Hong Kong is a vibrant city with plenty of architecture and delicious food to eat, but sometimes you stumble into the wrong area.
We stayed at Park Guest House in Chungking Mansions in the Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon area. Chungking Mansions is known to be home of the cheapest accommodations in Hong Kong. Now, before you judge anybody, remember that I be ballin’ on a budget, but also remember that even seasoned travelers make rookie mistakes. So we booked this presumed to be great place with little-to-no extra research.
Upon arrival, I swear it just seemed like a busy and bustling place to me! Low and behold, we stayed in one of the seediest places in Hong Kong. Chungking Mansions is an 18-story apartment building with a shopping area on the bottom floor. The building is composed of various short-term accommodations, which seem to end up turning into long-term accommodations for many. It’s know as a place for foreigners – Indians, Africans, Southeast Asians and any “others” that have found themselves in Hong Kong. As far as Chungking Mansions gossip goes, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what people said about the place, but I would say the first red flag was the extremely long wait for the elevator because there are only two in the entire building. As the child of a firefighter, I knew immediately about how unsafe that was.
Our particular room at Park Guest House hostel had a nice sized bed and a private bathroom. There was a window, a fan, an aircon and even a television. The bedding was also just fine and didn’t creep me out at all, which says a lot because bedding is always a tell-tale sign of how janky a place is. The check-in staff was also very pleasant!
It wasn’t until our last night of staying there that we learned of the stories about Chungking Mansions. There were articles that mentioned pushy salesmen, sex workers, drugs, and even death. The pushy salesmen were selling phone chargers and selfie sticks, I did not see any blatant sex work happening, and only once did someone mention weed to me, but I just brushed it off and kept it moving. I’ll be honest, had we known about the negatives we definitely would’ve passed on staying there, but we made a rookie mistake and we live to tell the tale! I will say, I never once felt unsafe because of the people in the building. If there was anything that scared me it was definitely the elevator situation because seriously, if that place went up in flames….let’s just say R.I.P.
Even with all of the gossip and whispers Chungking Mansions to still stand tall.
The main reason absolutely being its location. The building is smack in the middle of so much greatness, although the place itself is a dumpster fire. There are great places to eat, shop and two metro stations in the immediate area. Understand that this isn’t an article telling you to go live your life on the edge, but I am saying if you’re ever in the Chungking Mansions area at least make sure to eat something good.