Hong Kong is the most expensive city I’ve stayed in. The accommodation costs are so high that it makes visiting difficult for backpackers.
We found low cost accommodation in the infamous Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST). It is often referred to as “Hong Kong’s last ghetto”.
This huge block is made up of markets on the first two floors and guesthouses and hostels on the next fifteen. There’s barely any Chinese faces here. It’s heavily dominated by Indians and people from the Sub-Sahara. Inside you wouldn’t think it was Hong Kong.
Inside Chungking Mansions
As soon as you enter you have people offering you a room, a fake watch, hash, you name it, they sell it. You can’t walk through the building without being jumped on by a seller.
– this is a great place to buy a SIM card for mobile Internet.
– I also learnt that I look like someone who would buy a fake handbag.
It’s separated into 5 blocks, A to E. Each block has its own lift. The lifts were very slow with longs waits when we came back in the evening. Cameras were everywhere which helped to make it feel safe – as safe as one can feel in this huge block of random people. The lifts had cameras and beeped every time they went over the weight limit, so they weren’t that scary.
We didn’t even attempt to use the stairs as we were on floor 11 and they looked too sketchy.
On arrival we found out there was a main check-in desk in C block. Here guests are checked-in to various guest houses. Even though we booked Comfort Guest House E we were put in another guest house on that floor.
The rooms do not look like this picture! I forgot to take a photo of the room but imagine a tiny, white tiled room that only fits a double bed, with hooks on the back of the door and no room for luggage. We put this under our bed and took turns opening our suitcases on the bed. The shower hangs over the toilet and uses an electric heater that needs time to heat up.
Despite the size of the room, it was clean and they tidied it everyday. Plus there was aircon, noisy, but it did the trick.
There was a Chinese family staying in the adjoining rooms. I’m not sure if they were living there or just on holiday. I didn’t feel that unsafe in the room and despite the young family around us, the room was fairly quiet.
One scary thing – there were two women sitting outside our room one night chain-smoking. The whole building is a fire hazard waiting to happen.
On the plus side the location was fantastic. It was right by TST metro station, Victoria Promenade, and walking distance to the Starline Ferry, which takes you over to Hong Kong Island.
I highly recommend Victoria Promenade and catching the light show at night.
Overall, the room was clean and even though it was small it was good for the price. I’m glad I had the experience of staying in Chungking Mansions but I wouldn’t stay there again.