Save to List: Mike Pickles’ Hong Kong
A world’s worth of recommended spots from our global community
words – mike pickles
location – hong kong, hong kong
At boom saloon, we’re incredibly privileged to collaborate with a community of hundreds of talented creatives all around the world, stretching from Ecuador to Egypt, China to Canada, Austria to Angola. Our strong relations have afforded us a wealth of insider insights into the best places to visit, eat and stay, all around the world. Now, we want to share this information with you as we work with our community to map the world and share their best recommendations of how to enjoy destinations both near and far. Our version of a city guide, delivered interactively and in real time – curated for all to enjoy and presented as a savable Google Map for our members to save and bookmark a wealth of future adventures.
Hong Kong is often revered as a leading location for creativity, art and culture from around the world.
Today, as it emerges from three years of pandemic isolation, a growing number of Hong Kong artists and art spaces are also addressing sustainability issues in their works and in the practice of their making and displaying – from the materials and venues used, to concepts covered. The result is an array of dynamic spaces that cater to a new range of audiences adamantly pursuing a brighter future.
In this month’s Save to List, Hong Kong based photographer Mike Pickles shares his handpicked selection of the city’s finest museums and creative art spaces that merge old and new, industrial and domestic, international and local. Read on for the details, including a special recommendation for an escape into nature that provides respite and inspiration.
01_M+ Museum + West Kowloon
One of the newest additions to the Hong Kong art scene is a striking building sitting on the West Kowloon peninsula overlooking Victoria Harbour. It’s home to some impressive collections, from international art to local HK features. It is worth taking a few hours to explore all the rooms, take in the expansive architecture and once you’re done, you can explore the West Kowloon waterfront area: sit by the harbour and enjoy a sunset drink while taking in the cityscape.
02_Tai Kwun + PMQ
This area is home to a few old and new spots worthy of exploration: two heritage sites within Central HK, both within easy walking distance of each other so perfect for an afternoon wander. The old prison, Tai Kwun, has been refurbished into a mixed-use space showcasing the heritage buildings and some art galleries, along with themed bars and restaurants. Heading over to PMQ, another old police building is home to several levels of small, independent creative shops. It’s a great spot for locally made crafts and well curated shopping: highly recommended if you’re looking for a unique gift or souvenir. There are several galleries to explore amongst the shops, too.
03_Ping Pong 129
One of the longer standing bars in the area, with strong ties to the Hong Kong art scene. It’s a spot that often holds artist talks, openings, and gallery events – and has a great selection of G&Ts.
04_Lok Cha Tea House + HK Park
Another inner city escape, this one sits right in the heart of it all. Lok Cha is an excellent old tea house and vegetarian dim sum spot. After enjoying a delicious meal [served with copious amounts of tea], you can take a leisurely stroll through the Hong Kong gardens. It’s a verdant escape with wildlife, an aviary, quiet corners and great lookout spots to experience the Hong Kong skyline away from the usual tourist-y crowds.
05_Chi Lin Nunnery
The sheer vertical scale and constant thrum of the city is a big part of what makes Hong Kong so inspiring. Equally inspiring is being able to get away from the noise every once in a while: Chi Lin Nunnery is perfect for this. Often quiet, the surrounding gardens and temple are ideal for a slow and peaceful walk, offering time to think and digest, and find inspiration in the old buildings.
Once an old textile mill in the 1950s, now turned into a retail and cultural and arts space, The Mills is another renovation of old to create space for new. There are shops and cafes but also plenty of history, as well as dedicated art spaces with a focus on the textile industry from old Hong Kong. It’s slightly out the way but worth the trip.
07_Sham Shui Po down Shanghai Street
Sham Shui Po is one of the most interesting areas in Hong Kong for those who like to build and craft things. This one is a self-made walking tour exploring the more industrial sides of HK: starting at Sham Shui Po, On Ap Liu Street, there is an incredible market area with plenty to see. Expect to find anything electrical, tools, magnets, camera gear… even second-hand frying pans! – it truly has everything and is full of life and energy. From here, you can walk south, passing the old fabric streets where there are plenty of fabric shops but also newly-introduced record stores, hipster barber shops, stores selling handmade tchotchkes and enough coffee shops to fuel all of Hong Kong; it’s an eclectic mix of old and new. From here, keep walking south, heading towards Shanghai Street. You could veer off and detour to see the flower market from here, but then you’ll be stuck carrying the inevitable indoor palm trees you can’t help but buy. Instead, walk all the way down Shanghai street, straight down through several districts. This will take you past tool shops, material shops, then eventually onto Kitchen Street for all your kitchen hardware needs. This is all industrial shopping; there are so many interesting little bits and pieces, materials, tools and things that could be used to make something or anything.
08_Traditional art shop central – Man Luen Choon
A classic Hong Kong Art shop. Head here to find traditional art supplies.
It isn’t a complete Hong Kong list – even an art-related one – without mentioning hiking. Again, this is all about contrast: being in the heart of the tallest and most densely populated city is made all the more inspiring when you can so easily escape it all and be up a 700m mountain within the hour. There are hikes aplenty where you can overlook the skyscrapers and sprawling cityscape, and hikes further out where you can be fully immersed in nature. This is the best inspiration when you need time and space to think. The vistas that hikes provide are the visual fodder for a lot of art that Hong Kong produces, and for good reason.
A note: Each month, we update our site as part of our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of our digital estate. The global emissions from the digital industry are on a par with those from the aviation industry, at almost 2% of total global emissions. What’s worse, this is increasing year on year. In an effort to lessen our impact, each month we compress and archive previous features and update our site with new content. Throughout the month, our current features are available to all to enjoy; our full digital archive is accessible to boom saloon members, in thanks for their support to use creativity to inspire and empower those facing challenges. Support our work and become a member by clicking here.