As anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in Hong Kong knows, we’re pretty crazy about Instagram here. It makes sense: we’re a technology-obsessed society blessed with a dazzling array of settings, concentrated in one small place. While scrolling through our Instagram feeds, we often find ourselves marvelling at the gorgeous places this tiny city has to offer, but it can be hard to pinpoint their exact locations when ‘grammers are so often protective over their “photo-op spots”. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the 13 most photographed “Instagram locations” this city has to offer, because it’s nice to be nice:
1. Sai Wan Swimming Shed
Dating back to the mid-20th century, this hidden gem is the only swimming shed in Hong Kong that remains in service. Keen swimmers still use the shed as a place to change clothes before jumping into Victoria Harbour’s questionable waters, but these days, you’re more likely to see newlyweds or social media “influencers” posing on its picturesque wooden jetty as a photographer snaps away.
2. Sai Wan Pier
Sai Wan Pier (also known as “Instagram Pier”), is a must-go for Instagram addicts. Although it’s not legally considered a public space, many are drawn to the urban and industrial atmosphere this pier offers. We guess the unobstructed view of the Victoria Harbour is also a plus?
3. Choi Hung Estate
With its Chinese name meaning “rainbow”, how could Choi Hung Estate not be the most colourful housing estate in Hong Kong? Fun fact: local photographer Jimmi Ho won one of the biggest photography competitions in the world with his picture “Childhood”, which depicts a young boy playing basketball alone on the Choi Hung Estate court.
4. Yick Cheong Building
One of our favourite Instagram trends is #lookup, which encourages shutterbugs to capture the beauty that’s not only in front of them, but also right above their heads. And where better to put this into practice than in Quarry Bay? The area’s famed urban density (residensity?) is perhaps best exemplified at Yick Cheong Building, a colourful, grid-like cluster of residential blocks on King’s Road.
5. Temple Street
Every visitor to Hong Kong knows about the ever-so vibrant Temple Street Night Market, home to traders and fortune tellers ready to peddle their wares as soon as the sun goes down. What the guide books don’t tell you, however, is that a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of this iconic Hong Kong market can be found in an unassuming multi-storey carpark building just across the road (Google Maps). Trust us, the hustle and bustle is much less stressful from a distance.
6. Sunset Peak
If you’ve come, seen, and conquered the popular Dragon Back and Lion Rock hikes and want to explore what other photogenic trails Hong Kong has to offer, take a walk up to Sunset Peak on Lantau Island. If you time the three-hour trek right, you’ll be privy to an incredible sunset that seamlessly blends into the rolling hills.
7. Lai Tak Tsuen
This circular public housing estate lures many Instagrammers in with its striking and atypical architecture, which (we personally think) resembles the inside of a Slinky. It’s proved a popular spot for local photography buffs, and you may recognise it as one of the locations from the viral short film “Hong Kong Strong” which came out earlier this year.
8. Nan Lian Garden
Nestled in the heart of Wong Tai Sin, Nan Lian Garden offers a place of refuge from the urban sprawl. Built in the style of the Tang dynasty, this public park is meticulously landscaped with Chinese timber, rocks and potted plants. Each object is placed with careful thought and specific rules to ensue tranquility. #Om
9. China Hong Kong City
The China Hong Kong City buildings in Tsim Sha Tsui look like a relic of over-the-top 1980s glitz, with their shining golden panes of glass. Take a snap of these fortress-like buildings an hour before sunset, when they’re basked in an almost ethereal glow, to make your #goldenhour shot extra literal.
10. Nam Long Shan
Located near Wong Chuk Hang and Aberdeen, Nam Long Shan (also known as Brick Hill) overlooks the South China Sea. While it’s not yet as well known as the other locations on this list, we’re sure this covert hill will soon be a local favorite.
11. Ping Shek Estate
It seems that public housing estates are no stranger to the #HKIG community. Ping Shek Estate is another residential area for budding Instagrammers to pick up some #lookup brownie points. In case you’re worried it’ll go the same way as so many other places in Hong Kong (i.e. demolished), the Housing Department recently said it would spend HKD45.8 million on building improvements to preserve this unique estate for at least another 15 years.
12. Montane Mansion
Like we said before, Quarry Bay’s known for its #residensity: just a short walk away from Yick Cheong Building, Montane Mansion is another prime example of our city’s tight, vertiginous architecture.
13. Innovation Tower
As internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid’s first permanent work in Hong Kong, Innovation Tower is without a doubt the most iconic building on the PolyU campus. Under the guiding principle of “collateral flexibility”, Hadid and her team designed an effortless and simplistic structure with a “seamless” fluidity to counter the “classic typography of tower and podium”.
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