Tag Archives: Kowloon

Seeing Stars

Out here in Los Angeles we have the famous ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ where the famous (Spielberg) and somewhat famous (David Spade) have stars placed in their honor on the famous stretch of sidewalk. I had done my research before heading to Hong Kong and learned about their own version, ‘Avenue of Stars’, and I knew that this would be a place I would like to visit.  Learning that the Avenue of Stars was where Hong Kong honored their stars, I was even more inclined to see who I could spot since off the top of my head I named Jackie Chan, Wong Kar Wai, and Bruce Lee.

It is very easy to get to, like most things in Hong Kong. Hop on the MTR and find your way to Tsim Sha Tsui and follow the signs toward ‘Avenue of Stars’. It’s that simple. By the time I made it out to ‘Avenue of the Stars’ I had become comfortable navigating the MTR and this was only after 5 days and I am coming from a city that is not known for its public transportation system so you don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the MTR because it’s quite simple to follow.

As I made my way past the various museums that lined the shore, I found the beginning of the ‘Avenue of Stars’. I looked down and saw a few names I vaguely recognized and a few that surprised me because I did not know they were from Hong Kong or were influential to the country’s artistic endeavors. I’ll be honest, I went there for the sole purpose of seeing Jackie Chan’s star and the Bruce Lee statue so I made my way, somewhat hastily, down the path until I saw a small group of people standing above a star and taking photos of and with it – I knew it was Jackie Chan’s.

I’ve always loved Jackie Chan’s movies. From the first time I saw ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ I knew this guy was awesome. That got me into ‘Supercop’, ‘Gen X Cops’, ‘Rumble in the Bronx’, his animated series – ‘Jackie Chan Adventures’ and then the ‘Rush Hour’ movies (but not the 3rd one, that was awful) and the ‘Shanghai Noon/Knights’ films.


From there I could easily see the Bruce Lee statue which is exquisitely detailed with the muscles and veins popping out as if they were real.


From there, I was pleasantly surprised to find some more names I recognized in Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh:


Jet Li


Michelle Yeoh

All in all this was a fun experience for the film geek in me because I grew up watching, and still watch, the films from these actors, actresses and directors. As I basked in the memory of their films, a ship with a recognizable shape floated in the distance and was getting larger with each passing second. I recognized it by its sails to be a Junk ship. I stood at the railing hoping to get a closer look at the famous vessel that has sailed these waters since the 2nd century CE. I was not disappointed.  Seeing this iconic ship was a great way to end my last day in Hong Kong.


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A Symphony of Lights

No trip to Hong Kong, and Kowloon for that matter, is complete without seeing A Symphony of Lights.


Star Ferry


If you’re on the island of Hong Kong at 8pm you won’t be able to see much, other than flashing lights. Hop on the Star Ferry, which as it turns out is cheaper than the MTR at 2.50HK, and get off at Tsim Sha Tsui (or TST as one of my friends calls it) and follow the coast to the best viewing spot at Avenue of Stars. You can also take the MTR and get off at Tsim Sha Tsui and follow the same directions to Avenue of Stars. There are signs at the MTR exit to direct you and, most likely, there will be a lot of people going to the same place.

Get there early and pick a spot on the water’s edge and wait for the show to start. It’s a wonderfully choreographed display of lights and music on a grand scale. I won’t go into more detail about the show because it needs to be seen and experienced first hand as words cannot completely convey all that goes on. I will just leave you all with this photo from my experience.


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Swoon For Kowloon

Quick ask me to name someone from Kowloon Bay.

Answer: Cassandra from Wayne’s World. Yes she’s fictitious but that’s all I got.

Up until this point my journey in Hong Kong was limited to the islands except for that one trip I made to the Ozone Bar which is on the Kowloon Bay side, so I decided to find more things for me to see and do by venturing across the bay. Getting there is easy, I just hopped on the Tsuen Wan line and in a few short minutes I was across the bay and taking in a very different side of Hong Kong. I didn’t see the Aston Martin’s or Ferrari’s cruising around or see expats in suits talking about finance and other boring business stuff. I saw Hong Kong. And when I say that I mean I saw the version of Hong Kong I had in my mind before I arrived. Let me tell you, coming from a town in South Africa that is wide open and small at the same time this was a bit of a culture shock for me. But that did not stop me from exploring.

My journey began at the Mong Kok station because I was looking for a particular soccer jersey and I read about a few shops that might carry it in that area. I exited the station on the correct side and immediately I knew I was out of my depth as the signs – neon’s and banners alike – were large and covering the sky and the buildings seemed much closer together mainly because there were hundreds – if not thousands – of people on the streets all doing their shopping. My plan went out the window right there. I knew which direction I needed to go but could not find the soccer shops at all. I turned a corner and found myself in the middle of a street market. Watches, handbags, luggage, belts, shirts, dresses, magnets, scarves, and jewelery lined the walls of the 15-foot tall tents that lined the street. And when I say lined the walls, I mean from floor to ceiling a product was hanging to let the buyer know what they had. I saw a few TON of soccer jerseys but not the one I was searching for which is partially what I had expected but I was overwhelmed at the sheer volume of choices.

I walked up and down the street market, which felt like it took about about a mile of road but in actuality must have only been 1/4 mile, and glanced into each and every tent hoping to find something to buy but I had no idea what I was looking for and I came unprepared for this adventure as the cash in my wallet was low and I doubted any of these places accepted Visa.

As I wandered aimlessly up the street peeking into each and every shop I began to see the same items from earlier shops and I wondered what, if any, were the price differences from each shop. This thought left my mind as quickly as it entered because in typical John fashion I stumbled upon Ladies’ Street. Stumbled is a bit dramatic, I just kept walking in the same direction and happened upon it, but stumbled sounds more inspiring and spontaneous. As you can imagine the Ladies’ Street Market sells items geared toward women – but I checked it out anyway. I found nothing to buy. *Frowny Face*

After walking up and down the streets for what felt like hours searching for things to buy – and having no idea what I was looking for other than a soccer jersey – I decided to call it an afternoon and head back because there is only so much shopping I can do in one day, and I didn’t even shop.

mong kok

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


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