WAN CHAI DISTRICT, VISIT

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English / USA Language: English / USA

Among the most interesting buildings you can enjoy in Wan Chai are three which are grouped together into a single project called “Viva Blu House”: the Blue House, the Yellow House and the Orange House.

The three were built between the 1920s and the 1950s in western style, and are interesting because of their unmistakably vibrant colors as well as the mix of European and oriental features. You’ll notice that many of the buildings that you’ll discover along the way look somewhat dilapidated, but this lends the neighborhood a particular historical charm, giving an idea of what it has been through over the years.

In a completely different style is the Nam Koo Terrace, or Red House, from the early 20th century. It is an elegant red brick villa that must have been a delight to behold 100 years ago. During the Japanese occupation, the owners were forced to abandon their home, and it is believed to have been used as a brothel for Japanese officers.

Another two buildings of historical interest, which served the local community for decades, are the tiny old post office from 1913, and the police station from 1932.

There are also a number of temples in the neighborhood, including one of the largest on Hong Kong Island: the Pak Tai Temple in Lung On Street.

This place of worship with three halls, dedicated to Pak Tai, the god of the sea, dates to 1863. In the main hall, there is a three-meter-high statue, sculpted some 400 years ago. This building is simply fabulous, featuring a wealth of statues and decorations both inside and outside that will leave you awestruck. Note the dragon sculptures at the sides of the entrance stairs, and the colored dragons on the roof: they represent peace, fortune and wealth.

 

An interesting fact: speaking of the Japanese invasion of China I mentioned earlier, I recommend the splendid film by Steven Spielberg, Empire of the Sun, about Westerners imprisoned during the Japanese occupation. Among them were a number of women who were forced to live in the “comfort stations” as prostitutes for the Japanese soldiers, such as the Red House in Wan Chai.

 

Our visit to Wan Chai ends here. MyWoWo would like to thank you - see you again at another Wonder of the World!

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