Chungking Mansions


World-famous Chungking Mansions is 55 years old, 17 storeys high over 5 blocks and the subject of books, films and a few academic studies. Our study of the building exposes its culture, inhabitants, values, food – and its future.

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Main Entrance

More than 10,000 people enter and leave Chungking Mansions daily. They're greeted by touts spruiking little beds at guesthouses and big plates of curry at restaurants. Then you're met with money changers and mobile phone sellers in the bazaar-like lower floors. Never a dull moment in Chungking Mansions.

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Over 48 hours the Post tucked into Turkish, Indian and African food, sought out secret restaurants, explored stairwells and rooftops and rode lifts with people from all over the world – as well as a bed and a trolley of tandoori chicken – before crashing out in rooms just big enough to fit a mattress.

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African Traders

Traders from Africa once flocked to Chungking Masnions to buy mobile phones and clothes from shops on the ground and first floors. But as Celine Ge explains, the opening up of China's port cities has taken much of that trade away as buyers head straight to the source.

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Chungking Mansions was a luxury hotspot in the 1960s, and the Bayside Club was a favourite hangout for Hong Kong's luminaries. But things changed in 70s and 80s, the building's reputation one of hangout for the city's underworld


Carol Clewlow's story is a common one: Brit lands in Hong Kong looking for work, stays in Chungking Mansions because it's cheap. What makes her story different is she wrote the first review of the building's accommodation for Lonely Planet, in 1978, sending a message around the globe.

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Kung Fu Master

Martial artists worked all over the Kowloon Peninsula, including Yip Man, who gave film star Bruce Lee some kick-and-jab lessons. He also taught Wing Chun master Sam Lau, who left the martial arts arena to find fortune as a guesthouse owner in Chungking Mansions. But don'tworry, his martial arts days are not over.

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Crime has fallen since CCTV was installed in Chungking Mansions, making it an economical place-of-choice for people seeking privacy. Here a private detective shares her stories about Chungking Mansions.

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Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers in Hong Kong seek shelter in Chungking Mansions, but their presence has caused tensions in the neighbourhood, with some locals labelling the South Asians as trouble makers. Non-profits and religious groups have set up in the building to provide services to those who need help.

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Chungking Express

Chungking Express cinematographer Christopher Doyle bounds up the stairs of the building he helped turn into a worldwide name. We follow him to the hostel where he filmed the 1994 hit. “It hasn’t changed at all,” he says of Chungking House De Luxe Hotel. For Doyle, Chungking Mansions is a living membrane, a part of Hong Kong‘s cultural heritage that needs to be protected and preserved.

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Secret Walkway

"You can't get there from here." This is a well-used line by those familiar with the building say to newcomers asking how to get, for instance, from the 17th floor of tower B to the same floor of tower C. Apart from the ground floor, it's impossible unless you access a secret walkway between the blocks. It's the Chungking VIP route.

The Roof

For killer views of Kowloon, look no further than the roof of Chungking Mansions ... but wait, it's off limits. Read on to discover some of the building's many secrets.

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