舖原藝
With its reasonably priced weekday lunch and afternoon tea menus, Simplylife is one of the go-to spots for all-day dining in Kowloon Tong. Featuring an open kitchen, bakery, and cake room, you’ll be able to witness everything being freshly made, right in front of you. The restaurant offers a good range of hot dishes, including pasta, pizza, burgers, salads, and more. And even if you didn’t plan on eating at the restaurant, the aroma of its freshly baked goods and brewed coffee would draw you in.
Simplylife, Shop L2-30, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2777 5168, 九龍塘達之路80號又一城L2層30號舖
4. Lion Rock Bistro
Cosy and down-to-earth, Lion Rock Bistro is one of the neighbourhood favourites with its nostalgic touch. Located near the Baptist University (HKBU), the restaurant offers an array of Hong Kong-style Western dishes, ranging from the casual spag bol to the luxurious roast lamb racks, ling fillet a la cardinal, and more. The lunch and dinner set menus are often well received here, as they come with a hearty soup and a dessert to finish.
Lion Rock Bistro, Shops 2-4, G/F, Franki Centre, 320 Junction Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2338 8144, 九龍塘聯合道320號建新中心地下2-4號舖百味閣餐廳
Guide to Kowloon Tong: Things to do
5. Hike up Beacon Hill
Take in a bird’s eye view of the Kowloon Peninsula when you hike up Beacon Hill. Beginning from Lung Yan Road, the course takes about an hour to complete. Rather than a mountain trail, the route is mainly along a one-way road opened to cars (beware!). Experienced hikers may opt to head towards the Lion Rock via MacLehose Trail Section Five, which crosses the path with this hiking route. Otherwise, those feeling a little less adventurous can just relax and enjoy the little brooks and breathtaking views of the city along the way. BTW, there’s a photography hotspot near the Beacon Hill Approach Secondary Surveillance Radar Station. However, the small site is up on a slope and quite busy at times, so beware even if you decide to risk it for the ‘gram!
Beacon Hill, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, 九龍塘畢架山
6. Visit Shang Sin Chun Tong
Originally known as Peng Ying Ge (蓬瀛閣) in Dongguan, China, Shang Sin Chun Tong was moved to Hong Kong in 1952, and has since been one of the largest Taoist temples in Kowloon. It has several halls and altars, each housing different statues of the Taoist gods. Solemn and opulent, Shang Sin Chun Tong is also famous for being the home to the memorial tablets of two Cantopop stars: Anita Mui and Wong Kar-kui from Beyond.
Shang Sin Chun Tong, 7-8 Rutland Quadrant, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2336 1578, 九龍塘律倫街7-8號省善真堂
7. Ice skate at Festival Walk Glacier
Hate sweating? We feel ya. Luckily, at the Glacier, you can kick and glide as much as you want, without breaking much of a sweat. With lockers and skate rentals included, this ice skating rink is not only popular for children (there’s a skating school on site), but it can get really crowded during the weekends and on public holidays, too. So be careful of others whizzing by!
Festival Walk Glacier, Shop UG-21, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2844 3588, 九龍塘達之路80號又一城UG層21號舖
8. Take a stroll in Cornwall Street Park
Situated between Festival Walk and Kowloon Tong (East Rail Line) Station, Cornwall Street Park is truly an urban oasis. Not only are there Chinese-style pavilions, serene ponds, and even mini waterfalls near the top of the park, but with the park’s beautification scheme in 2012, the furniture and facilities have also been renovated. The benches and designs add contemporary and decorative elements to the park, complementing the surrounding lawns and trees. Whether you need to take a breather away from work, or are looking for a quiet spot to get in touch with nature, Cornwall Street Park is the ideal place to go in Kowloon Tong.
Cornwall Street Park, junction of Cornwall Street and Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, 九龍塘歌和老街與達之路交界歌和老街公園
9. Shop at Festival Walk
How can we not mention that one shopping mall in Kowloon Tong? Because to be honest, Festival Walk is probably the reason why most people even go to KLT in the first place. With over 200 shops and restaurants, plus a cinema and an ice skating rink, the family-friendly mall is an awesome one-stop entertainment centre. Among the many retail stores, Log-On and Toys ‘R’ Us are the most long-standing ones in Festival Walk, and remain to be the most frequented by visitors to this day.
Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2844 2222, 九龍塘達之路80號又一城
10. Have some fun in the motels 😉
If you’re a fan of old-school Hong Kong films and dramas, you would probably have known already that Kowloon Tong has been a hub for upscale motels and boutique hotels. This phenomenon actually began in the 80s and 90s, when nightclubs began to emerge in the nearby Yau Tsim Mong district. At the end of the night, KLT was the prime choice for couples due to its discrete but convenient location, plus its perceived eliteness compared to other neighbourhoods. Nowadays, there’s still a handful of quality motels around, making Kowloon Tong a good alternative for those who prefer to stay somewhere less busy than TST. Also, Kowloon Tong has transformed over the past two decades to contain more kindergartens and international schools – a huge contrast, isn’t it? ‘Tis a strange world we live in…
Motels and boutique hotels are found around Exit F of Kowloon Tong MTR Station