Kowloon Walled City Park

Tens of thousands once lived in an eleven story ghetto area in Kowloon.

Many people were addicted to drugs, and there was much drug related crime.

The old buildings were demolished and the area was landscaped and turned into a park.

The park has some old Qing Dynasty-era architecture and two cannons dating to 1802.

Very close to the museums and attractions in Tsim Sha Tsui.

What happens when an urban area has almost no government? Anyone familiar with the pictures and the story of this enclave in Kowloon probably finds the whole story of the little town in Hong Kong territory fascinating. At the towns height, perhaps 35,000 people were living in an area the size of two soccer fields or about 210 meters by 120 meters (700 feet by 400 feet). They lived in small rooms stacked on top of each other, and the stories increased to about 11 or 14 stories. It couldnt grow higher than that because there was an airport nearby and the Hong Kong government forbad taller construction. It is said that most of the people made a living in factories or businesses in the town or outside, and that people who could move out did so, so the city had a disproportionate number of old or sick women and men. Many were drug addicts. There was no sewage system, and the water supply was eight pipes supplied by the Hong Kong government. However, somehow the town kept growing until people were evicted and the town demolished during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Chinese and Hong Kong governments both claimed jurisdiction of the area, and they agreed to turn the area into a park that was built in 1994 and 1995.

On the top of the building, hundreds of people lived in tents of cloth or cardboard and threw their sewage and trash over the sides. It is said that kids played on the top. The bottom stories received no natural light. Gangs thrived to some extent until the 1970s when police raids and the opposition of people in the city stopped a lot of the crime. The whole drama came to an end when the Chinese government and the British government agreed to demolish the area.

In 1842, Hong Kong Island was ceded to the British, so the Qing Dynasty rulers built a fort on the site. Construction was finished about 1847. There was a defensive wall around the fort, and this is why it was called the Walled City, but the Japanese tore it down when they occupied the area in WWII. When the Qing Dynasty rulers ceded the New Territories area to Britain, the Walled City with a few hundred Chinese inhabitants was not part of the area that was ceded. But British troops attacked the fort in 1899. Both governments claimed control of the little walled town after that.

After WWII, the Nationalist government of China tried to assert its right to rule the little town, and thousands of Chinese moved in. Maybe they wanted to escape from being deported from Hong Kong. The British tried to reassert control, but they failed, and then they adopted a hands-off policy. Without outside control, the town grew in the tiny area. By the end, about 35,000 people somehow lived in the space. During the 1960s, Jackie Pullinger came to Hong Kong and tried to help the people in the Walled City. Her story is inspiring as she led 100s of people to become Christians and scores of drug addicts lost the desire to take drugs.

The Kowloon Walled City Park was built on the original area and was officially opened to the public in 1995. In the park, there is little information about the former town. There is only park garden area, the Yamen (Qing official) building, and artifacts dating from the Qing Dynasty period. The Walled Citys Yamen building and remnants of the south gate were declared Hong Kong Monuments in 1996.

Consider the history of the amazing town.

See the restored Qing Dynasty buildings and artifacts.

Tung Tao Tsuen Road in Kowloon. By road, it is about 5 or 6 kilometers away from Star Ferry.

Many buses go there. Buses No. 1, 1A, 2A, 3B, 5, 5C, 5D, 6D, 9, 10, 11, 11B, 11D, 11K, 13D, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 40, 42, 61X, 75X, 83P, 85, 85A, 85B, 85C, 93K, 95, 98C, 101, 106, 107, 111, 113, 116, 203E, 296C, 297, 796X, 891, A22, E23, N216, and N293.

The Lok Fu MTR station is the closest station. It is less than a kilometer away.

6:30 am to 11:00 pm. The exhibition room is open every day except Wednesday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

In nearby Tsim Sha Tsui, there are four good museums and the Hong Kong Cultural Center. To learn more about Hong Kong history, a good place to go is theHong Kong Museum of Historythat is a few kilometers away.

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Expert guide to Hong Kong

ead our Telegraph Travel expert guide to Hong Kong, including the best places to stay, eat, drink as well as the top attractions to visit, flights and all of the key information that you need to know before you go

Despite the 2014 Occupy protests, Hong Kongs mix of feng shui and finance, trams and temples still makes it one of the most fascinating and safest cities in the world. During your stay youll probably eat some of the best food youve ever tasted, youll be dazzled by the stunning harbour and youll feel energised by a combination of the urban, the rural and the maritime. Hong Kong is where China and Britain have melded and created something unique. Its a joy to explore every corner. I always think Im missing something if Im not out wandering the vibrant streets. Its addictive. When you come here, youll know exactly what I mean.

Traditionally, the best time to visit Hong Kong has always been the cooler, dry season from October to January, when the winds change direction and come from the north. Nowadays, unfortunately, theyre also bringing down pollution from mainland China: there are days when you literally cant see across the harbour. Thats when the Hong Kong government issues its pollution warnings and advises the elderly and children to stay inside. Also, world weather patterns are shifting and January 2016 was not only the wettest January on record, it was the coldest for almost 60 years.

In the summer, the winds are south westerlies and, unless theres a typhoon off the coast, the air is much clearer. Thats when your pin-sharp, postcard photos are taken. I love Hong Kongs summers, when lots of ex-pats leave and the city feels unexpectedly spacious, but they are exceedingly humid and getting hotter the hottest day every recorded here was in August 2015. If you can bear the heat of July and August and dont mind torrential downpours, however, its an excellent time to find hotel bargains and see those stunning sunsets.

Be aware of Chinas major holidays or golden weeks: Lunar New Year, the first week of May and the first week of October. Tourist attractions will be extra crowded at these times.

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British Consulate-General:1, Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong; 00 852 2901 3000;gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-consulate-general-hong-kong

Foreign Office travel advice:gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hong-kong

Emergency (police/fire/ambulance):999

Hong Kong Tourism Board: 00 852 2508 /uk/index

Currency:Hong Kong dollar which, since 1983, has been pegged to the US dollar at a rate of US$1 = HK$7.8

Time difference:Hong Kong is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and seven hours ahead of British Summer Time

Flight time:about 12 hours from London (about 13 hours going back)

Hong Kongs weather can be volatile. Keep an eye on the Observatorys excellent , which tracks typhoons and rainstorms. Bring warm layers for all seasons. Hong Kong may be subtropical but it gets chilly in January and February, and the air-conditioning in malls and restaurants is freezing in summer.

After 1997, Hong Kong officially became a Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China. British passport holders can stay in the SAR for 90 days without a visa but are not allowed to work. If, however, youre planning to cross the border into the rest of China (apart from Macau, the other SAR), you must have a visa. China has a visa office in Hong Kong. Check details onfmcoprc.gov.hk/eng.

Smoking is banned in all public places, which includes beaches and parks.

Tipping isnt a huge deal in Hong Kong in taxis, for example, you can just round up the fare except in restaurants, where its customary to add a further five per cent to the bill. Service charges, scandalously, tend not to go to servers.

When planning trips on ferries or to popular sights, its worth checking the Hong Kong Government Gazette (gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/holiday) to try and avoid travelling on public holidays.

If you have a cold, its considered polite, but not obligatory, to wear a facemask so dont be alarmed by their ubiquity in winter. Cough etiquette hints are posted on some of the buses and hand sanitisers are available in the shopping malls.

Even if youre not on business, theres probably going to be an occasion when someone will produce a name card. Receive it with both hands, read it and treat it respectfully. In the same way, when youre handing over a credit card, its polite to use both hands.

English is not as widely spoken as you might expect in a former British colony. Always carry the Chinese address of where youre staying and where youre going.

Be aware of the concept of face. Dont persist, for example, in asking directions from someone who is clearly not at ease with English. And try not to ask questions (e.g. Is this the way to the Star Ferry?) which can be answered by Yes or No. People wishing to save your face will say Yes, whether or not thats right.

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When traveling to a place, its almost always imperative not to miss out on key sights, or you might as well have never gone. Could you say youve been to Paris without having seen the Eiffel Tower? to San Francisco without a photo backdropped by the Golden Gate Bridge? to Bolivia without a mirroring image upon the Salt Flats?

We suppose you could, but its hardly convincing, even to yourself (admit it).

Should you be stopping by Hong Kong and for the first time, especially here are iconic attractions that justhaveto make it on your checklist (and tips on the cheapest tickets too):

Roller coasters and water slides, massive aquariums and little zoo enclosures, cable car rides and dolphin shows: this iconic Hong Kong theme park has been around 37 years and counting, with little signs of slowing in both growth and surprises. Exciting, entertaining and unfailingly educational, Ocean Park Hong Kong is a place for both children and grown-ups, a go-to during birthdays (fun fact: residents enjoy free entry on their special day), the summer, and any occasions to celebrate.  Block off a day or two for this theme park with family or friends, and get to know the festive destination many Hong Kong locals grew up loving.

Regular Ocean Park HK Admission: HKD345 (Adult) / HKD193 (Child, age 3-11)

Discounted Ocean Park HK Tickets:HKD327(Adult) /HKD164(Child, age 3-11)

Not to be missed in any destination is its local Disneyland, and Hong Kongs is no exception. At home in its own MTR station, Sunny Bay, the Hong Kong theme park is all you would expect from the happiest place on earth: castles and fireworks, kid-friendly rides and shows, and cameo appearances by timeless Disney characters Mickey and Minnie! as well as new ones. Be sure to schedule your day around the shows you want to catch, and stick around for the end-of-day parade iconic of every magical Disney trip.

Regular HK Disneyland Admission: HKD539 (Adult) / HKD385 (Child, age 3-11)

Discounted HK Disneyland Tickets:HKD487(Adult) /HKD350(Child, age 3-11)

There are two surefire ways to see stars in Hong Kong: head to Hong Kong Space Museum Astropark in the faraway countryside of Sai Kung, or head up to the Peak and into Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Stars abound there, we promise: from renowned footballer David Beckham and President Barack Obama, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and icon Audrey Hepburn, to actor Daniel Wu and yes Hello Kitty. Its the closest youll get to the stars, youve got to admit; not to mention the dozen photo souvenirs to prove it!

Regular Madame Tussauds HK Admission: HKD255 (Adult) / HKD185 (Child, age 3-11/senior, 65+)

Discounted Madame Tussauds HK Tickets:HKD173 (Adult) /HKD138(Child, age 3-11/senior, 65+)

Located at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, the Avenue of Stars is just one of many reasons to make a stop at the area. With star plaques and statues to honor leaders and pioneers of the citys film industry, the Avenue is something of a modern cultural attraction. The main event, however, would have to be the Hong Kong Island skyline, which most would recognize as a picture-perfect scene off a postcard. How best to enjoy it: walk the entire harbor stretch, from Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier to Hung Hom, and marvel in the views and fresh air of the Victoria Harbour.

Hong Kong has one of the worlds most beautiful skylines, and perhaps the only one that can be viewed from multiple corners with equal grandeur. One such corner is The Peak, with its expansive, awe-inspiring look at the Hong Kong cityscape. Board a Peak Tram itself a quintessential Hong Kong experience and head up to the highest, 360-degree viewing deck in the city, Sky Terrace 428, perched at 428 meters above sea level. The views are breathtaking both day and night, so you could go when best suits your itinerary the only way youll miss out is not to go at all!

Regular Admission (Sky Terrace 428):HKD45(Adult) /HKD23(Child, age 3-11/Senior, age 65 and up)

Lantaus Big Buddha statue has become more accessible with the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, best known for its scenic glass-bottom rides en route to the island. The 25-minute journey offers enthralling views of Hong Kongs greener, more natural side, with undulating mountains and sky all around the capsule. Once in Ngong Ping village, roam the quaint and quiet town as you walk toward the Tian Tan Buddha, also the worlds tallest, outdoor statue of a seated Buddha.

Regular Crystal Cabin, One-Way Tickets: HKD180 (Adult) / HKD125 (Child, age 3-11)

Discounted Crystal Cabin, One-Way Tickets:HKD165(Adult) /HKD115(Child, age 3-11)

You can visit most of the above attractions for a cheaper price and with enhanced convenience using theiVenture Sightseeing Pass. Receive up to a 50% discount on popular Hong Kong attractions including Ocean Park, the Peak Tram, sky100 Observation Deck, Ngong Ping 360, Madame Tussauds, Noahs Ark, the Star Ferry and many more! The card comes with easy reference guides that map out what to do and see in Hong Kong, as well as access to big savings and other special offers. Whats more, the iVenture card is cash-free so you can easily swipe your card to entry into popular Hong Kong attractions without having to line up for tickets.Buy yourshere!

Were a bunch of editors, community managers, and travel bugs beavering away at one of Klooks offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and beyond.

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April 1, 2015 at 4:41 PM Reply

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Klook, short for Keep Looking, is an online concierge for the best deals on unique travel experiences, tours, attraction tickets and more. To book activities for your next incredible getaway, visit the Klook.com website. The Klook blog is an extension of our booking platform, meant to serve as a portal for all other things travel. It is authored by a team of traveling contributors and local insiders, and more often than not, the Klook Content Team itself.