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Hong Kong: Past Tense

Hong Kong is known to many as a city that never sleeps. While modernity and skyscrapers have a firm hold here, there are plenty of pockets where the past still lingers. This is our journey into the Hong Kong that once was, and still is.

GETTING AROUND
The Star Ferry has changed little since it began ferrying folks between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central (and Wanchai) in 1888. As you sit in their reversible wooden seats, enjoy the scenic ride which beats taking the MTR or bus. When on Hong Kong island, take an incredibly cheap ride on the tram, the original carriages of which ply the same routes that remain unchanged since 1904.

Hong Kong from the Star Ferry at Tsim Sha Tsui




Hong Kong’s trams have been in operation since 1904



BEHIND THE SCENES
While Central is a bustling modern commercial district, take to the back alleys and streets, and you’ll find a Hong Kong that has persevered since the old days. From traditional butchers (with garish meat displays not for the faint-hearted) to flower vendors and ancient sundry shops, you’ll find almost anything in these hilly streets.

A street vendor in Central’s hilly streets



A very old-fashioned sundry shop



OLD PRACTICES
In Hong Kong, you need not head far to catch a glimpse of people doing things the way they have for hundreds of years. Here and there, you can see people praying in centuries’ old temples, playing the age-old game of checkers or getting their hair cut at an alley barber.

Playing Chinese Checkers at a park in Wanchai



A woman prays at Man Mo Temple



Traditional barber behind Hollywood Road



FAR FLUNG
Away from the city, a visit to Hong Kong’s outlying islands and villages is a trip back in time (and possibly another realm). Here, villagers still catch and dry their own food, and live in villages that are far removed from a city lifestyle. In Tai O, there’s even a ‘silver city’ – so named because every surface of every house of this small village is painted in silver (including their bicycles!).

Old fishing boats at Tai O



Drying fish at a fishing village



Traditional stilted village in Tai O



Dried fish hanging in the “Silver City” of Tai O

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