Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 HK Trip - Knowing Hong Kong through MTR Stations Part 2

Location: S.A.R. Hong Kong, China

Note: This is an article continuing from Knowing Hong Kong through MTR Stations Part 1.

Kowloon (九龍)

Traditional Chinese: 九龍
Simplified Chinese: 九龙
Cantonese Jyutping: gau2 lung4
Pin Yin: Jǐu Lǒng
Pronounced as: gau loong

Being a transliteration of "Nine Dragons", the origin of the name is an interesting one. A legend (may be historically true as well) recounted that the Song Emperor Bing (宋帝昺) was in the area with his court and he counted eight mountains. 

The Chinese believed that each mountain was in reality a dragon in disguise and the Emperor would like to name the place as such ("Eight Dragons" that is). A witty courtier immediately corrected him that there were nine dragons instead. Where was the ninth one then? The Emperor of course! Talk about bootlicking (source from Asia Travel)...

Prince Edward
Traditional Chinese:
 太子
Cantonese Jyutping:
 taai3 zi2
Pin Yin: 
Tài Zǐ 
Pronounced as: taai zhee


The origin of this station's name is quite interesting - the transliteration of 太子 is actually "Crown Prince", so how did Prince Edward comes into play? The station is named according to the major roads Prince Edward East and Prince Edward West in the area. The latter are in turn named after Edward VIII of United Kingdom, who was Crown Prince when he visited (from Wikipedia).


In fact, most of the elder generation remembered Kowloon for its famed (or infamous) Kowloon Walled City although only the memory of it is left now. The areas nearer to Victoria Harbor are more modern in comparison to other areas of the peninsula.

In fact, I was quite surprised when I arrived on my first day of the trip to stay in Mong Kok by the relatively cluttered and ancient buildings. It was as though the Hong Kong of decades ago had been frozen and retained its state from then until now.

Mong Kok
Traditional Chinese:
 旺角
Cantonese Jyutping: Wong6 Gok3
Pin Yin: 
Wàng Jiǎo

Pronounced as: wong gok


A trip to Hong Kong should not miss this area - this is as important to the trip as much as Disneyland is. The heritage of Hong Kong is shown in its entirety, from the cluttered ancient buildings to busy pedestrians roaming the streets at 1a.m. Its name says it all - "prosperous corner". It is here that you will find most of the famed hawker streets, from Fa Yuen Street to Tung Choi Street. Be warned though, it is here that you will encounter the famed rudeness of Hong Kong more than anywhere else, if that is even possible.

Even so, Hong Kong is ever the sleepless city and none more obviously so than the streets lining West Kowloon. Enter a restaurant and be amazed by the closing time of 3a.m., or marvel at the relative hustle at 1a.m. as though the sun has just set on the city.

Tsim Sha Tsui
Traditional Chinese:  尖沙咀
Cantonese Jyutping: Zim1 saa1 zeoi2
Pin Yin:
 Jiān Shā Zǔi
Pronounced as: jim sha joei


Where Mong Kok preserved the ancient buildings of Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui presents it in a nice wrapping. This is the gathering place for Avenue of Stars, museums and various kind of centers. This is the stop for cultural and history fanatics, as well as classy hotels and glamorous shopping. This is place which transliterates into "sharp sandy mouth".

As oppose to the grandeur of the northern coast of Hong Kong island (香港島), Kowloon is somewhat the antithesis of the coast's gleaming infrastructures and sky scraping towers. Still, most of the cultural centers lie within this piece of peninsula, with most of them congregated around Tsim Sha Tsui, beckoning travelers to enter and understand what made Hong Kong and its people the way it is today. 

To the eastern side of the area, Wong Tai Sin temple brought its fame to bear. While it may be internationally famous, nothing prepared me for the pleasant surprise which lies nearby of it, despite the strong recommendation from my friends that the place is well worth a visit. This piece of hidden jewel shall be part of my later entries for the interested readers.

More reading is available here for Kowloon:





Environment:         Transportation hub
Suitable for:           As a popular means of transportation, the MTR stations allow the traveler to see people from different walks of life and the way they interact with each other. A definite way to see Hong Kong.




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