These historic buildings in Hong Kong prove that the 852 is more than just finance and skyscrapers.
Lovers of Hong Kong museums and art galleries will be happy to know that this city has a lot to offer when it comes to cultural heritage – you just need to know where to look! So, from the colourful streets of Kennedy Town to wild Sai Kung, we’ve explored Hong Kong from end to end to find the historic buildings in Hong Kong that can’t be missed.
Have you visited these historic buildings in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong owes a lot to its colourful past. The city’s rich history has been shaped by pirates, traders, royal queens, tribal clans, and more. However, when the concrete and glass towers begin to loom in and the capitalistic cacophony of rush hour hits, it’s easy to see why some might dismiss this history as fiction. Of course, the restored historic buildings of PMQ, Tai Kwun, and the Central Market, should all be at the top of your list of historical haunts. But if you’re ready to dig deeper, you can still find some authentic hidden historic buildings tucked between the skyscrapers that hark back to yesteryear.
1. Lui Seng Chun – HKBU School of Chinese Medicine
When it comes to historic buildings in Hong Kong, Lui Seng Chun is one of our favourites. Respectfully adapted from a four-storey shop house into a Chinese healthcare centre in 2012, this is the kind of place Hong Kong needs more of. The neoclassical building blends Chinese and Western architectural styles, with the gorgeous supporting granite columns and balconies being key highlights. Also, deep verandahs were designed to keep the interiors cool and prevent rain from coming in. Commissioned in 1929 by one of the founders of Kowloon Motor Bus Company, his family donated the building to the government in 2000. Now, glass panels are added to the verandahs and there’s an herbal tea shop display on the ground floor. Hong Kong heritage and architecture at its finest!
Lui Seng Chun, 119 Lai Chi Kok Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 3411 0628, 旺角荔枝角道119號雷生春堂
2. Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre
This picturesque site is made up of two main colonial-era structures that once belonged to the British Army, with an open air courtyard spanning the buildings. The two blocks are part of the remains of Whitfield Barracks, named after a British army commander. Although all the other barracks were removed to make way for Kowloon Park, these two were converted into a heritage centre and some inactive parts of the former Battery remain nearby. This conversion won the 2007 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards Jury Commendation for Innovation. Today, the place are home to exhibition galleries, educational rooms, and a reference library.
Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, Kowloon Park, Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2208 4400, 尖沙咀海防道九龍公園香港文物探知館
3. Red Brick House – Engineer’s Office of the Former Pumping Station
Although this place appears to be a modest red brick building, it’s in fact over a century old, possessing great historical and architectural merit. It’s the only surviving building of an 1895 Pumping Station, making it the oldest waterworks structure in Hong Kong. As part of one of the earliest systems to supply fresh water to the city, it featured steam-driven pumps imported from England which helped lower the mortality rate at the time. Significant features on the two-storey neoclassical building include the red brick façade, the wooden window shutters, and the unique pitched roof with Chinese clay tiles. There are a number of neighbouring historic buildings in the area, too.
Red Brick House, 8 Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2264 8108, 油麻地窩打老道8號紅磚屋（上海街舊抽水站工程師辦公室）
4. Blue House
You’ve seen the red house, now here’s a blue one! This blue-toned block is a four-storey 1920 tenement building which features a stunning mix of Chinese and Western architectural styles. Fun fact: the distinctive blue colour of this particular building is said to be due to the fact the decorators only had blue paint at the time. And while many only associate this historic block with the colour blue, it’s in fact part of a whole spectrum of colourful, interconnected heritage buildings on Stone Nullah Lane, including the Yellow House and Orange House. Having been given a new lease of life, the cluster is now a multi-functional complex, with residential units as well as community centres.
Blue House, 72-74A Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, p. 2117 5843, 灣仔石水渠街72-74A號藍屋
5. Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market
This incredible market is a living hub of community, culture, and life that mainly comes alive after dark. Spot fruit wholesalers and retailers bargain and barter on large deliveries of fresh produce, which are brought in during the wee hours of the morning on mammoth delivery trucks. Although most of the workers go home during the day, it’s still a beautiful site that is so aesthetically Hong Kong. Plus, some fruit stalls stay open to sell items during the day to regular passersby as well. Originally built in 1913, the main features of the site include the historic signboards on the outer walls of the buildings, and the original brick and stone structures.
Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market, Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 油麻地窩打老道油麻地果欄