Postcards From Kowloon 九龍明信片

Vibrant shades of Kowloon.

Kowloon 九龍 was my first experience of Asia back in 2012. Anytime I return to Hong Kong 香港 I stay there for at least a couple of nights. It helps that many of the most affordable hotels are located in Kowloon—but I also like how gritty, rundown, and real it is, particularly when compared to the naked display of wealth and privilege seen on the other side of Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong Island 香港島 itself.

Last weekend I crossed the strait for a brief visa run and, after finding an excellent deal on a hotel on Agoda, once again found myself lost in the immensity of Kowloon. Naturally I spent a good part of my trip wandering around the city documenting my impressions. Collected here are several of my photos from this trip…

Outside a pedestrian market in Kowloon.
The crowded market streets.
A jumble of buildings creates an abstract skyline somewhere in Kowloon City District.
Smooth contours on what I would imagine are public housing projects in Kowloon City District.
Hanging laundry in the endless city.
Street art in the alleyways of Kowloon City.
A ground floor mechanic in the 13 Streets.
One of the 13 Streets in Kowloon.
A pedestrian underpass on the edge of Kowloon City.
A butcher in Sham Shui Po.
Inside the old fruit market in Yau Ma Tei.
Vintage audio on Apliu Street in Sham Shui Po.
Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market after closing time.
A tree grows from an old building in the wholesale fruit market in Yau Ma Tei.
The famous Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei. This is the temple that gives Temple Street its name.
One of the altars at the Tin Hau Temple Complex in Yau Ma Tei.
A Kowloon street scene from anytime in the last few decades.
Mido Cafe personifies vintage 1960s Hong Kong.
The ground floor of Mido Cafe. Little did I know that no photography was permitted; a man at the counter began yelling at me as soon as I captured this scene.
Upstairs at the Mido Cafe. Shot on my smartphone to be slightly more surreptitious about it.
Woo Sung street scene with the Alhambra Building in the background.
Looking down from the Alhambra Building.
Kitten surprise on the 13th floor.
A moody view of the endless city.
Rooftopping in Kowloon on a murky day. This was captured on the Alhambra Building.
Ghosts of the security camera. This is in the entrance to another cafe building on Dundas Street.
Exploring the dark alleyways of Kowloon at night.
The grit and grime is really next level.
Another view from the pedestrian overpasses of Mong Kok.
Still my favourite view in Kowloon.
Bright lights, big city. I never tire of Hong Kong’s neon signs.
Lost in a forest of signs in Mong Kok. So much shopping to be done.
Busking on Nelson Street in Mong Kok. The man at far right was kicking bowls into the air and catching them on his noggin.
An impressive wall of signs in one of the seedier parts of Kowloon.
Temple Street Market from the rooftop of a nearly abandoned building.
Hotpot sign glowing in the hazy Kowloon night.

In case you’re curious about some of these places I have collected a bunch of links to more information: Mido Cafe, Tin Hau Temple Complex, Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market, 13 Streets. If you’d like to read more about my experiences in Hong Kong check out Letters from Mong Kok, the first proper travelogue published on this blog.

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  1. Memories of Kowloon. Great photography. Really captured getting lost in Kowloon.

  2. Lived in Hong Kong for a few years back in the 90s. Worked mainly in the industrial areas as the only English person in the company usually so did a lot of eating out and socialising with the locals. Your pictures really take me back to that good time. Thanks. Hong Kong is an amazing place.

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