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Oh hey, Hong Kong: What’s new near Kowloon?

Hong Kong is back, and with the new West Kowloon Cultural District laying out the red carpet, the window is wide open for discovering new favourites.

Hong Kong is back, and with the new West Kowloon Cultural District laying out the red carpet, the window is wide open for discovering new favourites.

Extending from MTR Austin Station to MTR Kowloon Station heading westward, public transport is easy for all, and the views are spectacular. Think you’ve seen it all? Pffft, think again. Nearby, more fresh attractions tempt visitors, too. I’m here for it.

Past meets present

Hong Kong Palace Museum by Ivy Carruth
The interior spaces of the Hong Kong Palace Museum welcome community. Image: Ivy Carruth

First up, and very new in Kowloon? The Hong Kong Palace Museum. It’s a cavernous expanse with wide open areas and soaring ceilings. Inside, it’s very much a go-at-your-own-pace journey through exhibits running the gamut from golden face masks dating to 1300 BCE, jaw-dropping jewels from the Qing dynasty’s Forbidden City and interactive opportunities for visitors to engage.

Hong Kong Palace Museum
Many exhibits at the new Palace Museum have never been on display. Image: Ivy Carruth

Trace your name in Chinese characters and print it to take home for a unique memento. Peckish? Head upstairs to King Lung Heen for Cantonese dim sum while overlooking Victoria Harbour. Also, the museum shop here, ART EXPRESS, is top-notch. Leave time to explore it. (Seriously, it’s sensational.)

Modern muses

M+ Museum in Hong Kong
M+ Museum in Hong Kong

It might not be fair to call this one a museum because of the connotations the word can carry. M+ is as far as it could be from boring and typical; even its footprint is peculiar – an upside-down letter ‘T’ housing 18 floors. Yes, 18. The art here is avant-garde, and while calling it challenging would go too far, it is certainly provocative.

M+ Museum in Hong Kong
Striking architecture is just the beginning at the M+ museum. Image: Ivy Carruth

Fashion, photography, immersive sculpture, and cinema leave little for you to desire when it comes to a proper cultural day out.

M+ in Hong Kong at night.
M+ sparkles at night on the shores of Victoria Harbour.

Oh, and evenings out, too. M+ at Night workshops and pop-ups are popular and draw a crowd. Check out the area’s food trucks for noshes; I recommend a pineapple bun stuffed with whipped cream and fruit.

Earning our wings

Big Buddha (Tian Tan) in Hong Kong
268 steps to the top of the Big Buddha (Tian Tan). Image: Ivy Carruth

There’s getting around in style, and then there’s the new Crystal+ cable cars at the Ngong Ping 360. Probably not for the faint of heart, but a 25-minute journey guarantees the clearest views of the city and the Shan Tau wetlands. Below your feet, hikers move at a much slower pace, visible through the floor from your bird’s eye vantage. 

VIews for days from the Ngong Ping Cable Car
VIews for days from the Ngong Ping Cable Car. Image: Ivy Carruth

The best part? This sky cab takes you right to the Big Buddha (Tian Tan), where you can climb the 268 steps to the top and work off the yum cha you had for lunch.

Clearly see through in the Ngong Ping 360 Crystal+ cars
Clearly see through in the Ngong Ping 360 Crystal+ cars. Image: Ivy Carruth

The quaint village is a quick poke around, but from here, you’re also well placed to see the Po Lin Monastery and the Tai O fishing village. “Crystal+ car availability is limited, so be prepared to wait,” says Angela Sue, Sales and Distribution Manager from Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car.

Food for thought

Chinese Library in Hong Kong.
Of-the-moment interiors of the Chinese Library. Image: Ivy Carruth.

A scant 7km from Kowloon’s Cultural District near Central, The Chinese Library is exceptional in every way. Books? No. This is all about the glory of food. In what was once the old police headquarters, richly comfortable interiors and impeccable service make for perfection, and it’s possible I’ve never eaten a more beautifully presented meal.

Noshing at the Chinese Library is like eating art
Noshing at the Chinese Library is like eating art. Image: Ivy Carruth.

I’m not the only one who thought so, either as one of my fellow travellers, Laudie Hanou from Sita World Tours, raved. “So impressive,” she told me. “I’ve not seen anything like it before; easily my favourite meal of the trip, do not miss it.” And let me tell you, Loudie knows her stuff, indeed. It’ll likely be yours too.

Vegetarian? No problem. Weekend brunches offer free-flow Veuve Clicquot and achingly gorgeous offerings of unlimited dim sum. Go.

Keen on Hong Kong? For more information, visit discoverhongkong.com

Cathay has returned to its 2019 capacity out of Sydney, offering four daily flights from Sydney.