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Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong Overview

Often described as an ecosystem in itself and a ghetto, Chungking Mansion is a famous building in Hong Kong. Located on Nathan Road, it is full of guesthouses offering a cheap residence, secret and infamous restaurants, and shopping stores. It is known as a haven for food lovers but also has a myriad of theories about what goes on inside the building, making it an almost mystery.

If there is one place that is synonymous to a quick fix, it is the Chungking Mansions. It has been the subject of the famous 1994 drama film named “Chungking Express” and also has a book written about it named “Ghetto at the Centre of the World”. Such high is the intrigue evoked by Chungking Mansions and its setting that bloggers and YouTubers go on quests to explore the building and the many activities that take place within the walls. 

Travellers strapped for cash or on tight budgets usually find affordable living here and from currency exchange to getting your hair (and keys too apparently) cut, it is something interesting for sure.

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Exploring Chungking Mansions

The sprawling Chungking Mansions building comprises of 17 stories divided among 5 blocks (A, B, C, D, E). Its labyrinthine structure and minimal upkeep have led to it being reputed for the cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong. It is as iconic for being a place where you can taste the globe as it is for being a chamber of commerce attracting immigrants from all over the world.

To begin with, as you enter from the main entrance you will pass through many currency exchange booths, on the right side there are mostly electronic and clothing stores and on the left side would be the food and grocery related stores. Each block has its own elevators, the first 2 floors are the “Chungking Express” Mall, packed with market like shops selling every random thing from pirated Bollywood discs, imitation handbags, mobile phones, food to henna, spices and dates, South Asian snacks and other low costing items. It also has 2 restaurants- Sher- e-Punjab and Turkish Kebab Restaurant. The floors above this are mainly hubs of hundreds of tiny and super affordable guest houses, some licensed and non-licensed food joints inhabiting 2000-4000 people.

Chungking Mansion
Entrance of Chungking Mansions
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Tips

1. The best way to go about if looking for a specific restaurant is to either ask the security guard as they can give the exact directions and you won’t get lost in this massive space.
2. Word of caution- Whatever fake or pirated products you buy from here are at your own risk and if they turn out to be duds then nobody can really help you.
3. The Chungking Mansions was/is still known for rampant illicit activities like buying a packet of something illegal (den for drugs), red light district related affairs. It has been a refuge for petty criminals, scammers and illegal immigrants so watch out for yourself and be careful of any suspicious acts.

How To Reach Chungking Mansions

As the Chungking Mansion is located right in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, easy access is available to all major transportation options. If travelling by the MTR, reach the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, take Exit E and Chungking Mansions is right across the road.

Visitors can also get there via the airport bus. The Ground Transportation Centre is located outside the Arrival Hall on the right side, from there follow the directions, take the city bus A21 and get off at the stop number 14 which is the Middle Road, Nathan Road. Ferries can also be used to reach here.

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