Category Archives: Wan Chai Amenities

Wan Chai’s first 24 hour, self service laundromat 

… is in a rather obscure location. 


Most laundry shops are along popular pedestrian streets. Swatow Street, in the market area of Triangle Street, the “American Laundry” shop on the corner of Queens Road East and Stone Nullah Lane (nothing American about it excepts its name), these small laundry service shops will wash your clothes by weight and fold them when dry into a tidy bag. Most of them open daily from 8am to 8pm (sometimes later) and their machines run pretty much non stop throughout the day. If you send your dirty laundry in early you’ll generally get to pick it up in the late afternoon or early evening. 

I’ve been reflecting on the small apartment sizes in Hong Kong and the general lack of space. Especially in the kitchen where clean laundry is often taken out of a washer/ dryer machine between a stove and a fridge. Does this make the most sense as a laundry area? As our little gang has three (or more) meals per day at home, a dishwasher would be highly appreciated to save water and precious drying space. 

The washing machine could be a communal or commercially run self service laundromat. Like coin laundries all over Japan, Europe and the US. One of my neighbours expressed her concern about using communal laundry machines (imagine finding other people’s pubes in your clothes, she said) but I think this thinking is incorrect.

The washing machines I’ve used in many laundromats have no attendants and yet are utterly spotless. The ones in Japan are high powered, clean and large, able to take a huge wash load. There’s often a little coin/ cashcard operated soap dispensing machine if you’ve forgotten to bring your own. 

The unmanned laundromats are monitored by CCTV and the doors are locked during the late hours, automatically unlocking at opening time. This makes it a completely remote controlled facility, a common control Center would be able to monitor a chain of laundromats this way.

Compare this to the shop here.


These are definitely for small loads, not sure if my sheets would fit. Wish they would install a larger one and charge a little more fit the bigger things that often don’t fit in the home machine either.

How much for a wash? Not too much if your machine has broken down. You’d pay a lot not to smell like a skunk. Less than $50.


There’s also a self collect locker service at the very back for your SF parcel pick up.

There are no doors. It is open 24/7. How fantastic. Maybe it’s busy after hours.

Quite neat. I wonder if it’s making any money. Great to know as a back up.

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Intriguing sign at Wan Chai MTR

One of the two elevators at Wan Chai MTR breaks down every few months. They take turns. More often, it’s the one that slogs the lazy people (and the occasional handicapped person or stroller family) from the basement concourse to the ground floor and the overhead bridge. But I don’t think it’s the lazy people that’s the cause of the breakdown, though they are a major contributing factor. 

It’s the goods hauling guys who use this as a cargo lift. They shift weights that could be the density of two or three people on a single trolley. It’s almost downright dangerous to have elderly, disabled people and babies or young toddlers in the mix. 

Too often I’ve seen able bodied people squeeze into this elevator when there’s an escalator nearby to both ground and overhead bridge. Here in Hong Kong, people must be tired of commuting and even a few extra steps saved is worth inconveniencing others who need the priority access passage. 

Look at this ridiculous sign showing the realistic yet ironic situation at the lifts.


If you were in a line 7 strollers (prams) deep, it might take you half an hour to get from the ground floor down to the concourse. One lift only fits one family.

What can or should MTR Corp do about this?

SOLUTIONS?

  • Firstly how about putting the escalators next to the lift so that everyone standing in the queue has NO excuse not to use it. 
  • Or, put signs on the floor directing people to the escalators.
  • Then how about lifts that can actually move  at least 20 people at one go. We’re talking airport sized lifts, not small cramped coffin style ones from the 70’s.
  • All goods hauling has to go by a separate lift.
  • Signs indicating that only 1 able bodied person should accompany the baby or disabled person. How often have you seen 3/4 people accompanying one stroller or wheelchair user? The flocking is laziness. They should just meet at the platform. 

Hong Kong MTR Corp needs to put some of its profits (US 1.32 billion) to making the transport system accessible to everyone. It’s an efficient train system no doubt but the old stations need renovation and a re-think on providing barrier free and priority access to those who need it. 

Safety and Speed. Both important considerations in this busy metropolis. The MTR planners and architects should try pushing a stroller on a weekend to see where the chokepoints are.

The disappointment of a cancelled bus route

The 590A plied a route from Admiralty through Wan Chai to South Horizons every 15-30 minutes. This was the bus we took last year to get to school when the South Island Line was still under construction. Since the MTR line opened and the weather became generally worse (hot, humid and polluted), we’d given up on the erratic schedule of the bus service in favour of the South Island Line

There are pros and cons of course. The 590A always operated a clean nice double decker and took a very efficient route to South Horizons. It is well air conditioned and a very pleasant ride to see what’s happening above street level in Wan Chai. The bus stop is also a few minutes closer to home and as it is a direct route, doesn’t need transiting. It was pretty much the closest thing I could get door to door to South Horizons. 

In contrast, the MTR transit requires a bit of a rushed walk with plenty of anxious commuters through the bowels of Admiralty station, 3 escalators down to get to the South Island Line from the main blue Island line.

I fancied taking the bus today. I had time to spare and thought a bus ride would be nice to see the changes happening above ground. Imagine my disappointment when I got to the Wan Chai road bus stop and found that the route had been terminated!


Hong Kong is totally efficiency driven. If it ain’t making money, cancel it…

I’m now walking back to the MTR station… it’s back to the underground. 


If you take their suggested replacement route, bus 90, it gets you to Ap Lei Chau estate which is close but still a 10-12 minute walk to South Horizons unless you get off at a preceding stop (say just after the bridge) and catch the 592 or 595 that’ll drop you at the South Horizons bus stop near Marina Square. 

Free Buddhist meditation classes in Wan Chai

On Jaffe road near the excellent pork wanton noodle shop Trusty Gourmet, is a large but discreet Buddhist meditation centre called Pu Guang.  Walking by, you may not even notice it, unless they happen to coincide with one of their functions or ending of a class. 

A friend CB used to attend the class conducted in the basement and found it quite relaxing. He described it as a friendly and peaceful atmosphere, despite not understanding any of the instructions in Cantonese. 

They are now running free classes in English if you happen to be interested. Details here.

Wanchai St. Francis Street Updates: Leavings & New Beginnings

There were 3 decent health food/ nutrition shops in Wanchai. Just Green, Food For Life and Redwood Nutrition. (I’m excluding Green Common only because it is more of an organic supermarket rather than a nutrition shop). 

Feeling the need to re-start my probiotic routine, I went and had a look at what was available in each shop. Redwood nutrition carried a rather expensive brand, I wasn’t quite convinced about paying almost $500 for a month’s supply of bacteria. Redwood Nutrition down the road has Udo’s probiotics on discount, buy 4 get 1 free, averaging around $290 for a month’s supply. The only thing that irks me is the sales lady. She’s a bit aggressive and I don’t enjoy the ultra aggressive marketing style. My final stop was Just Green where I’m usually able to find a wider selection of brands, and I get a members discount.

Just Green was located down an alley, literally down, as in you have to go down some stairs. They usually have a poster stand outside the door and you can see the light from inside the shop through the windows. I walked up St Francis Street and peered down the alley. Hmm. Did I get the wrong alley? It seemed deserted and bare. 


Just Green has left..! Just to be sure, I went down the stairs to check. Recent removal marked the walls and window sills. 

That’s really too bad. It was a nice nook and my go to shop for supplements. 

The next alley in the direction of Queens Road East has a new tenant. They decorated the entire wall with a mural. Great advertising of you get the permission to do it and a good artist. Well, they are in the art business. In a manner of speaking. 


The tattoo parlours were in cooler places like Soho’s Pottinger street but it looks like that cool is gradually spreading East. Hong Kong Underground Tattoo is right at the end of the alley.

Wan Chai is getting a new equilibrium but I hope businesses that set up here are also encouraging for residents and not just occasional visitors. I’m half expecting to see more tattooed people walking around the neighbourhood… and no, it’s not the chinese gang labourers working in construction. 

Getting the time all wrong on Gloucester Road 

I have a fondness for public time keepers. You know, the buildings which have a massive clock at the top of buildings that can be seen for a few kilometres. It’s usually a big digital display reminiscent of old clock towers in British town squares (think Big Ben). It’s an easy reference for everyone in the city and I love it especially because I usually don’t wear a watch and use the “look up” method to figure out what the next appointment should be. (Far East Plaza in Singapore, Maxis building in Kuala Lumpur). 

In Hong Kong, the most visible digital time display is on at ICC but unfortunately only at night, and only transiently as it rotates to other pictorial and self advertising displays. During the day, the building stands bold but cold, trying to stare down IFC across the harbour. 


In Wan Chai, the big clock is an old school type analogue display. It’s positioned near street level, just above the tree line at AXA Center. This clock is visible to pedestrians walking along the public walkways of Sung Hung Kai buildings and it’s neighbours, the pedestrian bridges that cross busy Gloucester Road connecting Star ferry passengers to the heart of Wan Chai.

Well, when the clock is working that is. I was walking by at 2.45pm and the clock was stuck at the magic Cinderella hour of 12. A blown fuse? A power cut? Faulty mechanism? I was initially puzzled when I saw it was noon as I was quite certain I was late for my 2.30pm appointment. 

I hope they fix it soon so that it can serve its purpose.

Have you seen any other public time displays in Hong Kong? Please share their locations 🙂

A beautiful flower shop opens on Queens Road East. Le D’or fleuristes

It wasn’t long ago that my favourite flower shop left Wanchai and is now under renovation to become something else. The usual frenetic and unforgiving pace of commerce in Wan Chai due to escalating rental. 

I came across a new florist shop last week along Queens Road East that looked more like a fashion designer store than a florist. Here are some photos, I spent a good 15 minutes browsing around.


Done in a simple but nice black and white full glass frame with an open door, the shop looks very inviting. 


Nice clean concrete floors and layered black shelving help to showcase the plants and flowers for maximum effect. I like the recessed lighting and spotlights that match the shelves.


They do nice big bouquets if you’re looking to impress a date, but I’m sure they can fix something up for you on request.


The selection of potted plants is nice and healthy. 


As do the orchids and succulents. There’s something to suit every table and counter top. 


I love looking at Bonsai. They have a few beautiful ones right by the window. Wish I could have one but every Bonsai I’ve owned has perished so I think it’s just not my thing…


I picked up a card when I realised that I had met the sales lady before in the other flower shop that I like. Both ladies in the shop are super nice and very helpful without being intrusive. You really feel like you can talk to them about anything.


They also have some artificial flowers which look amazing. I was quite impressed. It is similar in quality (or perhaps better) to the big scale florist at Hopewell Center but this look a lot easier to scan and decide.


I am seriously considering these artificial greenery as the recent thunderstorms have killed off all my plants. 🤔


Yup, these white roses are also artificial but they fooled me until I realised there was no water in the vase.

Speaking of vases, they have a small selection.


And at the very back of the shop, a fridge for the fresh flowers.

If you have a particular plant/ flowers you’re looking for, do contact them by phone or email. I think they can source the plants if unavailable in the store. 

Find Le D’or here. It’s a 5 minute walk from the Wan Chai MTR or catch any of the 6 buses, 15, 10, 109 or 113 and get off at Lun Fat Street. 


The owner is an artist, don’t forget to stop and admire the two intricate paintings by the entrance of the shop.